Monday, September 21, 2009

Summoning The Gods Of Autumn

I never felt that my family had as many traditions as other families. However, this is a tradition that I have honored for about 25 years now. When Autumn arrives, and it is still terribly hot in California, I make these cookies hoping to appease the gods of autumn so they will bring cooler temps. Do I believe they are listening? No...but I definitely enjoy making and eating these cookies with dreams of foggy mornings, a bit of rain, and the yummy spicy flavors associated with Autumn.

These cookies are crispier on the first day, but get soft and cake-like overnight. If you want to leave out the nuts and/or chocolate chips, they will still taste fine (although I don't know why anyone would pass up a chance to eat chocolate).

Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin (just the puree, not the pie mix)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Don't worry if it looks a bit separated. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. The dough will be sticky. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart (I cover my baking sheets with baking parchment, or you can spray them with non-stick spray). Bake for 13 minutes - cookies will be set and golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely (eat one while warm, though!!). Store leftovers in an airtight container...they may stick together a bit, but they still taste great.