Saturday, October 2, 2010

Not Scary At All: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin season is finally upon us!  The Bean has been craving pumpkin and apple pie and muffins and crisps and cookies for about a month now, and I confess, sometimes I indulge her.  During the past two weeks we'd gotten a pumpkin in our CSA share.  We were assured that this was a "cooking" pumpkin, not just a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, so after displaying them on our table for a few days, I decided to roast one up and see what would happen.

Only twice before in my life have I cooked a pumpkin: once, in graduate school, I tried Mollie Katzen's Pumpkin Tureen recipe,and the other time, two years ago, I baked a pumpkin that our neighbor had given us, too long after I'd displayed it on the porch ... and after thinking that the baking process didn't smell very appealing, found that it was full of worms.

This time, I cut the pumpkin in half first, scooped out the guts and seeds, and roasted it for a good hour at 375 (probably could have done 400), face down in a roasting pan spritzed with olive oil.  The pumpkin itself was incredible when it came out of the oven: I proceeded to scrape off and devour the lightly caramelized edges, and found that the rest of it separated easily from the skin.  I got a good 3-plus cups of pulp from one of the pumpkins and 4-plus from the other; interestingly, it's not quite as orange as the pulp that comes in a can, and it's just ever so slightly more watery, so you have to be careful about reducing liquids if you're using it for a recipe.

Ian had some very specific requests about how all of this pulp was going to be used.  "Pumpkin cookies," he said, "and pumpkin pie."  S. doesn't much love pumpkin pie, and I wasn't about to make one that I'd have to share only with Ian, so I thought the cookies would make a good first dent.  I've been using this recipe since graduate school, and I find that it makes a lovely hearty cookie, somewhat healthy (and can be made healthier if you so choose), full of fiber.  I even snuck a few into I.'s lunch box this week, despite the fact that his school prohibits "treats" in children's lunches, with a note to his teacher about the cookie's nutritional value (I wish they had as stringent a rule about things like chicken nuggets and other processed junk!).

Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 c. butter (or 1/4 c. butter and 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar (or use 3/4 c. agave nectar in place of both sugars)
1 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
3 c. oats

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar together until well combined.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then pumpkin puree and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients (except oats).  Add these to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.

Add oats and stir; drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.
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  1. Another strange US thing: pumpkin and sweets. I use pumpkin as a vegetable and not as often in sweets. (I'd love to make pumpkin pie, but only I would eat it. I think it's one of those things if you don't grow up with it it's a bit bizarre.)

    When I was in hospital when Blobby died, my D&C kept being put back later and later in the day. I'd already ordered dinner, but when it came I couldn't eat as I hadn't gone into theatre yet. So my husband ate my dinner and declared it really yummy. I know make it at home and call it 'Blobby Salad'. I skin and cut up a pumpkin, toss it in garam masala and olive oil, and roast the pumpkin in the oven. I soak and cook chick peas (or use tinned if I haven't planned ahead). I put the salad together with the roasted pumpkin, chick peas, fetta, and nice mixed salad leaves. The sweet pumpkin is a great contrast with the salty fetta and savoury chick peas. Yum! I also love making a pumpkin filling for ravioli. :-)

  2. Oh I agree with TasIVFer, I love a good chickpea and roast pumpkin salad with feta. What could be easier and more delicious? Pumpkin is actually my favourite vegetable! :) I can eat it a thousand ways - I am so surprised that you have hardly ever cooked one. I just can't conceive of pumpkin puree in a can either!

    The cookies sound delish though :)

  3. Here in Aus, pumpkins are generally a savoury dish - we have in in soups and as side to our main dishes. I can't imagine having it in a cookie!!! :-)

    Thankyou so much for your lovely comment on my blog post announcing our MFI - when I hopped online yesterday and checked my email, it was like receiving a huge hug, and was just what I needed.



  4. How is it that so far only Australians have commented on this post?! :-)

  5. Well I'm not Australian, so I'm going to ruin your run of comments.

    Canned pumpkin is that beautiful bright orange because it's a different variety of squash than the cooking pumpkins we buy here. The Libby's people have been telling a little white lie for a very long time.

    And you're right about weird disconnect between "no junk food" and "yes, chicken nuggets are fine." If the school is going to be in the business of telling parents what to feed their kids (and I think that's a gray area.) then it would be nice if they recognized that a cookie made at home from scratch as a treat is a better choice than a processed whatever as a main course. I think the word wholesome needs to be rehabilitated.

  6. Alright, that's it. I'm making these on Saturday.

  7. Thanks for checking out my blog! I love the butternut squash during this season, I bake it, then scoop out the flesh and blend it with soy milk (can use regular too, I am vegan), nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, white pepper, and some oil (grapeseed is good, almond or walnut is even better) or half an avocado. Yummmm... I will try your recipe I think

  8. Mrs H (and other vegans): you can also use 1 T. ground flax and 3 T. water per egg, and vegan shortening instead of butter! Your butternut squash sounds lovely.

    K: the twins demand them. But wait ... you might like the next post better.

    To the Australian contingent (I am going to get you all together for a potluck some day): I'd never realized that pumpkin was seen as more of a "savory" dish there! I'm going to post a curried pumpkin soup later this week or next, because I like it both ways.

    JeCaThRe: exactly.


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