Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

Do you like soft, cakey cookies?  Or do you prefer them to be chewier, crunchier, "with a bite to them" as my mom put it?  If you fall into the latter group, this recipe is not for you.  In my desperate attempt to use up more of my homemade pumpkin puree, I was browsing my favorite blogs looking for something sweet and pumpkin-y, and I came across these pumpkin molasses cookies.  I was pretty excited because my mom loves molasses cookies, and Kenzie loves pumpkin, so I thought I'd be pleasing everyone.

Well as you might have guessed, apparently my family doesn't like cookies to be soft and cake-like.  They simply must be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Needless to say, these weren't the most popular.  But like I said, if you prefer your cookies to be soft and puffy, then these are a good choice.  Lots of interesting spices in there - even a tiny bit of black pepper!

The one thing I may want to reassess is the amount of baking soda.  Even Kenzie, my pumpkin lover, agreed with my mom that every now and then, they felt like they could taste the baking soda.  And 2 teaspoons does seem like a lot.  I did a little research, and I found someone who wrote an article called "Scientifically Sweet", and here's the exact quote: "never trust a chocolate chip recipe that uses more than 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for a yield of 2 dozen cookies."  Now I know these aren't chocolate chip, but still... apparently baking soda is used to help use up acidic components in baked goods (like chocolate, lemon, buttermilk... pumpkin?  Maybe therein lies the problem and it should have been baking powder?), and the bitter taste you can sometimes get is from the residual sodium bicarbonate.  So that was your science lesson for the day.  My advice?  Lower that baking soda, embrace the cakey cookie, and call it a day :)


pumpkin molasses cookies
from My Baking Addiction

2 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling


1) Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and pepper.

2) Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add the brown sugar, molasses, and pumpkin puree and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear.  If flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, mix the last of the dry ingredients by hand to avoid over beating.  You will have a very soft dough.

3) Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  The dough is sticky, so the longer time it can chill, the easier it is to work with.

4) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5) Put the sugar in a small bowl.  Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces, and roll each piece into a ball.  Roll the balls in the sugar and use the bottom of a glass to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.  Transfer to cookie sheets.  Do not overcrowd.

6) Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12-14 minutes, or until the top feels set to the touch.  Remove baking sheets from the oven.  Let cookies cool 5 minutes on the sheets before transferring them to a cooling rack.

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