Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cookie #49 - New Hampshire Pumpkin Cookies

New Hampshire's state fruit is the pumpkin.  New Hampshire loves their pumpkins so much that the town of Keene holds a Pumpkin Festival every October.  In 1992, the festival set the world record for the most jack o'lanterns lit at one time - 1,628!  That's a lot of pumpkins!  But, wait!  The festival topped their own record 7 more times.  The current record holds at 29,762 pumpkins!  Here's a photo from the Pumpkin Festival - check out the wall of lit pumpkins!! 

Photo from

Pumpkin is one of my favorite things to bake with.  When fall comes, I can't wait to buy my local grocery out of canned pumpkin (I've yet to try to roast and puree my own).  The smell of pumpkin bread, cake, cookies, muffins and pie fill my kitchen every weekend.  Last year, at our town's farmer's market, I won the Scarecrow Festival Pumpkin Bake-Off with my Gingerbread Pumpkin Mousse Trifle.  I was so stinkin' proud of myself, I think I walked on air for the remainder of the day. 

Enough with the pumpkin love fest - onto the cookies.

These cookies encompass all I love about pumpkin baking.  The moisture the pumpkin adds, the warmth of the spices and the sweetness of the sugar.  I think these cookies would be pretty darned awesome with a cream cheese frosting....a caramel cream cheese frosting....a cinnamon caramel creem cheese frosting!  Yum!!  Alas, I didn't have cream cheese in the fridge, so I left my cookies naked.  To be honest, they don't need a frosting - they're quite yummy the way they are.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.  Add egg and mix well.  Mix in vanilla and pumpkin until well combined. 
In a medium bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients*.  Add the flour to the butter pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined.
Drop by tablespoons full onto parchment lined baking lined baking sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until set.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*a word about the cloves.  I always freshly grind my cloves.  The problem with this is my spice grinder doesn't really get a nice find grind and I end up with slightly larger pieces of clove.  When I first started doing this, I thought it was going to be a reall problem, so I'd sift them out.  Then, one day I just said "screw it!" and I threw a half teaspoon of my roughly ground cloves into a pumpkin mousse.  What a difference!  The clove flavor was fantastic and you didn't get any grit or chomp down on a piece of clove.  So, when I make these cookies, I do NOT sift the cloves with the rest of the dry indredients.  Of course, this whole issue could be resolved by buying pre-ground cloves, but what fun is that? 

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