(WWTI) – Pumpkin spice season is in full swing, so enjoy National Pumpkin Day.
Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family — cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini – which means they are fruits, not vegetables. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico and today they now grow on six continents. Their North American history goes back 5,000 years.
We use pumpkins for both food and recreation, especially during Halloween and Thanksgiving. Most people will have jack-o’-lanterns on their porch by now and many of you are digging out that pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving. The Halloween connection dates to the 1800s, when the term “jack-o’-lantern” first appeared in 1837, while the idea of a carved pumpkin originated in 1866. Even pumpkin seeds are a popular snack and grocery stores often sell them as they’re a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour — spooned and leveled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- optional: 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, plus a few extra for the tops
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and blotted pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl. Pour the wet Ingredients: into the dry Ingredients: and mix them together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft. Fold in 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, if using. The chips may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter but do your best to combine.
- Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Chilling the dough is a must for this recipe.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Shape and coat the cookie dough balls: Scoop the dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, and roll each into balls. Mix the coating Ingredients: together, and then roll each cookie dough ball generously in the cinnamon-sugar coating. Arrange cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a cup/measuring cup, slightly flatten the tops of the dough balls. (Without doing so, the cookies may not spread.)
- Bake for 11–12 minutes or until the edges appear set. The cookies will look very soft in the center. Remove from the oven. If you find that your cookies didn’t spread much at all, flatten them out gently with the back of a spoon when you take them out of the oven. If desired, press a few white chocolate chips into the tops of the warm cookies. This is only for looks.
- Cool cookies on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The longer the cookies cool, the better they taste! The flavor gets stronger and the texture becomes chewier. I usually let them sit, uncovered, for several hours before serving. Chewiness and pumpkin flavor are even stronger on day 2.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Happy National Pumpkin Day!