I have fond childhood memories of baking chocolate chip cookies with my my mom and sister. When my sister and I saw our mom’s circa 1972 split pea green KitchenAid Stand Mixer come out, we knew we were in for a treat.
The process of helping my mom in the kitchen and being her little helper was almost as good as the cookies we’d bake together.
My dad always knew if my sister and I had been in the kitchen that day helping out as evidenced by the eggshells in his cookies, which we’d proudly present to him and that he’d never turn down. They simply added a delicious crunch.
As a helper, I learned early on not to crank the mixer to high speed immediately after adding the flour. A good way to make my mom mad was to spray her kitchen with flour.
The best part of cookie making came when adding the chocolate chips to the dough.
I’d always sneak a handful of chocolate chips that were supposed to make it into the cookie dough, but made it into my mouth instead.
With this cookie recipe, I wanted to embrace the classic chocolate chip cookie I grew up eating, but also incorporate everyone’s favorite fall ingredient: pumpkin.
Plenty of recipes exist for soft, cake-like, pumpkin whoopie pie cookies, but I wanted these cookies to have the traditional chewiness of a true chocolate chip cookie, but infused with pumpkin.
After testing and experimenting with so many recipes and creating everything from cakey, soft, pumpkin mounds to pumpkin-laced hockey pucks, I finally found the texture and flavor I was in search of with this recipe.
The resulting cookies are soft, tender, light and have just a touch of cakiness, but they are also chewy with some heartiness. Soft pumpkin cookie meets chewy chocolate chip cookie. The edges crisp up and the centers remain pillowy soft.
They’re packed with the warming flavors of fall, including cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, and a dash of molasses.
The chocolate chips pair nicely with the pumpkin and the flavors complement each other so well. Then again, chocolate pairs so well with most anything for me.
A few cook’s notes:
The dough is soft and a bit tacky to work with, courtesy of the pumpkin puree. Pumpkin does a beautiful job of tenderizing baked goods, but it makes the dough a bit sticky. Counteract the stickiness by chilling the dough before scooping it into balls. In my trials, I chilled the dough ranging from 90 minutes to 4 days. The longer the dough is chilled, the easier it is to work with.
Prior to baking, rolling a ball of dough through a cinnamon-sugar mixture not only creates a extra bonus of texture and flavor in the finished cookies, but it does double-duty by taking the edge off some of the dough’s stickiness.
I found the best cookies result from using 1 1/2 tablespoons of well-chilled dough, scooped using a cookie scoop, dredged through cinnamon-sugar, and flattened slightly before baking.
The cookies spread very little while baking and I recommend flattening the dough mounds slightly before baking otherwise the base will cook through and become too well done before the top sets.
The cookies keep beautifully, and paradoxically, get softer over time. The brown sugar and molasses attract moisture from the air so there’s little worry of them drying out.
Then again, I don’t think you’ll have too many extra cookies just lingering around.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen medium-sized cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses (I use Grandma’s Original)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground ginger, salt – all optional and to taste
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups Nestle Tollhouse Semi-Sweet Morsels
Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture, for rolling
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and beat on medium-high to high speed for 3 to 4 minutes to cream ingredients; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg, vanilla, and beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin, unsulphered molasses (blackstrap molasses may be substituted but it’s bolder and more intense), 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, optional spices, salt, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. (All spices should be added to taste and use more or less, depending on how robustly-flavored you prefer your cookies. As written, the spices are nicely balanced and the cookies are of average intensity. Adding ginger, additional cinnamon or cloves, will give them a stronger punch and kick, rendering them more like a pumpkin-ginger-spice cookie)
Add the flour, baking soda, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand. Dough will be thick and dense yet soft, and must be refrigerated and chilled before it’s suitable for scooping out and baking off. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap or transfer dough into an airtight container and refrigerate dough for at least 90 minutes, overnight, or up to four days.
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with Silpat liners, parchment paper, or spray them with cooking spray; set aside. Make the Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture by combining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
Form 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls of dough using a cookie scoop and dredge each ball through the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place balls on baking sheets; cookies spread very little and can be spaced about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten balls slightly before baking to ensure cookies cook through evenly. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the edges near the bases of the cookies are golden and set, and tops have just set; cookies will continue to firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before moving them. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Cookies can be kept vegan by using vegan margarine such as Earth Balance and replacing the egg with a flax egg. Cookies can be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour blend such as Bob’s Red Mill.
And now, onto the Giveaway portion of this post. You can enter to win:
a $200 gift card from Williams-Sonoma
and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Yes, one lucky person will win both.
The mixer is from the KitchenAid Custom Metallic® Series | Tilt-Head Stand Mixer | Flour Power™ Rating – 9 Cup
It’s a 5-Quart size with a 10-speed Solid State Control
It comes with a flat beater, wire whip, and dough hook
It retails for $649.95
I’m sure I don’t need to sell you on the benefits, workmanship, and high quality nature of a KitchenAid Stand Mixer or twist your arm to pick out $200 worth of items from Williams-Sonoma.
Simply answer the following question by leaving a comment below to enter the giveaway:
Please share a favorite baking memory. (Please be detailed and specific)
Contest ends Monday, October 8, 2012 and winner will be chosen randomly. Open to continental U.S. residents only. Complete contest rules can be found at the bottom of this page.
This post is sponsored by Nestlé® Toll House® Morsels, the perfect special ingredient for all of your family’s favorite treats!