What is it about the word “spice” following the word “pumpkin” that automatically makes a recipe sound cliché? Is that just me? Thanks to Starbucks and the seasonal pumpkin spice latte craze, every fall everyone and their recipe developers try to come up with the best pumpkin spice whatever. A quick perusal through Pinterest will offer you recipes for PS cream cheese, PS muddy buddies, PS chex mix, PS French toast, PS “bedtime drink” (curious?). Wasn’t there a time that pumpkin flavored sweets kinda just implied “plus spices”? Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice, in some combination or other? When I think of pumpkin muffins, I don’t exactly picture chunks of squash peeking out of the tops like apples. Whatever we have ultimately decided to name these seasonal orange treats, some are worth further investigation and appreciation.
I recently tried a riff on this annual phenomenon with my favorite baking vehicle (cookies): soft and chewy with just enough pumpkin flavor to remind you of your mom’s pumpkin pie, without having to dust off the pie dish.
Pumpkin (Spice) Sugar Cookies
yields around 40 cookies
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour (all-purpose flour will also do)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup sugar for rolling cookie dough
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin purée. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Chill the dough in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
Roll the dough into one inch balls and coat evenly with sugar. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops start to crack.
Have you ever had a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks? Please tell me what it’s like!