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Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

Two sugar pie pumpkins can make more puree than you might initially know what to do with!  Continuing our exploration of the possibilities for this seasonal favorite, Chef Zach found a recipe from a “trusted” online source.  He realized, in the midst of mixing the ingredients, that the recipe had flaws.  He knew how to fix them along the way, so here, now, is a tested recipe, verified by Chef Zach, that produces a soft cookie with a wonderful balance of pumpkin, raisin, and vanilla sweetness.

pumpkin raisin cookies

pumpkin raisin cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

3 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups of raisins

1 cup of butter

1 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 cup of vanilla’d sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. of baking soda

2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of ground ginger

1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  These cookies will spread while baking, so if you’re not confident in depanning the cookies from your sheet pans, line two sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpats.

whisk away

whisk away

Mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg either thoroughly with a whisk, or put the ingredients through a sifter.

Put the sugars and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Starting on the slowest speed, begin mixing until the ingredients come together.  Increase the speed to medium and mix until the texture appears light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.  Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, turn the mixer back on to medium, and add 1 egg at a time with 10 seconds in between each egg.  Then add the vanilla.  Mix until well combined, at least another 2 minutes so that it is fully incorporated.  Turn off the mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle again.  Add the pumpkin puree, turn the mixer to the lowest speed, and mix for about 10-15 seconds.

Add the flour and mix on the lowest speed for about 30 seconds until incorporated.  Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, and add the raisins.  Mix once more on the lowest speed no longer than 30 seconds.  With an ice cream scoop, portion out 12 cookies on each sheet pan.  This dough will be tackier and sticker than typical chocolate chip cookie dough, for example, so try not to manipulate it with your hands or even pack it into the ice cream scooper with the palm of your hand.  Just scoop directly from the bowl to the sheet pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, and let cool slightly before depanning.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Tip: This is a semi-sweet cookie, so if you tend to like sweeter cookies, you can ice this with maple icing.  To make:

1 cup of powdered sugar

2-3 tbs. of maple syrup, depending on the thickness you desire

1 tbs. of half-and-half

Mix all ingredients together until smooth, then drizzle over the cookies.

Pumpkin Scones

pumpkin scones

pumpkin scones

It’s September 22, and August’s favorite season has arrived!  We know you wouldn’t think it would be her favorite, what with her name being August.  But this is the season of rich and comforting smells: mulching leafs, rain, fireplaces, and baked goods that are reserved just for this time of year.  We had a huge downpour yesterday, leaving us today with decadent natural aromas outside the house.  Inside the house, too, was fragrant with pumpkin scones baking in the oven.  Using homemade pumpkin puree means you can control the ingredients, support local business, and it’s fresher and better for you.

Makes 12

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of butter

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree

1 tsp. of baking powder

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1/2 tsp. of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of powdered ginger

cubed butter and dry ingredients

cubed butter and dry ingredients

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Cut the butter into cubes and add to the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.

cut butter

cut butter

With two knives or a pastry blender, incorporate the butter into the flour the best you can so that the butter is in pieces no larger than a pea.

with the pumpkin puree

with the pumpkin puree

Mix together the cream, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.  With a regular paddle on your stand mixer, put the flour and butter bowl in the mixer.  Turn on low (speed 2) and slowly add the pumpkin cream.  A soft dough will form.

rolled out

rolled out

Transfer the dough to a cutting board that has been dusted with flour.  Flatten with a rolling pin to 1/2″ thick.

portioned

portioned

Cut into 12 triangles, and don’t worry if they’re not perfect.

done with the oven

done with the oven

Lightly spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray, move the dough triangles to the sheet pan, and bake for 18-20 minutes.

• For the vanilla icing:

1 cup of powdered sugar

3 tbs. of half-and-half

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

Place a wire rack over a sheet pan, and move the cooled scones to the rack.  Whisk the three ingredients until full incorporated and smooth.  Spoon over each scone for a vanilla icing over the tops.

• For the pumpkin icing:

1 cup of powdered sugar

2 tbs. of pumpkin puree

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of powdered ginger

Enough half-and-half (1 tbs. of less) to make the icing fluid

freshly iced

freshly iced

Whisk all ingredients until fully incorporated and smooth.  Drizzle over the vanilla icing.  Let set before moving/storing/enjoying.

What To Do With A Sugar Pie Pumpkin

A jack-o’-lantern pumpkin is meant for one thing, but when you find a sugar pie pumpkin, take advantage of it because you can get many uses out of it.  They are in season now and very popular, inducing a cult following of a pumpkin-flavored beverage at an infamous coffee chain.  To get into the swing of things, a pumpkin puree is a great addition to baked goods, and roasted seeds are a nutritious snack that is a nice change from sunflower seeds.

• For the puree:

2 sugar pie pumpkins (organic of possible)

imperfections are a-o-k

imperfections are a-o-k

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.  Remove the stems of the pumpkins by twisting, and they should pop right off.  Slice the pumpkins in half and scoop out all the stringy guts and seeds.

stringy bits and seeds

stringy bits and seeds

Put the guts and seeds in a strainer and save for later.

Put the pumpkins cut-side down on a sheet pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Depending on the size of the pumpkins, roast for 40-50 minutes until tender and soft.

roasted

roasted

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly so you can handle them.

peeled

peeled

The skin should peel of with ease; discard this.

puree

puree

Put the pumpkin flesh in a food processor and pulse until smooth and broken down.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Use in:

Cookies

Cake

Mousse

Pudding

Cheesecake

Scones

Soup

Ravioli filling

Pasta

• For the seeds:

4 cups of water

Seeds from the sugar pie pumpkins

1 tbs. of kosher salt, plus 1 tsp.

2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil

waste

waste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  With the water running on cold in the sink, pick up hunks of the stringy bits from the strainer and wash out the seeds.  Collect these seeds in a bowl.  Once they’ve been collected, rinse one more time, and discard the stringy bits.

dried on the sheet pan

dried on the sheet pan

Bring the water to a boil with 1 tbs. of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the seeds and boil for 8 minutes.  Strain from the water, let drip dry a little, and then move them onto a sheet pan.  Dry further with a paper towel or kitchen towel.

tossed, and back on the sheet pan

tossed, and back on the sheet pan

Transfer the seeds to a bowl.  Toss with the olive oil and remaining tsp. of salt.  Transfer back to the sheet pan and evenly spread the seeds out in a single layer.  Roast for 18-20 minutes, stirring the seeds halfway through.

pumpkin puree and roasted pumpkin seeds

pumpkin puree and roasted pumpkin seeds