Saturday, October 22, 2011

…My Strip District Visit, 10/15/11, Parte Cuatro: Chewy Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin + cookie = heaven

It’s amazing how much people have started using pumpkin – canned, or otherwise – in their fall recipes.  I mean, pumpkins are widely available in the fall, but usually people carve them, throw out the guts, MAYBE roast the seeds (we always did in my house, and I still do in my own house), and...that’s it.  Canned pumpkin SHOULD be found all year long – unless there is a shortage, like last year, and it doesn’t reappear on store shelves until September (grrrrr!)

When I started Weight Watchers and went to meetings, someone brought up a simple recipe – 1 box of spice cake mix + 15 oz. can of pumpkin + muffin pan = pumpkin muffins.

Moist.  Delicious.  Freezer-friendly.  I made batches – BATCHES – and found some in my freezer the other day from LAST fall.  A little freezer-burnt, but with a quick 30-second thaw in the microwave and a Nutella schmear, they were still fabulous.

When @howsweetblog recently posted two cookie recipes using pumpkin, I was immediately drawn to them.  What drew me to them more was that one used canned pumpkin, and another used pumpkin butter.

Pumpkin butter.  Blueberry butter.  Sweet potato butter.  Tried them all.  Love them all.  Tweet immediately favorite-d.

‘Tis the season, so during my visit to the Strip District, I had to pick up some pumpkin butter to try out this recipe, and I knew exactly where to go to get some – The Berry Patch at the Pittsburgh Public Market.

I had just used up the last of my Very Berry Jelly from my last visit to the PPM – so of course, I needed more.  I also purchased my oh-so-sweet pumpkin butter, plus one of their “hot” jellies – mango habanero.  I have no idea how I’m going to use that yet, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something (with chicken, perhaps?)

Back to the cookies – I was drawn to the recipe because they are described as “chewy”, and the only good cookies are chewy ones, in my humble opinion.  According to @howsweetblog 's pictures, the pumpkin butter cookies are flat compared to the ones using canned pumpkin.

Oh.  Wait.  I blog about Hispanic/Latino restaurants and foods.  Uhhh…how does this relate to that?  Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies aren’t exactly “Hispanic” or “Latino”. 

I found Mexican vanilla at Penzey’s and used it in this recipe.  POW.  I might as well have put a sombrero on each cookie and called them “Mexican”.

The complete recipe can be found at the end of the blog post (after the recipe using canned pumpkin):

Pumpkin Butter from The Berry Patch & his little Hispanic friend from Penzey's

I used Egg Beaters to feel better about using real butter in the cookies.

Mmmm, dough.

Mmm, dough is always better with chocolate chips.

First batch bakes in my ancient oven

Ahhh...delicious - but not flat?

It tastes sooooo good...and chewy on the inside...but...why isn't it flat?!

Fancy picture of my cookies cooling while the second batch bakes.  Thank you, Instagram.

I was disappointed that they did not turn out flat, but they were still chewy and delicious. - maybe a little dry (I blame the Egg Beaters  - that’s what I get for trying to go healthy), but not so dry that I wanted to throw them out.  In fact, a friend of mine stopped over to drop off an awesome, colorful skull Mylar balloon to make my classroom more festive for the upcoming Day of the Dead (more on that in a future post), so I was sure to send her home with some for her and her husband (if she shares…).  The next day, my dad stopped by to put my porch furniture in the shed for the winter (always a sad day), so I rewarded him with the remaining cookies (as I could not stop eating them…really, every time I walked by, I had to have one - bad, bad señorita!)

And the Mexican vanilla?  Umm, yeah – didn’t notice any difference between that and regular vanilla extract.  Honestly, I am always partial to my Pampered Chef Double-strength Bourbon Vanilla.  Everything that I have ever made using that vanilla has been absolutely amazing vs. the same recipe using regular vanilla extract.  When you buy from Pampered Chef, BUY THE VANILLA.  I promise you, your cookies will go from good to RIDONCULOUSLY TASTY (yes, I did say - and I do mean - RIDONCULOUS).

I will definitely use that next time…which won’t be long from now, I’m sure.  I’m also sure that I’ll be making many, many, MANY (MUCHÍSIMOS!) more recipes from @howsweetblog

How Sweet It Is

The Berry Patch at Pittsburgh Public Market
Produce Terminal Building
Smallman Street Entrance opposite 17th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The Strip District Website:
Strip District Twitter:!/StripDistrict

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