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Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

Halloween is definitely one of my favorite holidays. I loved to carve pumpkins, decorate the house and throw Halloween parties. I went trick-or-treating until I was a freshman in high school. I love the haunted houses, spooky corn mazes and Halloween hay rides. But most of all, I love those tiny candies. I suppose that these days I love the day after Halloween.

This is the day when all the ‘fun size’ candies go on sale! I head to the super market and stock up. It will be several months before ‘fun-size’ chocolate bars are available again (I can’t wait until Easter for more!). Bags and bags of candy will make their way to my freezer, where I will enjoy them for months to come.

Now, those of you in the know are probably asking “Well, did you riot in the Madison State Street Halloween party?” The answer is no. In my five years in Madison, I never actually went to Freakfest. This might mean that I’ve grown boring over the years. I like to think that it means that I’ve gotten smarter. I decided that I would be better off at my house, than avoiding the riots and teargas that always accompanied Freakfest.

I realize that over the past few years the Madison police department has taken control of the festivities, but when I was in grad school, Freakfest meant riots. I’m talking window-smashing, alcohol-fueled, tear-gas dispersed, riots. Not my cup of tea. What I like to do these days is stay home, and make some tasty treats, while grazing on my miniature chocolate bars. Boring? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely.

Pumpkin Cookies
Adapted from Pillsbury – Best Cookies Cookbook

These cookies are super moist. They were described as “like a muffin top!” I think they would be even better coated with some cream cheese frosting. Be sure to chill the dough after it’s mixed, otherwise it will be very difficult to handle.

½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine sugars and margarine. Beat until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, vanilla and egg and mix to combine. In a second bowl, combine remaining ingredients and whisk to mix. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, adding in three portions. Mix completely. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Drop cookie dough by the rounded tablespoon onto your cookie sheets. Cookies should be at least an inch apart; these cookies don’t spread too much. Bake cookies for 11 minutes, or until they are puffed and browned. Remove from the cookie sheets and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!
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