It is Christmas Cookie season again, and you may have noticed from some of my recent posts that I've been doing some baking. Along with the traditional ones, some of which I've tweaked a little this year) I had the idea, a little out of the blue, of trying to make roast pumpkin cookies. I started out with my snickerdoodle recipe as a base and then went from there, adding and tweaking as I went until I came out with something I could be happy with. Some of the ingredients, like balsamic, may seem a little weird at a glance, but believe me, they work! I added the apple cider vinegar initially as I needed an acid to activate the baking soda and was out of cream of tartar. The balsamic and the amchoor were added after successive trials in an effort to balance out the flavour of the cookies - not too sweet, a little depth, some brightness, and some spice. The recipe below is the result of trial five, I believe. I have made them with three different toppings, and they work plain too, so I will detail all three below and leave it up to you.
1 c pumpkin, roasted to a mush
1/2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp amchoor (ground mango powder - skip it if you don't have any)
1/4 c cacao nibs
1/3 c ground hazelnuts
Zest 1 orange
For the glaze:
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp (scant!) almond extract
For chocolate covered cookies
75 g dark chocolate (or milk, if you really must...)
3 tbsp mascarpone (sweeten slightly if you want, but I liked it just plain)
1) In a bowl, beat together the pumpkin and the sugars until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.
2) Gradually add the other ingredients, stirring to form a rather sticky dough. Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten with a knife dipped in cold water. Bake at 175°C for about 8 minutes. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
3) To glaze the cookies, mix the powdered sugar, milk and almond extract to form a thick glaze. When they are completely cool, dip the cookies' tops in the glaze and then leave to dry for about 20-30 minutes.
To chocolate cover the cookies, melt the chocolate in a Bain Marie, stirring regularly. Remove from heat when the chocolate is all melted and silky to keep it from burning. Dip the cookies in the chocolate and leave to harden for about 30 minutes. If need be, place the cookies on a window sill or in the fridge for a few minutes to help the process along a little.
Or: Spread a little mascarpone on each cookie.
I am really happy with how these came out. They are a cross between cookies and cake, but after a couple of days become mini-cake bites. I love the balance of flavours in these cookies, the soft crumb and the fact that they didn't come out too sweet. I brought these to a games night with some friends and the consensus was that they are best with the glaze, between glaze and chocolate. Trying them later with the mascarpone though, that might be my favourite variation. If you try them, do let me know what your favourite is!