My first pumpkin-chocolate cookies were a gift from a neighbor, and they were so delicious I went back the next day for the recipe. I’ve refined it over the years to work well with canned pumpkin or homemade Roasted Winter Squash Puree, using small sugar pumpkins or other winter squash. I’ve also adapted it to suit my personal tastes. The results are lightly sweetened, cakey cookies with rich dark chocolate melted into them – and onto them when I’m filling a party tray.
You can make your own tweaks if your tastes differ. If you have a sweet tooth, use a little more sugar and milk or white chocolate and stir some powdered sugar into the drizzle. The pumpkin will always make these hearty cookies, but using entirely white flour will create more loft and entirely whole-wheat flour will increase the density. You can also replace the individual spices with a pumpkin pie spice mix like the one I’ve shared for Spiced and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.
Commercially canned pumpkin puree will work in these cookies, but I recommend home-roasted puree for the best the flavor and texture. Drain homemade puree well before measuring it. If you’re freezing the puree for longer storage, put a little extra in the container so that you can drain it again after it has defrosted.
Makes about 50 cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 ounces dark chocolate chips (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 ounce bittersweet baking chocolate (optional)
1 ounce heavy cream (optional)
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Fold in the pumpkin puree, stirring until just smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix in the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir this into the pumpkin mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.
Drop spoonfuls of chilled dough on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, until the bottoms just start to darken. Immediately remove the cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper. Scrape any crumbs from the baking sheet and continue baking the remaining dough.
If desired, melt the baking chocolate in a small pot over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in up to 1 ounce of heavy cream, adding just enough cream that the chocolate runs slowly but consistently from a spoon. Use the spoon to drizzle the warm chocolate over the cookies; let cool slightly before serving. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.
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