Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies? No wai!

This semester turned out to be too hectic to be able to really do anything post-worthy. I continued to make bento lunches, but mostly rehashes of things I've already posted (oldies but goodies!) or just simple sandwich and fruit bentos.

Lately, I became determined to make something, and given my love of (and obsession with) pumpkins, I decided to try a simple pumpkin cookie recipe. I looked up something online to get a starting point, and came across a Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal cookie posted on by guest poster Heather Green. It was almost perfect, so I went from there. I'm going to post the ingredients for the recipe I followed, and any changes I made I'll put in bold, for ease of following either the original, or mine. Granted, most of my changes were due to lack of the ingredient called for (I could have sworn we had all of them in the pantry!), but the result turned out pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

And to the original author: If you have an issue with me posting your work, please let me know and I'll fix it. :)

To everyone else: Check out either for the Vegan cookies or for the myriad other delicious-looking goodies you can find there!

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I loooooove cinnamon, so I added about twice this much, totaling ~2 tsp)
½ teaspoon nutmeg (We didn't have any of this somehow, so we substituted apple pie seasoning, which we thought would be interesting, and it turned out to be a really good idea, plus more cinnamon!)
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses (Once again, we had none of this though we could have sworn we had a massive jug at one point, so we used maple syrup. It doesn't have the same flavor intensity, but it served the purpose well.)
1 cup canned pumpkin or cooked pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla (We added a little bit more than a tsp just for a little more flavor, so about 1.5tsp total.)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
½ cup raisins (I don't really care for anything in my oatmeal cookies usually, so I left out the raisins. Scandalous, I know.)
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped  (I didn't want to add these *see reason above* but the reaction of my boyfriend's father to me not including them prompted me to adding a small decorative sprinkling on top of the last batch just for those of my tasters that preferred them.)

Now that you've got everything out and ready, get to cooking!

 Preheat your oven to a toasty 350° F and lightly grease up two of your favorite baking sheets. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (or apple spice) into a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, mix the sugar, oil, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and flax seeds. Combine the ingredients from the second bow to the ones in the large bowl and fold to mix. I had never folded, so I had an awkward moment where I had to ask if you literally "fold" or not. Yeah, you do, by the way. Go figure.

You're supposed to do a "drop cookie" kind of deal here, taking a teaspoon and plopping a small ball of dough onto the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart, which I did, but I would have liked them a little bigger. Take that as you will. :3. The original cook was right, and they don't spread out as much as other cookies tend to, so you'll have to push them down a little and mold them into a more cookie-ish shape. Be warned, they are really tempting to eat out of the bowl. :3

Put your disks of deliciousness into your preheated over and bake for around 15-17 minutes. The original recipe says you'll make around 4 dozen cookies, but I only was able to make somewhere around 3 dozen, and would have been much less with the larger cookies I wanted to make, though you may have better luck with sizing and whatnot.

When your handy-dandy timer yells at you, take the cookies out and cool them on a wire rack. Get out a nice wooden spatula and apply liberally to the hands of any passerby. If you're not vigilant you'll lose them quickly. I left the room for a measly 5 minutes, and 3 mysteriously disappeared, and my helper cooks kept saying they needed to "taste" another, although they kept saying they were really good.

I made these mostly for Thanksgiving. My mother hates pumpkin, but after some encouragement she ate one and liked it. That may be due to the one complaint I had about this recipe: that it really didn't taste like pumpkin. To quote my boyfriend, "they taste like oatmeal cookies with a little something extra that you can't really place". They still were tasty and chewy, but he was right.

I plan to remake these this weekend, and will add the entire 16oz can of pumpkin puree instead of just the 1cup to see if there's any difference, and maybe end up adding more than that if I still feel like there isn't enough. We also picked up molasses so we can make sure to correct that little flub, but I like having the apple pie spice instead of nutmeg, so that change stays, I think.

So, we would definitely give these a 5/5. Something to put into the "make a lot" pile if it wasn't seasonal treat. I recommend everyone who likes oatmeal cookies to try this, especially if you like pumpkin at all.

Update: Remade them tonight, using molasses and the full can of pumpkin puree. I had never seen molasses before (I swear I'm from the south!), so opening the jar was an event in and of itself. I expected something like really sweet, dark, honey-like syrup. The smell that hit me was more akin to soy sauce someone poured honey in and somehow let it go bad. I tasted a bit, and yeah, it was sweet, but jeez it smelled awful. Who eats this stuff? Give me honey anyday.

Despite my new-found dislike for one of the main ingredients, I went on with the baking. Tasting the dough (hell yeah cookie dough!) I could definitely pick up on the pumpkin better, so I was very hopeful. After that, everything went as expected, until the first batch came out of the oven. 15 minutes wasn't enough, so they went back in for another 5, but hey still came out a squishy. I let them sit for a bit, and they cooked themselves a little, and got these really amazingly crispy delicious tops, but the bottoms were still...well, sticky. We chalked this up to using a new set of Airbake baking sheets, so I pulled out the old one I had used last week. They still took 20 min to bake through, but the bottoms got really brown. I'm a bit perplexed, to be honest. None of them taste bad, mind you, but why such a difference in texture?

Oh well. They still taste awesome. Til next time!