These cookies are a combination of everything delicious about seasonal holiday desserts, including chocolate, cinnamon, brown sugar, and pumpkin.
The cookies are very easy to make. They are classic chocolate chip cookies with a twist, namely, pumpkin pie spices and squash puree. They have a subtle orange hue, a mild pumpkin taste, and a hearty texture that’s both crunchy and bready.
Last week, I blogged about roasting winter squash, and all the wonderful things you can do with this flavorful autumnal ingredient. One idea is to use roasted squash – in place of canned pumpkin – in this recipe. Choose a squash variety that has a dry flesh like kabocha, buttercup, Hubbard, red kuri, or turban. Varieties like acorn, pumpkin, and butternut are too watery, and will make the cookies fluffy. All you need to do is roast your squash until it’s tender, cool and scoop out the flesh, and puree it in a food processor until smooth.
Whether you use roasted squash or canned pumpkin, you’ll beat the puree into the butter, sugar, and eggs, making a colorful – and delicious – cookie dough.
Besides adding pumpkin, I like to add cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to these cookies. If you have a jar of “pumpkin pie spice” in your cupboard, use two to three teaspoons of that in place of the spices called for in the recipe. Top the cookies with a few grains of coarse salt, which helps all the flavors burst into life, especially the chocolate.
Enjoy these cookies with a mug of hot cider or hot cocoa, or a tall, cool glass of milk.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 4 dozen cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 scant teaspoon cinnamon
1 scant teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup roasted squash puree, or 1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Coarse salt, such as sel de mer, gray sea salt, or kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, squash puree or canned pumpkin, and the egg, and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in two batches, and mix until it’s just barely incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets by the tablespoon, 3 inches apart. Press them down with the side of your palm until they are roughly 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of coarse salt.
Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until the edges are crisp and the bottoms are golden. Cool on a rack, and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.