Since returning to work, I find that I don’t have much time for keeping up with the blog right now – my own nor others’ I like to follow. I miss it; but sometimes life forces us to prioritize (first world problems). I still manage to catch glimpses of what comes through my e-mail and make mental notes of what I want to try.
A couple of weeks ago a recipe from King Arthur Flour for Pumpkin Donuts caught my eye. I bought a can of pumpkin with the intent of making them, but didn’t have the time. Recent cooler temperatures made for favorable baking conditions, so it was time to use the pumpkin. I gave the donuts serious consideration, but really had cookies on my mind. A quick search on KAF’s site revealed a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Perfect! As with any recipe from KAF, I took the time to read through the reviews. They were mostly positive: just a few comments about the dough not spreading, the cookies being cake-like and not being sweet enough. I was okay with those things.
Being me, I had to make a few minor adjustments to the recipe. (Heaven forbid I should follow a recipe as written.) I used half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat pastry flour; increased the ground ginger to 3/4 teaspoon; and omitted the orange zest, walnuts and glaze.
Several reviewers had commented on getting golf-ball shaped cookies because the dough did not spread. Knowing ahead of time that the dough wouldn’t spread gave me an idea. Instead of using my normal-sized cookie scoop, I chose to use the larger scoop I normally use to fill cupcake tins and then a small off-set spatula to spread the dough into large rounds. The baking time required a little bit of trial and error, but fortunately the error part was limited to one sheet of six cookies – six really big cookies. Great Pumpkin cookies, Charlie Brown!
They were okay, but it seemed like something was missing. Despite using the entire can of pumpkin, the cookies didn’t scream “PUMPKIN!” like I wanted them to, and my taste buds thought they could have used a little more salt. And then there was that cakey texture and lack of sweetness the reviewers talked about. I didn’t think these things would bother me, but they kind of did. Whoops. Now what? And it occurred to me that my answer was in my reaction.
The obvious thing for large, round, cake-like cookies was whoopie pies (or in my case “whoopsie” pies). Now a filling was needed. Most recipes I’ve seen use the typical butter and powdered sugar “creme” filling. I thought a caramel filling would be good, though not necessarily traditional. The compromise was to combine them. For the creme filling, I combined one-half cup of butter with one cup of powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. The caramel filling was made by cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk until it had a thick, spreadable consistency.
The filling definitely compensated for the lack of sweetness, and made them very rich; but they’re still not great and are way too rich to want them frequently, even with my intense fondness for rich, sugary goodness. Currently, there are seven pumpkin chocolate chip whoopsie pies in the freezer. I’m thinking I should have gone with the donuts.