Baked Sunday Mornings: Pumpkin Harvest Dunking Cookies

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It’s Fall. Me happy. I am, of course, by no means unique in my love of the autumnal season, with its warm cocoa, reds and yellows and oranges, and that glorious, crisp relief after months of sweltering heat. (Not that’s it’s cooled down in California much at all yet, but at least I know it’s around the corner now…) That time of year when you break out the jackets and scarves and cuddle just a little closer with your loved ones– nothing beats it. And naturally, I’m drawn to the toasty spices that make their unabashed appearance right about now, as well as their loyal companion, pumpkin. This week’s Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is Pumpkin Harvest Dunking Cookies from the Pumpkin chapter of Baked Elements, which could not be more apropos– loaded with them there spices and pumpkin, they are also chock-full of hearty oats and cranberries, and even a little chocolate, because… well, it’s chocolate– it needs no justification. These cookies are made to be dunked into coffee or hot chocolate to soak up even more flavor.

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I now interrupt this Fall lovefest to say that I’m IN NEW YORK CITY for the celebration of BAKED‘s new book, Baked Occasions (which comes out on Tuesday– get it get it get it) and the upcoming opening of their new bakery location in Tribeca. There is much eating and much food porn being posted on social media, but mostly I say this right now because I’m going to have to return to this blog post a little later today for more about the cookies. Suffice it to say for the moment that the cookies are easy to make, delicious, soft, and loaded with flavors and textures. Please check back later for more details…

The recipe for Pumpkin Harvest Dunking Cookies is located at Baked Sunday Mornings; check out how my fellow bakers fared with these too!

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UPDATE 10/22/2014: Okay, it took me a little longer than planned to come back to this. What a fantastic whirlwind of amazing food and friends in NYC! Oh– and burlesque dancers. (For reals.) I’ll be writing all about recipe testing, Baked Occasions, and the book release party very soon, but for now, back to cookies…

I wasn’t sure about the combination of pumpkin, chocolate, and cranberries. Pumpkin and chocolate, yes; pumpkin and cranberries, yes; chocolate and cranberries, yes… but all three together? I wasn’t convinced. And although the recipe says that the chocolate is optional, the notion of chocolate being anything but necessary does not even compute. Incidentally, I think white chocolate would be nice as well.

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The pumpkin-oat cookie dough was very easy to make, a nice change from the previous two weeks, which required much more work than muffins and Bundt cakes should!

The one thing I don’t like about oatmeal cookies is that the oats are often still raw-chewy, so I usually pulse them a few times in the food processor to break some of them down. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg) in a bowl.

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Cream the butter with white and dark brown sugars, then add the egg, pumpkin purée, and vanilla and beat until combined. (It will look a little curdled at first.) Add the flour/spice mixture in two additions, and finally, fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries by hand. The dough is thick and chunky, but also rather soft. The recipe instructs us to refrigerate the dough for 4 hours at this point, but I prefer to scoop and flatten the cookies, then chill. That way, they chill more quickly and you pop them right in the oven.

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My cookies baked off in 15 minutes, though they seemed rather soft. I’m not sure if that’s an intended feature of “dunking” cookies, or if I under-baked them. I’d give them another minute or two next time to firm up and brown a bit more. They flattened out a little, so I will try baking them as “domes” next time without the flattening part. (I did this because I’ve found that sometimes rounded cookies spread on the edges, but the middle stays taller, so they look wonky. Perhaps this softer dough would bake more evenly into chunky domes.)

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It took me a couple of days to warm up to these, as tends to be the case with pumpkin desserts– I loved them on the third day! I didn’t actually dunk them, but I did enjoy them with coffee, and I would agree that they make a nice combination.

It occurred to me later that because the dough is so soft before chilling, I could scoop it into a pastry bag and pipe cookie “strips” with a large round decorating tip, like the Trader Joe’s dunking cookies. It makes sense to optimize the cookie shape for dunking, am I right?!

These are wonderful, warmly spiced cookies that are lovely any time in the Fall– my tasters loved them! 🙂

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© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2014.

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