You all know how much I dislike baking. I dislike the powdery mess, the multiple dishes and bowls covered in the sticky mess, and most of all I dislike the measuring -- which I normally do not do any of in my cooking. I also dislike the subsequent weight gain. If I'm gonna gain weight, I'd typically like it to be from the consumption of deep fried cheeses. I get a lot more of a thrill from those items. That's just my bent.
But now, hello Diane, take a look at these cookies!
Aren't those beautiful cookies? Yeah, and you won't see me cranking out a product like that. And I didn't. Chris made these cookies. ALL BY HIMSELF.
If you haven't been reading very long, or if you don't know us personally, you may not be dropping your jaw to the appropriate level at this moment. I'm not trying to be condescending or rude to Chris. He's one fart smeller, and downright brilliant in a lot of areas. In one or two areas, he is actually Rain Man. But he's not so much with the cooking. So when he found a recipe in the Tribune for "Mimi's Pumpkin Cookies," I had my doubts. (UPDATE: scroll down for recipe). These cookies had FROSTING on them, for crying out loud. Oh, sure! And let's just turn the sofa into a rocket and fly our fat asses to the frigging moon while we're at it!
We had a bit of the "blind leading the blind" situation at first. It isn't that I refused to help, it was just that I wasn't much help. "Is pumpkin purée the same as pumpkin pie filling?" he asked when calling from the store. I had no idea. A call to his mom confirmed that the "pie filling" variety was probably seasoned, or had other things added. Ah. I should have thought of that, owing to my years of experience with canned puréed tomatoes, vs. "tomato sauce."
He came home and got to work, and there was only one further bump in the road. And it wasn't even his fault. The printed recipe had listed an egg, but didn't actually say when to add the egg. So once Chris realized this, he scooped up the dough he had already parceled out onto the cookie sheet and blended in the egg. Then he redistributed them. The only thing I added to the process was that I suggested adding a little ginger.
I'm not usually a fan of non-chocolate items, but these cookies were just about perfect. They were lightly spicy, crunchy and delicate. Chris was generous enough to bring over half of them to work, and he was more than a little insulted when they didn't vanish right away. "Don't they know how GOOD these COOKIES ARE??" he said when he got home.
Well, I do babe. And believe me, I won't forget it! In our house, the baker's crown is officially yours. "You complete me."
P.S. I should also mention that Chris took all the photos in this entry, too! My baby is all growns up and a food blogger...
UPDATE: I totally found it. I cannot believe I located this recipe, which I had clipped out but tucked into the pages of Saveur magazine, which I then took to my in-laws to make with the mac-and-cheese recipe in the magazine. Then promptly packed away and just UNpacked a year later. Anyway, here it is, out-of-print from the Chicago Tribune, and I hope they don't mind me reprinting it by popular demand! (And btw, Mimi is the name of someone's grandmother). My additions are in italics:
1 cup each: granulated sugar, vegetable shortening, pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
1 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tblesp. butter, milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift (or whisk) the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl; stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Beat sugar (and egg) and shortening with a mixer on medium speed until creamy; add the pumpkin puree. Beat until just mixed together; reduce mixer speed to low. Add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture, beating until combined. Repeat with remaining mixture, beating after each addition.
3. Drop by generous teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake until barely brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
4. For icing, combine the brown sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high (100% power) until brown sugar melts, about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave. Stir in confectioner's sugar until icing is smooth, adding a bit more milk if needed to desired consistency. Spoon icing over each cookie.