Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When Good Cookies Turn Bad ...

Its a cold and rainy day, the husband has taken ill, and I've got a huge can of pumpkin mocking me every time I open the fridge. So what's a Diva to do when such miseries ensue? Why bake cookies of course! Pumpkin cookies to be exact.

Bound and determined to complete my wonderful and terrifying journey toward pumpkin-acceptance, I've been busy devising ways to use up the open can. Intrigued as I am by that scotch laced pie I mentioned on Monday, I'm still not ready to take the pie plunge. I'm just not there ... yet. Cookies seem like a far friendlier, more gentle even, introduction to this fearsome ingredient ... especially if they're topped with chocolate.

Sadly, said cookies broke my heart. The flavor combination is a winner to be sure, but the texture ... ugh ... not at all what I had anticipated. The inspiration for this failed cookie came from a spice cookie featured in this month's issue of Woman's Day. While I did not use their recipe, I was completely charmed by their use of "Snowcaps" to top the cookies. I constructed a fairly standard dough, baked them off and topped each with a nonpareil. They looked great and tasted great, but I just can't get past the texture ... this is a cookie that thinks its a muffin. What the ...?

I'll post the recipe here, but not because I think you should try it. Rather, I'm asking you pumpkin using people, what went wrong? The finished cookie is entirely too soft and cake-like. Was it the whole wheat flour? Should I have used more butter? Help!

Rejected Pumpkin Cookie Muffins:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • generous grating of fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • scant 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup of canned solid pack pumpkin, room temperature
  • Snowcaps for topping
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugars together in the bowl of your standing electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and pumpkin and beat until well combined. Reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until well combined. Add the flour to the pumpkin mixture, by thirds, beating on medium speed until just combined.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked throughout. Immediately press a Snowcap into the top of the cookie. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

I was so confused by the resulting cookies, that I decided to bake the second batch in a mini-muffin tin. The husband liked those better and I think I agree. We'll eat them, of course, but suffice it to say this was not my vision of the perfect pumpkin cookie. Sad.

For only the second time I will not end this post with the phrase: "I hope you'll try it!" I hope you won't. What I do hope is that you'll send me a better recipe for pumpkin cookies. If you've got one, let me know in the comments or email me. I'm heartbroken.

Meanwhile, I've still got left-over pumpkin in the fridge. Is this a bottomless can? Next up: pumpkin waffles. Stay tuned and lets hope they won't disappoint!

Bon appetite!


Miss Caught Up said...

I like the line "...this is a cookie that thinks its a muffin." LOL

I left you something on my blog :)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, I liked it too. LOL

And many thanks for the award, you're a doll, MCU! I'll put it up tomorrow. :)

Sass said...

I am not on the pumpkin bandwagon.

I think pumpkin tastes like a bad mood. I have no other way to put it than that.

The Diva on a Diet said...

OMG, Sass, you made me laugh out loud!

What a great description. I'm not 100% on the bandwagon yet, but I'm somewhat less fearful.

Cheryl said...

Ah, I feel your pain. I made pumpkin bread twice last week and 3 batches of pumpkin muffins, and now I have 3/4 of an open can of pumpkin in the fridge. I'm kind of sick of the stuff, actually, but I'm not one to throw away ingredients. I'm thinking there may be a pumpkin streusel cake in my future. (I say that with less enthusiasm than I should. As if that's the worst thing that could happen, right?)

Looking at your cookie recipe, it's not immediately apparent to me what went wrong with the texture. How frustrating!

Sass said...

Wait. My previous comment does NOT apply to pumpkin bread. Pumpkin bread tastes like a smile. Only...warmer.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Cheryl - I guess its a pumpkin themed week all around! Where do you find the time to do all that baking?!?

Ok, Sass, so we're still on for our wine/blogging/pumpkin bread conference! ;)

The Bear said...

You are brave, Diva, to try the cookies. I have made pumpkin cookies in the past (with regular flour) and wound up with the same cake-like consistency. I think it's the pumpkin itself that generates the texture. Though I love pumpkin, I agree that pumpkin cookies don't quite make the grade.

Your mini-muffin solution, however, is inspired! You are one resourceful and clever Diva!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Aw, thanks, Bear! Its good to know that its not just me ... so thanks for that. I've decided that the flavor combo is a winner, so next time I'll skip the chocolate, add some nuts and just bake them off as muffins. I think they'll be delightful! :)


Is this a wind up? A recipe for a failed piece of cooking?!


Actually they don't look bad at all but I think I've already explained that I'm not a pumpkin fan. Replaced it with pecan dough or something!

The sprinkles look good. I'd eat that!
Cheer up love, you hardly ever fail at your cookery!

Scarlet xoxo