What's Baking: Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies are a delicious treat perfect for sharing at a fall harvest get-together.

 Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies || A Less Processed Life

It's the first week of October (how is it already October?!) -- but the real question is, are we still into everything pumpkin spice, or are we already totally over it? Pumpkin spice has exploded over the past couple of years, and now you can even get pumpkin-spiced breakfast cereals? I'm not too sure about that.

 Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies || A Less Processed Life

It all started with the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte (or PSL, if you're cool like that). Truth be told, the one time I had a PSL when they first came out several years ago, I kind of hated it. And I haven't tried one since. However, one of our local coffeehouses makes a pumpkin pie latte (with real pumpkin puree, I believe), that actually is quite delicious, if you're into an early-morning sugar high. (Which let's face it, I kind of am.)

 Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies || A Less Processed Life

There's been all sorts of drama of late that the cans of pumpkin puree you buy in the store are actually not purely pumpkin, if pumpkin at all. Turns out that's actually not entirely the case. Libby's (the brand most consumers are familiar with) uses a specific strain of Dickinsons pumpkins called Libby's Select, which, though it might not look exactly like that jack o'lantern you're familiar with, it is a type of pumpkin. It is true that some brands use a variety of sweet squashes in their cans of pumpkin, as this is allowed by the FDA's labeling laws. But for the most part, there really is pumpkin in those cans.

But let me throw this out there: I actually prefer to use canned butternut squash puree when I make "pumpkin" pie as I think it lends a richer, more complex flavor to the pie.

But I digress. Let's talk about cookies! I'm hopping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon with these pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies. The traditional cinnamon-sugar flavor of a snickerdoodle gets a little extra spice with the addition of allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. This cookie is almost cake-like in consistency with a tender crumb and gently-spiced pumpkin flavor.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (printer-friendly version)
makes two dozen cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or use 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground allspice)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Stir in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
4. In a small shallow bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Scoop the dough into 1" balls and dunk each ball into the sugar-spice mixture to evenly coat. Transfer the balls to the prepped baking sheet and set 3" apart. Use a spatula to flatten each ball into a 1/2" thick circle.
5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. Let cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

(adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)

 Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies || A Less Processed Life