You know I can’t resist a fall setting that looks like it came right out of a Hallmark movie. So any time I can visit a pumpkin patch, go for a hayride, decorate or bake with gourds, pumpkins and winter squash, I’m all in.
Autumn brings the cooler temps conducive to baking, as many times, the warmth of the kitchen is a welcomed feeling. The aromas mixed with the toasty, cozy atmosphere is very comforting to me.
I have a soft spot for pumpkins in particular. If you have read this column for more than one fall season, you probably know how I tell about my grandparents farming pumpkins here on the South Plains. And I, too, had the desire to raise pumpkins, but went the route of home gardening and developing recipes.
In my cookbook, “The Whole Enchilada,” I pay tribute to my grandparents with at least a couple of recipes utilizing pumpkin. I have a recipe in the book for pumpkin fudge that gives off a hint of mild, creamy pumpkin flavor. And there are even some savory pumpkin recipes such as pumpkin cornbread, and mole made with pumpkin seeds.
Snickerdoodle cookies already offer a warm flavor from the cinnamon, but add a touch of pumpkin and fall is definitely in the air, and in your mouth.
I considered developing this recipe using almond flour and coconut sugar. But I decided to keep it traditional with all-purpose flour, as well as, granulated sugar and brown sugar. But substitutions could take place without causing the recipe to fail, for those of you eliminating wheat from your diet, or going with healthier options. A sugar-free version would even work well, as long as the sweetener used is an appropriate swap for baking.
I hope you find time this fall to get out and enjoy the autumn air, or to fill your kitchen with the warm, familiar scents of the season. Enjoy food made fresh!
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
COATING: 3 tablespoons granulated sugar mixed with 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the egg and continue mixing until well incorporated. Add vanilla and pumpkin and mix until blended.
Sift flour, pumpkin pie spice, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture with the wet ingredients while the mixer is on low. Increase speed to fully incorporate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Shape walnut-size portions into balls and roll in the sugar/cinnamon coating. Place onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes until tops are just set.
Makes approximately 20 cookies.
Angelina LaRue, author of “The Whole Enchilada,” grew up at White River Lake, lives in Idalou and writes a weekly food column for local newspapers.