I know, I posted a cookie recipe yesterday. But I also had a major baking day yesterday, and I’m too excited about these fresh pumpkin gingersnaps to horde them away for long. (I mean that. If you live near me, feel free to come by for a sample.)
So, Baking Day. I’ve been wondering, only for the last year or so, how to keep the house stocked with ready-to-eat snacks. The question exists because my skinny husband eats lots of anything I make, and there just never seems to be much in the fridge for very long. It’s also because I want to avoid buying snacks at the store — they’re not as healthy and we’ll go through them just as quickly.
A friend (Miriam, you’re famous!) and I recently debated the merits of “once-a-week-baking.” After all, I had been baking once a week, and that seemed to be the root of the problem. Maple oat quick bread, a batch of muffins, maybe some not-too-bad-for-you cookies. None of it made it more than a few days.
And then it occurred to me: It wasn’t the frequency that was the problem, but that I was only baking one thing at a time. If I baked lots of things one day during the week…
Enter Baking Day.
Yesterday was the first official one. Lots of flour-sifting, LOTS of dirty dishes, and looooots of oven time. And what do I have to show for it?
- A triple batch of carrot spice muffins.
- One batch of fresh pumpkin gingersnaps.
- One batch of Wheat Thins (blog post coming, they’re incredibly perfect).
- One batch of chocolate-drizzled granola bars.
- (And dinner, does that count? Penne with roasted eggplant and red pepper, and a little salad on the side.)
First, I replaced half the butter with canola oil to get a healthier cookie. This resulted in a much softer batter, requiring extra chill time in the fridge. It also meant the tops didn’t crackle like the originals. This was okay with me, but if you’ll miss the crackled look, keep the full amount of butter.
Next: Instead of canned pumpkin, I went with fresh. We did a big grocery run yesterday, and I ran back to the produce section to get a big chunk of pumpkin at the last minute. I was so glad I did — it’s simple to prepare, freezes well, and definitely adds that special something to baked goods.
I made a few other changes, too, like substituting some of the white flour for whole wheat and cutting out some sugar. Oh, and substituting molasses for honey. I know that’s probably sacrilegious when it comes to gingersnaps, but it was what I had in the house. Besides, it worked.
They’re delicious. Completely delicious.
These cookies are nice fresh from the oven, but even better from the freezer. The flavors come through beautifully once they’ve had that chance to gel — you’ll get the most amazing taste in every bite.
Make them, you won’t be sorry. This is one special cookie.
Loosely based on Two Peas & Their Pod
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
- ¼ cup butter (or margarine), at room temperature
- ¼ cup canola oil, less 1½ Tbsp
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- extra cinnamon and sugar, for rolling cookies before baking
1. If you don’t have fresh pumpkin in your freezer just waiting to be used, put up a pot of water to boil. Cube pumpkin, making sure to slice off the rind. Add pumpkin cubes to boiling water and cook until a knife passes through easily, about 25 minutes. (Alternatively, steam the pumpkin until knife-tender.) Drain and puree in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
2. Beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, honey, egg, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until there are no dry spots. Refrigerate the dough for at least 90 minutes. (Two Peas says you can leave it in the fridge for as long as 2-3 days.)
4. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F/180 C and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Place cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and mix. (You’ll see how much you need as you go, but start with about 3 spoonfuls of sugar and a couple nice shakes of the cinnamon.) Form balls of dough that are about as large as a teaspoon, and roll in cinnamon/sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake 14 minutes, or until cookies are nicely browned, fragrant, and appear set. (They’ll be pretty soft to the touch.) Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving them, then store in single layers in an airtight container in the freezer. They’ll be sticky, so place a layer of parchment paper between layers of cookies.