October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Glaze

One of my pumpkins from the overzealous pumpkin-buying spree.

I recently bought four sugar pumpkins.  Whole Foods was having this 2/$3 sale that I couldn't resist.  They're so round, so orange and embody everything that makes autumn delicious.  But yeah, I really don't need four.  I don't even have room to cook down and freeze them.  I should have known this.  I see a lot of pumpkin-carving on the menu this week.  Or like three weeks worth of pumpkin-based meals.  No kidding.

Now in spite of having pumpkins at my disposal, that whole roasting and blending process is a daunting prospect after a busy work week.  So I'll admit, I cheated.  Okay, it wasn't really cheating.  Not only do I apparently hoard over-buy sugar pumpkins, I also have a cabinet full of canned pumpkin (and coconut milk, coincidentally).  That means that I was actually doing my cabinet a favor when I cracked open a can when I felt compelled to make cookies last night.

I really just wanted some nice chocolate-chip cookies, but I had no chocolate.  I was also exhausted and coming off having a rough afternoon, so the idea of moving any greater distance (such as to the grocery store) than 5 feet from one side of my kitchen counter to the other was basically a pipe dream.  Thus I looked over what was in my cabinets and what was on the internet for veganized cookie recipes and landed on Pumpkin Cookies!

I love pumpkin cookies.  I actually have an amazing Martha Stewart recipe that I whip up every Christmas that uses a brown-butter glaze.  They're insane.  But if the "brown butter" didn't clue you in, they're so not vegan.  I have, however, started to get used to the tricks of the trade - how to get around basic baking ingredients like eggs (flaxseed + warm water), butter (oil or vegan butter), and milk (soymilk really is okay to use most of the time).  In fact, the most exciting trick of all is making whipped cream from the thick custardy top on canned coconut milk.  Mmm. But I digress.

The super soft, total-wouldn't-know-they-were-vegan pumpkin cookies:

Vegan Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Glaze

Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Glaze
adapted from food.com


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 can pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flaxseed in 4 tablespoons of warm water, whisked

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of real maple syrup
1 tablespoon soymilk
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease your baking sheets.  I use coconut oil to grease mine!

Now I'm notoriously bad about my mixing methods when it comes to cookies.  It's a little different if the baked good has more temperature sensitivity, but cookies?  Not so much.  I just toss everything into the bowl at once and then let KitchenAid do the magic.  If I were mixing by hand?  Well, then I might do a dry-only bowl and a wet-only bowl, mixing at the end.  But I don't because I am convinced that my KitchenAid can fix anything from lumpy custard to lung cancer.  So my instructions are like this:  Put all of those cookie ingredients into the bowl and mix until whipped smooth.

For soft fluffy cookies, especially where I don't use traditional levening ingredients, I like to chill my dough.  So once you've mixed up the dough, pop it into the fridge for a half hour to stiffen up.  Then use a small melon baller to pop out bite-sized cookies on your sheet.

The cookies take anywhere from 12-15 minutes to bake.  They'll be tender and soft, so do a bottom check to see when they're a soft golden.  Even if they're a bit soft on the inside, they'll continue to cook on a rack while they cook down.  This recipe made me about 45-50 bite-sized cookies.

Once your cookies have reached room temperature, it's time to make the glaze.  Since I don't own a microwave, I melted my butter in my stove-top butter warmer.  After it melted down, but wasn't bubbling just yet, I removed it from the heat and added the wet ingredients.  Using a whisk, I blended the soymilk, maple syrup, vanilla and butter until smooth, then began sifting in the powdered sugar.  The amount of sugar you use is both a matter of taste and consisency.  I found that 1/2-1 cup was plenty and that I only ended up drizzling 1/4 of it onto the cookies.  Less is more with this glaze, so feel free to halve this recipe.

The glazing process: butter warmer + maple syrup = delicious.

I was bringing these puppies to work within a half hour of drizzling, so I tossed them into the fridge for a quick glaze-hardening chill. And that, ladies and gentleman, is your bit of autumn baking spirit!

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