Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oatmeal Pumpkin Walnut Cookies

I got pretty tired of baking during the Christmas season.  Biscotti, sugar cookies, biscotti, brownies, biscotti, cranberry bread, biscotti, triple peanut butter chip cookies, and more biscotti.  It's taken me three weeks to even want to turn the oven on again.  Much to my kids' delight, the cookie drought is finally over.  I'm helping with the fellowship hour at church tomorrow, and I need to bring something to share.  This recipe is one I modified from another recipe I created a number of years ago, to use the ingredients I have on hand because I didn't want to go back out to the store today.  So, it's an original, and I think it turned out pretty well.  The kids certainly approved!  Here it is:

Oatmeal Pumpkin Walnut Cookies

1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups white unbleached flour (you could use 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
2 cups rolled oats (quick oats would be fine, too)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 - 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (OR 1 1/2 - 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. allspice)
2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the sugars, butter, and eggs until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and the pumpkin, and blend well.  Add the dry ingredients, except the nuts, and mix until moistened.  Stir in the walnuts.

Drop dough by large double tablepoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  (Scoop size should be about the size of a golf ball, and separated by about 1/2" - the cookies don't spread much, they're very cake-like in texture.)  You can fit 16 cookies on one large cookie sheet.  Bake for 17-18 minutes, until they begin to lightly brown and spring back when touched gently in the middle.  Remove and let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a paper towel to finish cooling.  Frost with vanilla or cream cheese frosting.  (I bet maple-vanilla frosting would be wonderful on these - I'll have to try that next time, since I did vanilla today.) 

Yields about 4 dozen large cookies.

Simple Vanilla Frosting

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar (+ extra)
1/4 cup or so cold water

Blend the shortening, vanilla, 2 cups powdered sugar and 2 tbsp. water in a small mixing bowl.  Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar, and just enough water to form a slightly soft frosting.  If you get it too soft, add more powdered sugar to get the consistency you want.  Make it stiffer for spreading, and softer for piping from a tube or bag.  You can spread the frosting on the cooled cookies with a knife, or put it into a baggie, seal, and snip the corner to make a simple squeeze bag.  If you want to make maple frosting, substitute real maple syrup for the water.  Let the cookies sit out for half an hour or longer for the frosting to stiffen if you need to stack them on a plate or in a container.