There are many practices that your parents try to to instill in you, which you don’t appreciate until you are older. Whenever I wanted to set up a lemonade stand in front of our house, my mom would deduct the cost of the ingredients that I used from my earnings, but only enough to make a point that our kitchen was not my personal grocery store (little did I know that a can of frozen lemonade and a box of cookies cost more than 75 cents.) If I ever tried to bolt out the door and head to school with wrinkled attire or looking like I had "mopped the floor with my head," as my dad would say, I was sent right back upstairs to find a "presentable" alternative. Thank-you notes were (and still are) a non-negotiable in my family. As soon as I could put crayon to paper, I was expressing gratitude to grandparents and friends for everything from a dime-filled birthday card to an Easy Bake Oven (where it all started……)
As I grew older, the bar for thank-you note content was raised higher and higher. "Dear Grandma and Grandpa……Thank you for the sweater…….I will wear it a lot….." no longer cut the mustard, and I learned the difference between scrawling a two minute blurb because I had to and putting some real time and effort into creating a sincere and worthy letter. Today, thank-notes are a dying breed. Oh sure, there’s the thank-you e-mail and the thank-you text (which, by the way would take me longer than hand writing a three-pager), but they’re not nearly as effective or special as getting a personalized note in the mail. I know how it makes me feel when I get one, so mom and dad, thanks for the lesson (and sorry I put up such a fuss.)
Since I am constantly creating new batches of cookies, sweets, and treats, and because neither Eric nor I want to keep such temptation around the house, I have started sending small batches of goodies along with some of my thank-yous. This especially comes in handy if you are at a loss for words or if you want to thank a few people at once. Eric and I just returned from a fantastic trip to Napa and Sonoma, which I won by entering a contest and writing a poem. From the moment we arrived, we were treated as if our last name was Mondavi, with private tours, tastings, and chef-prepared meals. I’m glad that I slept so well on the trip, because I have quite a bit of "thanking" to do.
I’ve decided to send a few different types of cookies to each group that hosted us, the first of which is today’s post, and the second of which I will post tomorrow (still deciding on that one.) Because these folks are from a great culinary area, I wanted to send something a bit different, so I opted for pumpkin and white chocolate flavors, not quite as popular and chocolate and peanut butter, but just as good. The pumpkin is pretty mild, but the inclusion of butterscotch chips, spices, oats, and walnuts really gives these cookies some rich flavors for the recipients to pair with their dessert wine of choice! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s cookie….. Here are a few extra tips for preparing this pumpkin-packed treats:
- Be sure to use packed pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling in this recipe. The pumpkin pie filling has additives which will cause the cookies to turn out differently. Libby’s is one popular brand of pumpkin puree, but you can find it at almost any grocery store, and Trader Joe’s carries a very good version as well.
- Feel free to substitute pecans or even hazelnuts, if preferred. A small amount (about 1/4-teaspoon) of nutmeg or allspice can also be added to the dry ingredients is you like a little bit of extra spice with your pumpkin flavored treats.
- If you opt to use white chocolate chips in lieu of chopping a piece of white chocolate, use about 1 1/2 cups. In the case of these cookies, the higher quality the white chocolate is, the better they will taste, so this is an ingredient that I would be pickier about. Lower quality white chocolate chips often have a "waxy" taste to them.
- To take these cookies to an extra sinful level, drizzle the cooled cookies with melted white chocolate or sandwich a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream between two cookies.
- The batter may be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. After baking, the cookies may be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 weeks or stored at room temperature, covered for 3-4 days (if they last that long…..)
Pumpkin Walnut White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup butterscotch chips
12 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup rolled oats
8 ounces white chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking soda, and spices, and pulse to blend. Add the butterscotch chips and process until the chips are finely ground, with bits of larger pieces remaining. Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add the egg and pumpkin puree and mix well to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well combined, and then add the oats, white chocolate, and walnuts, mixing until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes.
Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough on to the prepared cookie sheets, spacing 2-inches apart. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, rotating positions halfway through the baking process for even baking, until the cookies are light golden brown. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.