Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Autumn!

Autumn. You know what that means. Pumpkin spice lattes (don't click that if you don't want to see the nutrition facts), pumpkin pie blizzards (October Blizzard of the month), Pumpkin bread, Jack-o-lanterns and the quintessential pumpkin pie.
Confession. (Taking a deep breath) I don't like pumpkin pie. Gasp! I know, I know. But it's ok. We can get through this together. I do, however love the spices and flavors that accompany pumpkin in all its traditional forms. So yesterday, I decided it was time to overcome my distaste for pumpkin and go for the gusto.

Spiced pecan PUMPKIN cookies.

And let me just tell you now, they are addictive, dangerous, heavenly morsels of Autumnal bliss. Are you drooling yet? Because I am, and I just ate one (or two or... nine)
1 1/2 sticks Butter
2 1/2 C. Flour
3/4 C. Granulated sugar
1/2 C. Brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Ground cloves
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Ground ginger
2 eggs
1 15 oz can Pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (I used salted butted and left this out)
1 C. Spiced pecans, chopped (recipe below)
48 Spiced pecan halfs (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of your mixer, begin by creaming the butter so it becomes light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugars and continue beating. Add eggs, vanilla, baking soda and spices to the mixture. At this point, add the pumpkin to the mixer. When fully incorporated, add the chopped pecans. Begin adding the flour, half a cup at a time until all the flour has been added.
Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet. Place a pecan half on top of each cookie and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let transfer to a cooling rack.

Spiced pecans:
In a dry pan, begin by toasting the pecan halves just until you start smelling the toasty goodness. Once you smell them add 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of Sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the pan. Allow to caramelize, stirring fairly quickly so they don't burn. Transfer to a sheet of waxed paper, parchment, silicone mat etc. to cool.
Use the same process for the chopped pecans. I just do the large pieces first so there isn't stuff left in the pan when I do those :)

Additional note: I though about making a cream cheese frosting to go with this, but I started eating them too fast and I didn't get that far. But I still think it would be delish.

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