Fall has arrived in New England, and I am celebrating by pulling on my fleece socks and rekindling my love affair with all things pumpkin.  First from the oven:  soft, chewy, delicately spiced cookies, blissfully (and undetectably) egg- and dairy-free.  Save your homemade winter squash puree for soup — the unmistakable flavor of canned pumpkin is best for these homey treats.

Pumpkin cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 c. butter (or use non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening — I like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. packed, light brown sugar

3/4 c. pumpkin puree (half of a 15-oz. can)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 c. chocolate chips (I like the miniature variety for this recipe, and use the allergy-friendly Enjoy Life brand)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Using an electric mixer and periodically scraping bowl and beaters, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Fold in chips.

Drop spoonfuls of dough about 2-inches apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges of cookies are just browned and centers are set.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Cookies keep, tightly covered, for a few days.  Leftovers freeze beautifully.

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