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Pumpkin cookies with vanilla and simple frosting.

Eating Well: Spicy pumpkin cookies sure to be palette pleasing

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Sometimes I think we overdo it come October on the pumpkin recipes given the close proximity to the Halloween holiday and all that is connected, but I can’t resist sharing this new one (at least to me) that I have been anxious to try and finally found the time this weekend.

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What intrigued me again was the simplicity and of course the fact that I really do like pumpkin and the right blend of spiciness that most pumpkin concoctions result in.

I am not big into nutmeg and cloves and many times when a pumpkin recipe calls for those ingredients in addition to cinnamon I just leave them out and compensate by adding more cinnamon.

Each to his own, anyway extra spices really have nothing to do with the recipe I am featuring today, only the recipe’s star attraction — a dry Spice Cake mix (with pudding in the mix) along with a can of pumpkin and two teaspoons of vanilla.

You are probably asking what could these three basic ingredients possibly result in that would be worth a column of their own?

The answer is — the most delicious, soft, pumpkin cookies you could ever imagine.

All you do is take a large mixing bowl and add a 15-ounce (I used a small can of the more economical Essential brand) can of pumpkin and 2 teaspoons of vanilla (I used the imitation) to the dry cake mix (Duncan Hines with pudding in the mix because it was on sale but any spice cake will work) already in the bowl.

Stir with a large spoon until well blended. There were still a few flecks of the dry cake mix in the dough when I started dropping them by teaspoons onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. The recipe called for the parchment paper which was a nice touch. The cookies didn’t stick and slipped right off the paper which I was able to reuse until all my cookies were baked and ended up with clean pan too boot.

When you start baking the dough will be quite stiff but not reason for concern. I was a little afraid they would bake a little too high so I poured a little regular white sugar onto a small plate and dipped a fork into it and then pressed the cookies down just a bit. This worked well.

I baked the cookies at 350 degrees and tested them after 12 minutes. They were still a little bit soft so I left them another 3 minutes, but how long you bake them will depend on the heat intensity of your oven. So I would suggest you start at the 12 minutes and go from there until the touch test tells you they are done.

The recipe turned out about 40 cookies, which I thought was a very generous amount.

Once baked, you can either eat the cookies plan or frost them. We ate a few warm out of the oven plain. Since I liked the idea of adding a little extra to the sweet goodness via frosting I whipped up a small batch of butter cream using no recipe at all, pouring in as I proceeded. I used about two cups of powdered sugar and beat in about 2 tablespoons of soft margarine and added whipping cream as I stirred until it was the right spreading consistency. I frosted the slightly warm cookies with a table knife and once the cookies cooled further, the frosting set and hardened perfectly, for which I felt very lucky.

I would recommend if you have a favorite butter cream or even cream cheese icing recipe turn to that unless you are good at guestimating what you need. Also mixing plain old powdered sugar with a little bit of milk as you go until you get it the right consistency would work on a recipe like this just to give it that little bit extra boost. With a little bit runnier version, you could even drizzle it over the top and it would eventually set up.

Making it even easier, you could frost them with the readymade variety from the store.

I am fairly confident these cookies will freeze well so after eating a few that is where the excess is being stored for future consumption.

I have to tell you my husband is not a pumpkin fan but he did eat two of these saying how good they were likening their flavor to molasses cookies, which also crossed my mind. Anyway, if you like pumpkin and the flavor it presents it’s a guarantee you are going to enjoy these cookies as well as the limited amount of time it takes to turn them out.

Another note I will share. Carrie Snyder at our office made the same recipe with hers calling for the addition of two cups of chocolate chips to the batter, which were also delicious. And perusing further online I saw another that called for white chocolate chips. I also couldn’t help but think that dates or raisins, or yes, even coconut, might also be a really flavorful touch.

Anyway food for thought. I will repeat the simple recipe for the cookies below. Feel free to add whatever your taste buds like. You can’t go wrong.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking!!!

Three Ingredient

Pumpkin Cookies

1 spice cake mix

1 small can pumpkin, 15 ounce

2 tsp. vanilla

Pour dry cake mix into large mixing bowl. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Mix well. Drop onto large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degree for 12 to 15 minutes or until done to touch. Cool and eat as they are or frost.

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