We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cookie Recipe #77 - Pumpkin Cookies with Brown-Butter Icing

Happy 1st day of spring! Pumpkin is good for you so why wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy it. Today's cookie is a soft, pumpkiny cookie with a kick. The icing softens the spiciness.
Ingredients: 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)butter, softened, 2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces), 3/4 cup evaporated milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Icing: 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks)butter, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk, plus more if needed, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine butter and brown sugar; beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low and add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; blend well. Gradually add flour mixture to cream mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Drop by tablespoonfuls on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 9-10 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
Make icing: Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Place confectioners' sugar in medium bowl; immediately add browned butter, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; stir until smooth.
Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in a little more evaporated milk. Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
"Martha Stewart's Cookies", published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, in 2008.
Cookies Rule!!!

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