Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Christmas Cookies Take Two: Pumpkin Cookies
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg (freshly ground)
Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
A word on fresh nutmeg....it is a beautiful thing. The aroma from a whole nutmeg trumps ANY ground nutmeg you are going to buy at the store. You might say, "But I don't use nutmeg enough to justify buying a whole one." That is precisely why you need a whole nutmeg! They do not spoil. They do not go bad and they do not lose their flavor/aroma over time like ground spices do. Over time, ground nutmeg loses its essential oils (translation- flavor!) and won't taste as nutmeg-y. Do yourself a favor and buy one of these: a microplane grater and a whole nutmeg.
Okay, back to our cookie dough. Add dry ingredients 1/2 c. at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Transfer carefully to a wire rack and cool completely. If you put the icing on now, it will just slide right off. Now, if you have followed my instructions, you kitchen will smell insanely good and you will want to eat them now. You can (and I have!), but you patience will be rewarded if you wait just a few more minutes while you mix up the icing.
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 c. sifted confectioner sugar
2 to 3 T. orange juice
1 1/2 t. orange zest (opt.)
First, ordinarily, I would skip the sifting, but since you don't want lumps in your icing, I highly suggest sifting. In a large bowl, cream butter and (sifted!) sugar.
After the cookies have completely cooled, you are free to frost them with a spatula or knife. You'll get these tasty Christmas traditions!