Not to wax nostalgic about the weather, but did anyone else get some ground-drenching rain this weekend? It fell at our house, where we took the opportunity to sit in the front porch, coffee mugs in hand, and watch it come down from the sky. But the rain, as magnificent as it proved to be on Sunday, was a little late to help out the fall crops. Add this one to the list of drought-induced hardships: this fall, we’re facing (gasp!) a pumpkin shortage. You may have noticed a bit of an up-tick in prices for your carving jack-o-lanterns, and those sweet little pie pumpkins may be dwindling. So here’s a recipe you can unveil at your autumnal gatherings that uses just a bit of pumpkin puree and chocolate and cinnamon to oh-so-subtly pay homage to the season. While you carve up an “altern-o-lantern” for Halloween, use your single ration of pumpkin puree to serve up a platter of these. Technically, these are cookies. But they’re so cake-like—airy and fluffy, with just a little bit of toothiness—that they bring to mind the top half of a cupcake. So, let’s call them…Cup-cookies. Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cup-Cookies with Rum Icing Adapted from this recipe. Ingredients: 1 cup unsalted butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned) 1 egg 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups unbleached allpurpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup Texas pecans, coarsely chopped 1 cup dark chocolate chips Icing: 2 cups sifted powdered 1/4 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 tablespoons or rum (substitute milk for an alcohol-free version) Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in pumpkin, egg and vanilla until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir until well blended. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonful onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. While the cup-cookies are cooling, make the icing. Using a whisk, cream together the powdered sugar and butter. Add vanilla and rum (or milk) and whisk until combined. If the icing is too dry, add just a bit more liquid; if it’s too runny, add a little more powdered sugar. Drizzle (liberally) over cup-cookies once they’ve cooled. Makes about 4 dozen two-inch cookies. – AMBER BYFIELD
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