Halloween is one of the fastest-growing holidays in America, in terms of dollars spent. What used to be an exercise in creative reuse of on-hand materials for costumes (my older sister drew a body-sized peanut on an old pillowcase one year, cut holes for her head and arms, and went as a Goober) and parties (my brother is famous for Halloween parties with honest-to-God bobbing for apples: each contestant is timed with a stopwatch) has become a blockbuster for the local party store.
If you’d like to get back to the make-your-own fun style of doing things, allow me to propose making some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
This is really a simple recipe, which is a good thing, because you have plenty to do if you’re getting kids ready for Halloween. It also makes 5 dozen, which is handy if you have a lot of people to feed.
Here we go. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Cream the butter and sugar, scrape, then in go the pumpkin, eggs, and flavorings. The orange zest is optional; if you 're baking for kids who might not be up for that kind of taste combination, by all means leave it out.
The mixture will break and look icky; that’s OK. If this freaks you out, you can alternate adding some of the dry ingredients between eggs. The mixture will look better as it develops, but it will bake up the same way however you add the flour mixture.
Mix in the chips and walnuts, then scoop
If you want to do the extra step in decorating, press a couple of chocolate chips into the cookies for eyes right after you take the cookies out of the oven.
You can get as creative as you want with this idea…
The glaze is easy to whisk together. The recipe says you can just dip the tops in the glaze, like this:
But I like the pumpkin look. All it takes is a disposable pastry bag.
Here’s one of my favorite hints: since you really need three hands to fill one of these, try putting the bag inside a tall narrow container with a heavy base, like a vase or a beer mug. Then you can have both hands available to encourage the icing into the bag.
The mug will hold the bag open as you pour.
Hint number two: never fill a pastry bag more than 2/3 full, and close up the back. Spring clips or twist ties both work.
This step is especially important if you’re going to be working with kids, who tend to squeeze the middle of the bag and have a big mess back up over their hands.
Fun, but messy, and doesn’t help you concentrate on your piping.
Get ready to draw: snip a small triangle off the bottom of the bag (the opening should be about 1/8” across).
Now, trace the outside edge of the cookie, then move up and down to make the ribs of the pumpkin.
This recipe is just right for whole wheat: white whole wheat, in particular, can step into recipes that feature high moisture ingredients like apples and pumpkin. You simply can’t tell that you aren’t eating white flour. So go ahead, make the switch. Just don’t tell the kids until after!
Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.