Last week, I felt like a cross between Piglet being blown away in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and the autumn version of the Grinch. It was relentlessly gray, with precipitation ranging from a light drizzle to a downpour and brutal wind gusts knocking down expectant leaves just as they started to show a hint of yellow. Since it's getting dark earlier and earlier, I had to shift my evening runs indoors, pounding out mile after mile on my treadmill while staring at a beige window shade.
But on Saturday the sky was finally blue, the kind of clear, redeeming blue you only notice after a long spell of dreariness. Determined to take advantage of the not-as-miserable weather, I trudged over to the library (actual temperature: 42 degrees Fahrenheit; "real feel" with windchill: 30 degrees Fahrenheit), to browse the semi-annual used book sale. I found a slew of Agatha Christie books for my collection, including two I hadn't read before--as a fan since age 13, this is becoming increasingly rare--and a 1963 first edition copy of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book for a mere 50 cents. As I walked home in a happier frame of mind, I reflected on fall's redeeming virtues. I can accessorize with my hand knits: multicolored scarves, cabled wrist warmers, and a raspberry-colored beret that makes me feel like a film noir heroine when I tilt it rakishly off to one side. I relish waking up to a cold house on Saturday mornings just as the furnace kicks on, cocooned under a quilt with Mike and drowsily secure in the knowledge that I don't need to get out of bed until I want to.
And then there's the food: the roasted acorn squashes that become my default weekend lunch, their orange flesh scooped from brittle skins and mixed with a bit of butter and a lot of salt and pepper, and the apples that fill the refrigerator, starting with Zestar and SweeTango in September and Regents by the end of October. But perhaps most importantly, fall marks pumpkin baking season. I started off a few weeks ago with pumpkin mini muffins, and continued with a batch of pumpkin oatmeal cookies for a housewarming potluck.
These are cake-like cookies, more akin in texture to a muffin than a standard chocolate chip cookie, with strong notes of warming cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Unglazed, the oatmeal makes them a bit wholesome tasting, but the maple glaze places the finished cookies decisively in dessert territory. I halved the amount of glaze in the original recipe, since I was transporting the cookies and didn't want them to be too gooey. Mike thinks that more glaze would make a good cookie even better, while I think it would make these tooth-achingly sweet. It's your call--make the recipe as written, and add more glaze if desired.
Adapted from Chow
Yield: 45 cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well-incorporated.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Add half of the pumpkin and mix just until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and pumpkin.
Place 2 tablespoon (1/8 cup) mounds of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops of the cookies are set and the bottoms and edges are just starting to brown. Save parchment paper and place cookies on wire racks to cool.
When cookies are completely cool, set them on the parchment paper as close together as possible.
Combine the powdered sugar, milk, and maple syrup in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Using a fork, drizzle glaze over the cookies. If glaze is too thick to drizzle, add additional milk as needed to achieve desired consistency.
Allow the glaze to completely set, about 20-30 minutes. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.