I've got the crunch of leaves stuck in my head. And if there was some way to combine the aromas of cinnamon and damp earth into a cookie without being totally gross...I'd do it.
Dear autumn, I'm stuck on you.
What I'm not stuck on are colds and coughs that keep you up half the night and induce tears at work. Mhm, not so lovely.
When one's sinuses are boycotting oneself...setting up a fussy photoshoot is not an enjoyable task. I was going for simple here. Simple, rustic cookies. Simple, half-assed glaze jobs. Simple, pretty baskets. And simply amazing cookies.
I do love autumn, but honestly, I'm not a huge pumpkin girl. I never really have been. However, Sundays with Joy has already broadened my horizons in many respects, so obviously it's going to get me to bake with pumpkin. Even with a horrendous head cold.
Dedication, y'all. I'm into this group. And guess what? I LOVE these cookies. Worth it all.
Unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard of the phenomenon that is black and white cookies. Honestly, I've never actually had one. I guess they're pretty big in NYC, but I've never been (Ironic, considering the fact that I'm wearing a Big Apple sweatshirt. Thanks to Goodwill for making me look like I actually travel. $4 sweatshirt. No judging, and I totally washed it.).
But anyway, you definitely don't need to go all the way to NYC to get a cookie. At least, not when you can make your own soft, pumpkin-spiced-chocolate-caramel-glazed ones at home. Right, am I right?
I am, and you know it. Go, bake, live.
And don't get sick.
Caramel Pumpkin Black and White Cookies
Yield: about 32 cookies
Ingredients for the cookies:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Scant 1 cup chopped walnuts
Ingredients for the chocolate glaze:
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Ingredients for the caramel glaze:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the cookies, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well incorporated and slightly pale, about 2 minutes. Add the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla and whisk carefully until well blended. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture all at once and fold together with a spatula. When there are just a few dry bits remaining, add the walnuts and fold together completely.
Dollop tablespoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet, keeping about 2 inches apart. With a butter knife or the back of a spoon, spread the batter slightly to create a 2-inch circle (the neater you do this, the more uniform your cookies will come out- I sorta went for the more rustic look myself). Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, until just cooked through- a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie should come out clean. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. While the cookies cool, make your glazes.
To make the chocolate glaze, place a small heatproof bowl over, but not touching, simmering (not boiling) water. Add the chocolate and butter to the bowl. Stir until melted then remove the bowl from the heat. Stir in the salt and corn syrup and set aside.
To make the caramel glaze, in small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and milk. Cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed to cool the mixture slightly. Add in the salt, vanilla, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar on low speed. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more milk or powdered sugar to get the right consistency (I added about 3/4 cup total of powdered sugar, but next time I'd go with a little less to get a glossier finish). Set aside.
When the cookies are completely cool, place the parchment paper from your baking sheets under the cooling racks and flip each cookie over, brushing off any crumbs (this way, the flat bottom of the cookie will become the top). With a butter knife, spread the caramel glaze on one half of a cookie. With a separate butter knife, spread the other side of a cookie with the chocolate glaze. Set the cookie back on the rack, frosted side up, to harden before wrapping.
Cookies are best stored wrapped individually in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. Keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook, caramel icing from these scones