October 27, 2008
Until recently, the most Halloweenish things to happen to me this fall had been (1) a Sunday afternoon with a pumpkin that ended in gobs of roasty orange puree and quite a few baked goods and (2) an unfortunate walk home from the market after dark involving a jet black cat prancing across the sidewalk directly in front of us. Beyond that, I couldn’t get all that into the spirit. We had no costumes, no parties and, in our fourth floor condo, we’d surely have no trick-or-treaters.
But, then I got an e-mail from a few food blogging friends. They were planning a mini-Halloween event and wanted to know if I wanted in. Ever since, I’ve been dreaming up the perfect Halloween treat to bake (in the end, I settled on these iced pumpkin-walnut cookies, drizzled with cream cheese icing) and the Halloween spirit has taken hold.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
We now have a party on Friday (thank you, Brynn) and costumes planned (sadly, my brilliant idea to dress in black and white and red (all over) and tell people we were dressed as “The Punchline” was deemed “too high concept”). My office has even gotten in the spirit: Friday has been declared a Jeans Day (a Very Big Deal, in the halls of a law firm) and I have added myself to a list of associates who have agreed to offer treats in their offices on Friday afternoon for trick-or-treating lawyers.
But, best of all, we get to do some virtual trick-or-treating right now! You see: you’ve visited my blog (we’ll call it knocking on my door, shall we?), collected a treat (these cookies) and now it’s time to scamper on down the block to these lovely ladies’ blogs (click on the photos to take you there), where you’ll fill your goodie bag with even more treats:
Before you leave, though, let me tell you about these cookies, because they’re really lovely. First, they’re lightly (and naturally) orange—the color of the hour—and drizzled with a zig-zag of cream cheese icing. They’re also crisp on the outside, with a nice, chewy interior that’s studded with chopped toasted walnuts. Finally, they are gently sweet and intensely warm, thanks to the very generous dose of fall’s favorite spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and cloves. Really, I wish I could actually give you a little bag full of the cookies, but the recipe will have to do for now.
Iced Pumpkin-Walnut Cookies
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
- For the cookies:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts For the glaze:
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tsp. milk, plus more as needed
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
To make the cookies, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium-low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the brown and granulated sugars, increase the speed to medium and beat until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the pumpkin mixture in two additions, beating well after each addition and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the walnuts.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared pan, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the pan, then transfer them to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.
To make the glaze, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and the 2 1/2 tsp. milk and beat until smooth, adding more milk as needed. The glaze should be thick but pourable.
Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cookies. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Makes 36 cookies.