Monday, October 18, 2010

Food is not love but these cookies might be, or, pumpkin hermits: a recipe

Pumpkin hermits
In our home, when it comes to the pets, we have a good cop and a bad cop: I'm the bad cop, the rule and order imposer. My husband is the good cop, the one that rolls around on the floor with them and gives them more treats than they should have.

A number of years ago, we had a couple of chubby Shelties that we adored. During one routine visit to the vet, we got into a friendly argument about their weight and eating habits, at the end of which I shouted, in exasperation, "Food is not love!" Much to my chagrin, our vet responded by saying, sheepishly, "Actually, when it comes to dogs, it pretty much is."

And when it comes to baked goods, these pumpkin hermits might make me rethink my stance as well.

We had a lot of cold, rainy weather late last week (our first Nor'easter but, thankfully, no snow -- I'm not quite ready for that yet) AND my new pal Rob the appliance repair guy had fixed my oven for the THIRD time (don't get me started) AND my husband was on his way home from a few days in Canada, so it seemed like the perfect time to bake some cookies that fit the nesting mood and showed some love.

I found a recipe for pumpkin cookies that looked great but, after preheating the oven and getting out the mixer, I realized it called for nearly 3 sticks of butter. No way. I've relaxed my all-low-fat cooking practices in the past year but there are somethings I just can't do -- like jam 3 sticks of butter into 2 dozen cookies.

So I went to my favorite recipe go-to-gal and OF COURSE she had this recipe for pumpkin hermit cookies. (She may start thinking I'm stalking her...)

Although I think it would be more accurate to call them pumpkin hermit cakelettes or something, as they are more like a dense cake than a cookie. Which I like.

They made the house smell amazing and they were wicked with some hot cider.

Old man winter: bring it! I've got cookie love to keep me warm.

Pumpkin Hermits (slightly adapted from

2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots -- whatever you have)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the pumpkin, egg, molasses and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Using slow speed, mix in the dried fruit.

Drop large spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 14-15 minutes, until just set. Cool on sheet for 3 minutes, then finish cooling completely on a wire rack.


  1. I saw this receipe as well! cakkies! sound delish, and will be trying them soon.

  2. These do look very good; but it'd be a whole lot easier if you'd just make some more and send them to me. Now *that's* cookie love! Wicked!

  3. I substituted 4 tbsp apple sauce for the butter and used half the sugar. Still plenty sweet. A very good recipe. You might try a light molasses if your taste doesn't run to the dark side. :-)

    1. Great substitution ideas -- so glad you liked them!