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Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Cookies

The 12 Days of Christmas Baking, Day 4:

Every autumn, as a personal rule, I greedily hoard fresh pumpkins of every size, and I carefully tuck away a few bags of fresh cranberries into my freezer.  I find a guiltless satisfaction knowing I have such beautiful ingredients to add to any recipe on a whim.  And who could blame me?  In these cooler months it is vital to our health to boost our meals with as much extra nutrition as possible, to ward off any threats to our immune system.  I’m not necessarily calling pumpkins a super food by any stretch of the imagination (although I do adore them in all forms), but cranberries definitely possess enough antioxidants and vitamins to speak for themselves.

As these are two of my favorite flavors in the world, I couldn’t help but come up with a recipe which embraces the pleasures of both ingredients harmoniously.  This was, surprisingly, much simpler than I anticipated.  Instead of channeling a traditional pumpkin spice cookie vein, I immediately reflected on a beautiful breakfast cookie that my grandmother used to make when I was a child.  Instead of the simple, charming flavors she used to use, I turned it seasonal and rich with warming spices.

The texture is a cross between a muffin and a cookie in its density.  Since word combining seems to be all the rage with recipe hybrids lately, would we call it a muffie or a coofin?  (Would anyone care for a cronut or a merookie?).  It matters not.  A cookie by any other name would taste as sweet.

Continuing on the antioxidants topic, I shamelessly added dark chocolate, too.  I like a LOT of comforting spices in my recipe.  It’s not adequate unless the aroma fills your home with warm holiday cheer.  Normally one would not expect chocolate and the combination of spices to play nicely together, but this is a pleasant exception.

Tuck in with a plate of these cookies, a cup of your favorite tea and some good morning literature on a cool, quiet morning.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

Tart cranberries contrast perfectly against a gently sweet, heavily spiced pumpkin cookie and dark chocolate chunks.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate chunk, cookies, cranberry, pumpkin, pumpkin spice
Author: Heather I Scott

Equipment

  • baking sheet with parchment
  • hand mixer

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups oat flour finely ground
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks dark chocolate, soy free
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries dried work just as well, but are less tart

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Cream together butter and sugar until airy. Add eggs, then pumpkin, and vanilla.
  • Sift together all dry ingredients and spices.
  • Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 4 increments until just combined. (Try not to overmix,)
  • Gently fold in the chocolate chunks and cranberries.
  • Scoop 1/4 cup portions onto tray. Gently roll with hands to make cookies slightly rounded.
  • Bake 5 or 6 per tray so they do not run together.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms, and centers spring back from a light touch. Cool before serving.

Notes

If you don't have fresh or frozen cranberries on hand, dried cranberries work just as nicely, but will yield a slightly drier cookie.
I love to make this recipe in bulk and freeze massive bags of cookie dough balls in the freezer to pull out a few at a time whenever we want a treat.  Line up on your baking tray and allow to rest in room temperature for 15 minutes, and then bake normally.  You may or may not need to add a couple more minutes to the baking time, so keep an eye on them.  Frozen cookie dough lasts up to 6 months in your freezer.

In my original recipe I used dried cranberries.  Recently I did not have anything on hand except my cheerful bags of frozen cranberries.  This was a delightful shift in not only the texture, but also taste.  While it truly comes down to personal preference, I happily sacrificed the chewy dried cranberry pieces in exchange for the tart jewels which brightened every bite.  I leave it up to a vote amongst my readers which choice of cranberries you believe is better.

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Look how those gorgeous rubies bleed their sweet juices into the cookie.  Heaven!

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