Happy Friday, dear reader. Continuing with September's pumpkin-themed recipes, I would like to share my recipe for Pumpkin Cookies. I love a good spiced cookie. Two of my favorite cookies are pumpkin cookies with raisins and applesauce cookies with raisins. Don't be judgy; I know many have harsh opinions of raisins. The poor little wrinkled wonders of sweetness get a bad rap. However, this recipe is adaptable. One can add raisins, chocolate chips, nuts or leave them plain. Personally, I like them with raisins or chocolate chips. If left plain, they can be topped with cream cheese icing. However, I never ice mine or leave them plain, for that matter.
Pumpkin cookies were always on my family's holiday cookie trays. Both of my grandmothers, my mom, and my aunts always made pumpkin cookies for the holidays. I was one of the few who liked them with raisins. Some years, if time and thought were given, two batches of pumpkin cookies were made. One with chocolate chips and one with raisins. When this happened, inevitably, a raisin hater would mistakenly pick up a pumpkin cookie, thinking it was made with chocolate chips. Once discovered it was raisins, much gagging, and drama ensued.
My dad's side of the family always made pumpkin cookies with either chocolate chips or raisins. Nuts and icing were never included in their cookies. I preferred this approach to pumpkin cookies. My Grandma Tillie and my Aunt Linda always made a batch with raisins, so even if my mom didn't have time to make both, I got to enjoy them on Christmas day. My dad had six brothers and one sister. We always went to my Grandma Tillie's house on Christmas Day for dinner. It was quite a house full with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins. That was when Grandma Tillie was the happiest. When we arrived, my grandma always laughed and said, "The party can start! Ron is here." Those were good days.
My mom's side of the family always seemed to prefer iced pumpkin cookies; at least, that's how I remember it. I seem to remember icing and nuts in the pumpkin cookies at my aunt's house. I am not a fan of nuts, so I considered this an insult to pumpkin cookies everywhere. However, an excellent nutless spiced cookie with cream cheese frosting is a delicious treat and an acceptable variation. My mom's oldest sister always hosted the family gatherings. These were not quite as enjoyable for me. My aunt, from the time I was a small child, did not try to hide her absolute disdain for me. For reasons I don't understand to this day, my very existence seemed to irritate her. I felt like I needed to make myself small and disappear because invariably, I would do something that invoked an unkind comment at best or an angry outburst at worst. Ah, good times. Regardless, a variation of pumpkin cookies was always part of the holiday gatherings.
These days, there are no large family gatherings during the holidays. Once the grandmothers passed away, those went by the wayside. I'm lucky if I see my cousins once or twice a year—some cousins I haven't seen in years, perhaps even a decade. Family members have passed away, scattered across the country, or relationships have dissolved. It makes me sad that The Bean will never experience holidays with a large family. She doesn't even have any cousins her age. Our family gatherings now include us and The GB (GramBarb, all one word said fast). We have a good thing going with GramBarb. She comes over for Thanksgiving or hosts us. She spends the night with us on Christmas Eve and hangs out with us all day on Christmas Day. It's small, but it's fun. We enjoy our time with her, and I think she enjoys her time with us. She definitely enjoys her time with Jordan. There is always a cookie tray and a card game. On that cookie tray is always pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips. We don't make them with raisins because I am the only one who eats them, which is no longer part of my diet. Sigh.
Without further ado, my family's versatile pumpkin cookie recipe.
Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies
1 Cup Crisco
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Raisins, Chocolate Chips, or Nuts (Optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease and flour baking sheets
In a large bowl, beat Crisco and sugar together until they are well combined, and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Beat in canned pumpkin, egg, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla until mixed together.
Sift together baking soda, baking powder, and flour in a separate bowl.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until the dough comes together and is well combined.
If adding raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts, add now.
Use a small cookie scoop or spoon to drop dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until they are golden and set.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
On this gorgeous, sunny day, stay safe, be smart, enjoy delicious, simple food, and keep washing your hands.