Pumpkin cookies are usually moist, cakey treats as soft as a whoopie pie half or a muffin top. I was curious to try Williams-Sonoma's Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix, because it's meant for either slice-and-bake or cutout cookies. Would all of that delicious pumpkin pie flavor translate to a thinner, crisper cookie?
Recipes for pumpkin cookies from scratch invariably call for solid pack pumpkin. The moisture from the canned pumpkin results in cookies with a delicate crumb and almost sponge-like consistency. I've tried to make pumpkin biscotti in the past, and the results have never been stellar—they just didn't crisp up enough. In lieu of canned pumpkin, the Williams-Sonoma mix ($12.95) contains dried pumpkin flakes. Could they be the key to cookies that combine a satisfying crunch with bold pumpkin flavor?
Preparing the dough only took about five minutes. I beat together 12 tablespoons of butter and the contents of the mix's "sugar" packet (which contained sugar and the pumpkin flakes). Then I beat in two eggs and the contents of the "mix" packet (flour, dry buttermilk, baking powder, and spices). I divided the dough in half, flattened it into discs, and refrigerated it until firm. Once chilled, the dough rolled out well, with no tearing and minimal sticking. The mix definitely gets points for being easy to work with.
I was also quite impressed with the flavor of these cookies. They tasted first and foremost of nutty, squashy pumpkin, followed by hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The crisp edges gave way to a soft, tender center, and they had a nice, sandy crumb.
These are the kind of cookies made for dunking in a mug hot chocolate, to saturate them ever so slightly before taking a bite. If you are looking for a way to use your pumpkin and leaf-shaped cookie cutters, I would highly recommend this mix.
Lucy Baker is a food writer and the author of The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets. She is currently at work on a second book about homemade food gifts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dachshund.
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