|Cleo Coyle, crazy for pumpkin|
and author of the
Why? Because although these decadently declicious chocolate cookies have the flavor and texture of fudge brownies, they are lower in fat than a typical cookie. An entire can of pureed pumpkin takes the place of shortening in the recipe, which means it also brings iron, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E to this Halloween party.
Here's how the recipe came about. A few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for Chocolate Hurricane Muffins. (Click here to get the recipe in a PDF format). These quick-and-easy muffins are made by adding mashed bananas (along with a few other ingredients) to a cake mix starter. The bananas add nice flavor while also cutting down on the amount of fat.
|Although I do have a |
pumpkin-colored cat named
(you guessed it) Punkin',
the feline star of this pic is
Mr. Fellows, my in-house editor.
To make these 2-ingredient muffins, you mix one box of chocolate cake mix with one 15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin. That’s it. The recipe sounded odd, but I gave it a try anyway. The muffins were a little heavy for me, and I thought it would work better in smaller bites so I adapted it into today's fudge brownie-like drop cookie.
And there you have it, the origin of today’s healthier Halloween recipe. With thanks to Sue and Weight Watchers for the inspiration: It's a treat that’s not a trick to make (as long as you have a can opener).
1 can (15 ounces) pureed pumpkin (100% pumpkin and not pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or equivalent of chopped chocolate)
Cleo’s Pumpkin Glaze (recipe below)
Step 1 – Make Batter: First pre-heat oven to 350º F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray or grease with oil or butter. (For best results, do not use parchment paper. The cookie batter needs to feel the full heat of the baking pan.) In a mixing bowl, combine entire box of cake mix with canned pumpkin and vanilla. Do not add any additional liquid. Gently stir, working the canned pumpkin into the cake mix until a blended, wet batter forms. (This may take a minute but trust me, it will work.) Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.
Step 2 – Drop and Bake: Drop batter by tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in a well pre-heated 350º F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over-bake. Cookies should be a bit soft and gooey in the center. While warm, they will be very soft on the outside, as well. Allow them to cool on the pan a few minutes and then transfer carefully to a rack to finish cooling. (They will always be somewhat soft because these are gooey fudge brownie cookies, not hard and crunchy cookies.)
Step 3 - Decorate: Finish with a drizzle of Cleo’s Pumpkin Glaze (recipe below).
A NOTE ON STORING: Because pumpkin takes the place of shortening in these cookies, they are best eaten within a day or two. Store in refrigerator.
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (*see note below to make your own)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Food coloring (orange OR red and yellow to make orange)
2 cups powdered sugar
Step 1 - In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and food coloring. Heat slowly, stirring until butter melts. At no time should this mixture simmer or boil.
Step 2 - Add the powdered sugar and stir until it all completely melts into the liquid. Whisk to remove any lumps and blend into a smooth, thick glaze. If the glaze is too thick, whisk in a bit more water.
Step 3 - While the glaze is still warm, use a fork to drizzle it over the cookies. As the glaze cools, it will harden. If the glaze hardens in the pan, simply return the pan to the stovetop and warm the glaze while whisking. If needed, add a bit more water to thin the glaze back to the right consistency for drizzling.
*SPICE NOTE: Pumpkin pie spice is available in most grocery store spice sections. To make your own, simply mix the following ground spices for 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice: ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
"Fun and Gripping" ~ The Huffington Post
"Some of the most vibrant characters I've ever read. Coyle also is a master of misdirection...I challenge any reader to figure out whodunit before Coyle reveals all."
~ Mystery Scene magazine