Monday, October 20, 2014

Baking: Pumpkin Choco Cake Cookies

Better than the bakery!

I do not bake sweets very often, not since I had weight loss surgery in 1999 and  learned the fundamental facts of weight management  require a conservative intake of sweets. It seems cruel irony that I am actually a gifted baker, a baker who happens to have a metabolic disorder that leads to weight gain when I don't carefully manage my dietary intake. Sigh.

But now and again I get out the big pottery bowl and wooden stir spoons to make a special treat for the folks at my table. My husband is smitten with the ever-so-popular bakery pumpkin cake cookies. In our area a box of eight cookies goes for $5.99 or .75 cents a cookie. That adds up if you have many cookie monsters dipping into the cookie jar!

After exhaustive, and truly tantilizing research on the World Wide Web, followed by some trial and error, I've managed to duplicate those tasty bakery treats for a fraction of the cost. In addition, I've lowered the fat and downsized the cookie to a more health-appropriate portion. Economically these better-than-the-bakery treats cost just .30/per cookie! What's not to love?

Here's the recipe for my Pumpkin-Choco Cake Cookies! Take it, modify it, make it your own and enjoy a nice soft cookie with some piping hot coffee! Makes 3 dozen cookies.

1 (15.25-ounce) yellow cake mix
1 (15.25-ounce) spice cake mix
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup butter, softened (or light cooking oil such as canola oil)
1 (29-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 package semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in middle position.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the yellow and spice cake mixes (dry) and the pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. In a smaller bowl melt butter, add pumpkin puree and eggs, whisk until blended. Add pumpkin mixture to dry mixture and stir gently until well blended. Do not over-mix. Add semi-sweet chocolate morsels, adjusting amount to taste. (I use 1/2 package). The consistency of the cookie mix will be somewhere between batter and cookie dough, more like muffin batter.

On a parchment lined baking sheet drop cookie dough-batter by the tablespoon 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 to 14 minutes removing when cookies are baked, before bottom is overly browned. Allow to rest on tray 1-2 minutes, then remove cookies to a wire baking rack to cool. If you like place a small dollop of ready-to-use vanilla icing on each cookie and spread thinly as it melts. Serve warm. I'm not sure how long these cookies stay fresh in the cookie jar, at our house they are never around long enough for them to turn stale!  

Cake cookies are a good choice for occasional bakers who don't keep a well-stocked baking pantry (ingredients like flour, sugar, leavening agents, etc.) I'd love to hear how you use mixes as an ingredient to your homemade treats! This recipe could be adapted, quite successfully, to use applesauce in place of the pumpkin puree. I just may have to try it with a jar of my Slow Cooker Caramel Applesauce.

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