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Every day till Christmas, we're bringing you 12 Days of Baking: 12 all-new baking recipes to lift holiday spirits -- from breakfast pastries to dinner rolls, and all the desserts you can handle.
This week, Merrill introduces her baby Clara to a little something sweet.
Clara hasn't had much in the way of sweets yet. Yes, I put maple syrup in her yogurt, and she's hooked on clementines and pear slices, but until a few weeks ago, she hadn't tasted cake or a cookie or anything you might call "dessert." That is, until her well-meaning 3-year-old cousin offered her a piece of his chocolate chip cookie -- which she inhaled, smearing bittersweet chocolate all over her face in the process.
And what better time to inaugurate her into the world of sweets than during December? Trying to come up with some seasonal treats that wouldn't send her into a sugar-induced tailspin, I thought about the soft, domed pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are a mainstay at pick-your-own apple farms in the Northeast, along with warm apple cider doughnuts and hot cider. I've never actually made the cookies myself but have always wanted to, and I thought Clara would probably like the soft, cakey texture and the earthy flavor of pumpkin, gently spiced. I knew at least she'd like the chocolate chips.
After consulting lots of different recipes (apparently, everyone else has made these and written about them already), I came up with my own version. Hope you like them!
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Photos by James Ransom.