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! —Merrill Stubbs
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, pumpkin, vanilla, and egg until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined, then stir in the chocolate chips. Do not over-mix.
Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between the cookies. Bake for about 12 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cookies comes out clean. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet on a wire rack for a few minutes, and then remove the cookies with a spatula and finish cooling the directly on the racks.
Repeat with the remainder of the batter, re-using the baking sheets once they're cool enough.