Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are not many places in the world where it is still Thanksgiving, but Hawaii is one of them, so this post is not too late. This was the first Thanksgiving that I did not spend with my parents. We usually have Thanksgiving at either their house or at the house of one of my mother's two siblings. But they all live on the east coast, which is a bit too far to travel for a long weekend.

Instead, I had a lovely Thanksgiving with extended family from my mom's side: my grandparents plus my grandfather's siblings and those offspring of theirs who live on the island. There were just over thirty of us at the party, if my memory serves me correctly. For a "grace" my 10-year-old cousin played a delightfully out-of-tune version of "Simple Gifts" on his violin. Slightly painful, but still cute. We had all the normal Thanksgiving foods: turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie for dessert, but we also had a very nice salmon dish and some sticky fried rice (good old Chinese style), a green salad, a pasta salad (vinaigrette, not mayo thankfully), green beans with almonds, and apple pie. Yum.

I was told that I didn't have to bring anything for the dinner, but to me that just meant that I could bring the cookies that I had been wanting to make. So this afternoon I baked up several dozen pumpkin cookies. I based them off the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling recipe by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito I found while browsing online, but I made a few changes (including doing away with the filling, which would probably be pretty good, too, but I didn't want it). Since I had never made them before, I didn't know how they would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised by the results. And I must admit that they earned some rave reviews at the party. So I figured I would share my recipe (I was going to say this is my blog's first recipe, but I've remembered that technically I had one before...). If you don't like pumpkin, then don't bother reading on. But you'll be missing out.

Eleni's Pumpkin Cookies
These cookies have a sweet crumbly shell on the outside and a soft, chewy, cakey interior with an aromatic pumpkin and spice flavor. One taster described them as a cross between cookie, cake, and pumpkin pie. It's a relatively easy and quick recipe (took me about half an hour to do the mixing by hand, then however much time it takes to drop them on the sheet and bake them). The following makes about 4 dozen (plus or minus depending on size of the cookies).

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 T. ginger
1/2 T. cloves
1 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened [bring it to room temperature... or warmer if your room is cold; this is more important if you are mixing with a spoon (note: large wood spoon works well), rather than an electric mixer]
1 1/2 c. pumpkin
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
~1 c. white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin and mix thoroughly. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until combined. Stir in dry ingredients mixture, mixing until blended completely. [I find it best to pour in maybe a quarter of the mixture at a time, and I'm careful not to stir too vigorously lest the powder go flying out of the bowl]. Chill dough in fridge [I chilled it for about 45 min in the fridge just to make it more manageable in the next step].

Grease cookie sheets. Drop a tablespoon of dough into bowl of white sugar [the 1 c. is just an estimate--just make sure there's sugar in the bowl and pour more in as needed]. Roll dough in sugar, shape into a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat, spacing balls of dough with about 1 inch between. Bake until a toothpick stuck into the middle of a cookie comes out clean, 12-15 min (the original recipe said 10-12 min, but I did it more like 15 min, though my oven's temperature may be off).


I've been very lazy about blogging lately, but I have plans for more posts, including some exciting new Hawaii photos. I'll try to be better, I promise. Happy Thanksgiving!


Sebastian said...

With a phrase like that in bold... you really need to record an audio clip to see if it sounds as good as I think it would...!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Eleni said...

Haha, I think you'd probably just be disappointed by my accent.

Sebastian said...

Isn't it like... a sexy Bostonian?!

Eleni said...

No, it's not Bostonian. I'm not sure how to define it... I think I have a very normal American accent, but then Southerners and Midwesterners may think they have normal American accents, too.

Do you think the Bostonian accent is sexy?