Happy Thanksgiving Week! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love fall cooking and baking and for me, Thanksgiving is like the Olympics. It’s the one day of the year where it is completely reasonable and normal to over extend yourself, planning a feast full of intricate and time consuming dishes and I am just giddy over it. For the last 4 years, I have hosted our Thanksgiving dinner and I rarely make the same dishes twice. This year is different though, and we will be traveling for Thanksgiving, spending it with friends in Colorado. Sometimes, we need time consuming desserts. They are warm and cozy and an opportunity to make something a little bit special for those that you love. Other times, like when you are a Thanksgiving traveler, you need something a little quicker and easier to bring to the big dinner. In walks these harvest cookies.
A pumpkin oatmeal cookie, filled with toasted nuts and seeds and studded with chocolate chips, they are the perfect mix of autumn and ease and can be made way in advance (which is one of the biggest pros for a Thanksgiving dish). I chose a blend of pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, but you can use any nut/seed combination that you prefer. After mixing up the dough, I like to scoop them onto cookie sheets and freeze them. Then I transfer my cookie balls to a freezer bag and have fresh baked cookies in 15 minutes, any time I want. (Just add a couple extra minutes to your baking time if you are baking from frozen). The best part of these cookies is that with all their oats and seeds, you can also enjoy them Friday morning for breakfast, so consider double-batching it. If you’re still looking for one more, low maintenance, crowd-pleasing dessert to add to your Thanksgiving dinner table, you can put an end to your search and spend the rest of your week worrying about brining a turkey.
Recipe: Harvest Cookies
Yield: 18 large cookies
1 cup (230 g) butter, softened
3/4 cup (170 g) brown sugar
1/4 cup (80 g) maple syrup
1/4 cup (54 g) sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup (266 g) canned pumpkin
1 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup (200 g) all purpose flour
3 cups oats, toasted*
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup nuts (I used walnuts, pepitas, and sunflower seeds), toasted and chopped
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and the pumpkin and mixed until combined.
Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add oats and nuts and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Using a large cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop), place balls of cookie dough 2” apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until browning and dry to the touch. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
*Notes: Let’s talk about toasting oats. You don’t have to do it, but I recommend it. Like toasting nuts, toasting your oats helps to bring out a little more flavor and it adds a depth to your final baked good. To toast your oats, spread them out on a baking sheet and put them in a 375 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. They won’t really change color, but you should be able to smell the toasty aroma. Let them cool before using. After you finish toasting your oats, spread your nuts on the same pan and tuck them in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, keeping a careful eye not to burn them.