Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 245-Pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies

Dear Mr. President,

The night of the 2008 election, after my best friend shattered two glasses full of beer toasting too enthusiastically with the man who would, months later, become her boyfriend but before we joined the gleeful crowd of celebrating Seattlites in the 6-mile walk to Capitol hill, we went into a 24-hour QFC. We were there to take pictures with the arugula and to send them to every McCain supporter we knew. While there, Chev found pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies in the bakery section. To me, those cookies have tasted like election night ever since. They're only a seasonal offering at the bakery and these days they don't ever seem to be made properly, so I've developed my own recipe for whenever I need to remember that feeling.

Buying pumpkin outside of fall is an inexplicably difficult thing to do. Strawberries from New Zealand that taste like nothing can be purchased in December and yet canned pumpkin is a "seasonal" item at most grocery stores. Sometimes I really don't get our national food system. Anyway, I managed to find some and so I've been making pumpkin desserts for weeks now. I'm making them tonight, the memories they inspire lifting my spirits and making me miss my best friend more than ever. Also the fact that I can manage to smell cloves and cinnamon means my cold probably isn't going to kill me before it goes away.

I'm baking because I'm worried. Not about dying from a cold (because that would be silly, right?) but about the oil rig explosion, the poll showing that Dino Rossi has a pretty good chance at being the next Washington State junior senator, and the fragile peace talks between Abbas and Netanyahu. I'm worried and so I'm baking. I'm blending spices and chopping up chocolate and making a huge mess with my Kitchen Aid mixer. It's great. I have taken all of my anxiety over things I can't control and I'm making something that will make my writers group tonight a little sweeter. It isn't fixing anything, but sometimes keeping calm is the most I can ask of myself. My kitchen smells like election night tastes. Nothing against QFC, but I think that this version might be even better, actually. I'm not giving up on Patty Murray or on keeping the House or on keeping the White House in 2012. Winning just tastes too good.

Respectfully yours,


Yes we can! Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Adapted from allrecipes.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8-12oz chocolate chips or chopped very dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, ginger and salt; set aside.
In a mixer, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter, maple syrup and sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients and then add chocolate.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


  1. Kelsey,
    I don't know if canned pumpkin sales are different in Washington from sales in Michigan, but usually we can get canned pumpkin year around. However, since the summer of 2009 was so cool, pumpkins didn't grow well and now cans are difficult to find on grocery shelves here, too. Maybe this all will change after the 2010 harvest.

    I knew you'd want to know this.

    Aunt Cassie

  2. Thanks! I hope this is the case. I had a snotty QFC employee tell me that they only ever stocked them in the fall, but my co-op has it year-round, so I think maybe QFC is just not as good. :)