It’s always nice in December to snuggle on the couch with loved ones and a warm blanket, watching a holiday classic. Many people love to listen to Christmas music exalting the “most wonderful time of the year,” and turn it up on their radios starting the day after Halloween. Some read romance novels taking place around the holidays. But has anyone ever thought about how long all these things took to conceive, produce and publish? It can take years to write a book, and centuries to get it published. Composing and polishing a melody to perfection, recording it, filming a video, and getting sleek album covers for it to stock it on store shelves is no small feat. And movies, from screenwriting to auditioning to filming to editing, not to mention raising all the money to pay for all that work, can take an eternity to create.
So it’s obvious that most of the time these people put into creating holiday media for the rest of us to enjoy, is spent when it’s nowhere close to the holidays. Some poor actor has to run around in a Santa costume in the middle of July. Some tormented singer is surrounded by the ambiance of jingling sleigh bells for months after the holiday is over. I’m sure the people who are involved in these professions, to avoid losing their minds, must learn to appreciate the positive elements of being artificially trapped in the holiday season – after all, how bad can a life filled with untimely tinsel and hot cocoa really be?
There are certainly some holiday flavors that I see no reason to avoid during the rest of the year. Pumpkin is high on that list. I don’t care that it’s June and time for popsicles; I still faithfully buy pumpkin butter to add some fall-style flair to my morning oatmeal. And now I’ve taken my unseasonal flavor affair even farther with these pumpkin oatmeal cookies! Soft and chewy, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of ginger, studded with chocolate chips and milk chocolate covered raisins for double chocolatey flair, and emblazoned with pistachios and jumbo raisins for extra texture as well as fiber, these little treats would be perfect for the holidays. I can imagine these would be a popular treat at a winter get-together, maybe served with some tea or hot chocolate.
But… it’s not December now. Is it still permissible to make a pumpkin-flavored treat? Or is that against baking rules? I say forget the rules; these cookies are not to be missed. And you really don’t want to wait until winter to try them. With lovely invigorating spices and subtle pumpkin flavor, these little delights are sure to please, even for those who don’t like pumpkin since the pumpkin flavor is present, but not overpowering. And don’t worry about these cookies making you look like Santa – one small cookie is only 70 calories, low in fat and a good source of vitamin A and fiber. So not only are they heartwarming, they’re also healthy! (P.S.: You can make them even healthier by using whole wheat pastry flour; I used all purpose because I shamefully didn’t have any whole wheat pastry in the house at the time.)
Whatever time of year you make these, I wish you bon appetit! (And happy holidays if applicable.)
Soft Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
based on recipe from Food Network
Makes 23 small cookies
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I’m sure whole wheat pastry would work just as well)
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- generous dash each cinnamon and nutmeg
- pinch ginger
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbs pumpkin butter
- 1 tbs agave syrup
- 1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
- 1/2 egg (I used 1 tbs + 1 tsp Lucerne brand egg substitute)
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 3 tbs Sunmaid brand jumbo raisins
- 2 tbs Nice! brand milk chocolate covered raisins
- 32 semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli brand as usual)
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mix.
In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin butter, Truvia, and 1/2 egg (or egg substitute). Use an electric mixer to blend until smooth.
Pour this mixture into the dry mixture. Add 1 tbs agave. Mix to coat. Dough will be sticky and very thick.
Stir in the pistachios, jumbo raisins, chocolate covered raisins, and chocolate chips.
Drop dough in little balls onto prepared cookie sheet. Flatten each ball slightly.
Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 9 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake; you want them to stay chewy and soft.
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