How to Make Thanksgiving Happy

The phrase “Happy Thanksgiving” is one that is used quite extensively, but how does one actually make the holiday of Thanksgiving joyful? One word represents how I have made this Thanksgiving a truly happy one: cookies.

I noticed that my blog posts lately have been a bit negative, so I thought it would be great to write about my favorite cookie recipe on this holiday, which is from Food Network’s website and originally from George Duran. I do not bake much, although I did take a baking & pastry class in high school last year, so obviously I am an expert (not really). Regardless, I think these cookies are delicious and perfect for Thanksgiving. By the way, I definitely procrastinated making this recipe for a week and then finally made them today, which I think of to be the last day in which “pumpkin spice” recipes are acceptable.

Just to let you all know, since I am one of two people in my family who eats these cookies, I halved the recipe; even then, I will probably still have many left over. Will I be kind and bring my leftover cookies to school on Monday? Stay tuned to find out (update from 11/28: I forgot to bring them to school. Oops.).

So anyways, let us preheat the oven, spray the cookie sheets, and get started!

Part 1:  “Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.”

Beating the butter was fairly simple and uneventful, so here are some pictures of the rest of this part of the process.

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Remember to pack in the brown sugar!
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Beating in the white sugar
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Beating in more sugar
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After beating in the egg
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I know…it looks disgusting right after adding the pumpkin puree

Part 2: “In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.”

No one is perfect.

I will be blunt; I am using this saying as a preamble to when I made my mistake. Measuring the flour went well (I remembered to not pack in the flour–thank you, baking & pastry class), but the baking soda was another story. Immediately after adding the baking soda to my flour, I realized that I used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon to measure the very critical dry ingredient. Yikes. I did not want to waste the flour and baking soda I already used, so I tried to remove what seemed like two teaspoons of baking soda from the mixture, and hoped that my cookies would not turn out terribly. It definitely would have been safer to start over this section of the recipe, but my decision will probably make this blog post seem more thrilling than it would have if I did not take a risk, so it is worth it, right?

Anyways, it was then time to move on to the various spices. The first time I used this recipe a few years ago, I followed the suggestion repeatedly found in the comments on Food Network’s website to double the spices in the recipe. The cookies ended up having the perfect flavor, so I still follow this suggestion. But since I halved the recipe, I used the same amount as the recipe calls for. See, kids, math is useful!

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The dry mixture (before I mixed it all together)

Part 3: “Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips.”

The recipe calls for milk chocolate chips, but I find them to be a bit juvenile, so I usually substitute them for semi-sweet chocolate chunks. The chocolate chunks I used today are from Trader Joes, and I think they are delicious and have the perfect amount of bitterness. The unpredictability of the sizes of the chunks only adds to the wonder of eating the amazing cookies.

Part 4: “Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.”

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Ready for the oven!

The actual baking process kind of terrified me, due to the mysterious amount of baking soda in the batter. I probably looked like a contestant on The Great British Bake Off, as I was constantly checking the oven. Would the cookies be extremely flat, or would they expand, possibly implode, and taste bitter? Keep reading to find out.

Surprisingly, the cookies turned out very well and seemed to have risen an appropriate amount. After about twenty minutes, I finally took the cookies out of the oven and put them onto a wire rack.  I also had a really awkward picture taken of me, because I wanted a picture of me with my new apron on that I received for my birthday (yes, I did ask for an apron for my eighteenth birthday).

The cookies rested for a few minutes, and it then was time to eat! The cookie I ate was divine; it had a wonderful pumpkin spice flavor, the chocolate chunks were indulgent, and overall, it was almost like cake in cookie form, which I adored. I hope the rest of the cookies are just as amazing!

I hope you have enjoyed this “fun” journey through the baking of my favorite cookies. I also hope that all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful day today; if you do not celebrate the holiday, I hope you had a great Thursday!

What are your favorite holiday recipes? Are any of you interested in trying out this recipe and my adaptation of it? Let me know!

-Stephanie

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