Where have pumpkin chocolate cookies been all my life? When Ed Denburg emailed asking for a recipe for them, I had never imagined such a thing, and I figured if no one sent a recipe (hah!) I would use a pumpkin butterscotch cookie recipe I had and substitute chocolate for butterscotch chips.
Collecting a recipe was no problem. I ran into Millie Cannon at a talk I gave at University of Maine’s Page Home and Farm Museum, and she asked if I had dozens of recipes yet. By then
I had heard from about five folks via email, including Millie, but she promised that I’d hear from lots more, and by golly, when I arrived back at home that day, the mailbox had another five or six recipes in it. More arrived in the days following. I am now the proud owner of about 15 recipes.
Interestingly enough, about half were identical, either calling for “one can” of pumpkin or “one cup” or half a can. The big variable was how many chocolate chips to add. Some have a mere one cup and some say one bag or twelve ounces, and others call for two cups. It looks like you can adjust the amount to taste.
As so often happens, several told me about how the cookie fits into their lives.
For instance, Millie’s future daughter-in-law is a vegan so Millie has tweaked her recipe to accommodate egg and milk substitutes and uses Ghiardelli vegan chocolate chips. Kerry Zimmerman sent a recipe from the 1972 Holden Congregational Church Ladies Home Circle Holiday Cookbook. Carol Buchannan picked up her recipe 50 years ago when she worked with Edie Severance at Eastern Maine General Hospital. She says of Edie’s recipe, “I adored it because it was easy, and more importantly, made about 60 cookies.”
Iris Brown in Baileyville says she has used her recipe since 1974 and they are her husband’s favorite. She and her granddaughter Abigail make them together, though Abigail can make them for herself now. Martha Wolford in Lincoln sent her daughter Kathy’s recipe and reports that since she and her husband are not chocolate fans, she will leave the chips out of half the batch in order to make plain pumpkin cookies and then bakes the rest with chips in it for others to eat.
Happy Bradford in Belfast picked up her recipe in 1980 from the mom of a student in her nursery school and has made them every year since. Judith Robichaud in Dexter sent the recipe she has used for years and as a bonus included one for pumpkin whoopie pies. Marilyn Stockson in Bangor came through with a one-and-a-half-cup compromise on the chocolate chip quantity.
Pam Clark found a recipe in a Bakewell Cream cookbook adapted to using baking soda and Bakewell’s cream of tartar in place of baking powder.
Lucille Bouchard in Fort Kent suggested using golden raisins in the place of chocolate chips as a variation. Greta Choquet in Bangor uses pecans instead of walnuts which several recipes called for and which are an optional ingredient in any event.
In Hampden, Patsy Husson had by chance made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies the day before the query appeared and she sent the recipe and a picture of her movie night pals sitting around a plateful of them which they ate as their refreshment. Linda Hanson in Brooklin shared her recipe.
Phillip Smith from Bar Harbor sent a recipe for Lindsay Wilson for pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and they sound very good. I regard them as a different species of the genus chocolate chip cookie so will not present them here this time. I will definitely try them. Stay tuned.
When I used the full can of pumpkin plus four cups of flour recipe, I was delighted at producing about 70 cookies about 2-to-2½-inches in diameter. I used a 12-ounce bag of chips, and I thought that put plenty of chips in each cookie. You can use cinnamon as your only spice or do as Millie Cannon and I do and add nutmeg, too.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes five to six dozen small cookies
1 can of pumpkin
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
12 ounces chocolate chip
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets lightly. Stir together the pumpkin, milk and baking soda. Add eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla and mix very well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spice and add to the pumpkin mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by large teaspoonfuls on the cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies do not spread very much. Cool before storing.
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