With Halloween in the air the Saratoga Farmers’ Market is full of pumpkins of all sizes. Buy large ones for Jack-O-Lanterns and the small sugar or “pie” pumpkins for baking. The small pumpkins have a finer texture and they’re sweeter. Steaming is the best and quickest way to prepare pumpkin for pies or for baking in the recipe below.
To prepare the pumpkin for steaming cut off the top and the bottom so you have a flat surface. Then cut off the skin from top to bottom working around the pumpkin. Next cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Cut into 2 inch chunks, place in a steamer basket and steam for 15-20 minutes or until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork. Puree the chunks in a blender or food processor, or put through a food mill. One and one-half cups pumpkin puree is required for most pie recipes and is equivalent to a 12 ounce can. Two small “pie” pumpkins will yield about 3 ½ cups pumpkin puree. Extra pumpkin puree can be frozen for future use.
Pumpkin is so high in beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, that one small cookie provides 25% of the Daily Value.
This makes a soft, cake-like cookie.
½ cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pureed cooked pumpkin*
2 ¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh cranberries
Grated peel from one orange
½ cup chopped walnuts
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg and pumpkin. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Beat flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Stir cranberries into mixture along with orange peel, and nuts. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto greased cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Nutrition per cookie: 80 calories, 3.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 1g protein, 25% DV vitamin A.