by Nate Rafn
What would the holiday season be without the mouth-watering tradition of reviving old family recipes? (Not much fun at all, I would imagine!)
Family recipes are an important part of the holiday experience. It gives children and adults alike an opportunity to engage and create something memorable. It is this custom that preserves family connections, and keeps us in touch with fond recollections of years past.
Of course, every family is different. Visit the homes of friends and neighbors during the holidays, and you're likely to find baked goods derived from their respective ancestries.
My family enjoys a few holiday treats that have been selected for their taste and relevance to Danish or American culture. At the top of the list are homemade eggnog, Danish julekage, and Grandma's unusual, but tasty, pumpkin cookies.
My grandmother, Louise Rafn, was the first in my family to make pumpkin cookies. She originally found the recipe in a Church of Latter Day Saints Relief Society magazine. She liked the recipe so much, that she submitted it to the Salem 4th Ward Relief Society cookbook in 1979. It has been a popular treat in my household, and others in the Salem area Mormon community, ever since.
The recipe features two ingredients that are not often used in conjunction- pumpkin and chocolate.
While the two are not very good together as a couple, they relate just fine as long as you invite mutual friends to the party.
For example, pumpkins are often paired with dairy products and warming spices, like cloves and ginger. Likewise, chocolate and dairy make wonderful mates. In addition, chocolate also combines deliciously with spices like cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cardamom. These spices highlight chocolate's depth of flavor, and its bitter-sweet, aromatic qualities.
The formula listed below, produces a cookie that is subtly sweet, soft, and somewhat bread-like. Most of the moisture comes from the pumpkin puree. So be careful not to over-mix the dough.
Best Pumpkin Cookies - makes 25 cookies
0.5 cup butter, softened
1.5 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
0.5 cup nuts (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips
2.5 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
0.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or prepared fresh)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Stir the butter to soften. Gradually add sugar and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and mix well. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin. Beat after each addition until smooth. Fold in raisins and nuts (optional), and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons on two greased cookie sheets. Bake each batch at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy these cookies with a mug of eggnog!
Note: These cookies freeze very well.
by Nate Rafn Goats are fascinating animals. They have a varied diet, which includes plants that other livestock refuse to eat. Goats wi...
by Nate Rafn Living in Oregon, we know that fresh berries act as seasonal indicators. Their availability and level of ripeness tell us ...
by Nate Rafn A group of Salem-area residents is forming a local chapter of The Weston A. Price Foundation. They are hosting a meeting on ...
Noah Grobart and Ben Stern specialize in local meats at Pastaworks. by Nate Rafn The Pastaworks butcher shop on Hawthorne Boulevard i...
by Nate Rafn Oregon is home to a wide array of edible mushrooms, both wild and cultivated. Wild mushrooms are often served at fine resta...
by Nate Rafn In May 2010, we reported on Allied Waste's food-waste composting pilot program in Salem. At that time, a handful of bus...
Buying clubs are an effective way for ranchers to sell meat products directly to customers who don't live near the farm. Customers ...
Growers throughout Oregon are getting ready for the 2012 farmers' market season! Farmers' markets are perfect for consumers who...