Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


It is almost three weeks since the New Years’ “no more sugar” resolutions and that’s about long enough to go without some tasty bakery treats. The after the holidays pantry is always an assortment of odd holday and Christmas dinner leftover ingredients that I don’t want to save for a year and re use. I know canned goods are suposed to last for years but I am just not a fan of making dinner out of a three year old jumbo can of sweet potatoes. I checked out the far reaches of the pantry today and here were three of my favorite ingredients: Trader Joe’s  canned pumpkin, Ghirardelli mini chocolate chips, and Trader Joe’s candied walnuts, After checking out a couple of recipies online, I adapted one to fit what I had.


The result is an amazing cookie – puffy, soft and cake-like. Amazing pumpkin flavor and the candied walnuts give it an interesting crunchy sweet texture. You can always skip the walnuts if you are not nuts about nuts…


2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 can solid-pack pumpkin

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

1 1/2 cups semi sweet mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup candied walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugars, vegetable oil, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix on medium for about 1 minute. Add egg, mixing until just combined.

In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Remove bowl from stand and fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts by hand.

Scoop by 1/8 cup onto prepared cookie sheets and place in oven to bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are firm and light brown in color. Remove from oven and allow to cool on sheets for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or refrigerate.


Mini Pumpkin Custards

mini pumpkin custards

These little treats are a great substitute for pumpkin pie – and with only 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein – you don’t have to save them for a special meal like Thanksgiving.

adapted from Very Best Baking


3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin

1 can (12 ounces) Evaporated Fat Free Milk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and dry ingredients. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour evenly into 6 ounce ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until soft-set (knife inserted into ramekin comes out almost clean). Cool on wire rack for two hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel, if desired. pumpkincustards

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Choc Chip

Today is the first day it seems like fall – maybe because it is the first day in months I can remember it not being at least 90 degrees. Also, it is raining today – yay! (for most of you this might not be such a cause for celebration – but this is our first fall rain and we are in year three of a major drought in northern California) If you notice that your fruits and veggies are a bit pricier – that’s because this is where the majority of vegetables and nuts are grown in the US – and we have had a bone dry summer with several major wildfires. My hubby and I are wondering how all of this draught and smoke are affecting the wine grapes…..but that is a story for another blog post. In the fall I dig out all of my pumpkin recipes and pretty much go pumpkin crazy. I don’t think about the stuff any other time of year – but the first cool day and I start to is the proof:


This was what I brought home from my first trip to Trader Joe’s from last fall. I know….but those of you who are hard core foodies will totally get it. So for the next month or so, I will be sharing my favorite recipes from Pumpkinville. First up are these amazing muffins – low in fat, high in flavor. Grab one out the door in the morning with your cup of coffee, or keep them on hand for pop by guests. Super easy to make, and you can double the recipe if you are expecting a crowd for brunch.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 can solid pack pumpkin (my favorite is Trader Joe’s Organic but you can use any brand)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli..and no, they aren’t paying me to say that. i just love their chocolate!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 inch standard size cupcake tin with baking cups. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in medium bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and 1 1/4 cups sugar. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups , each will be about 3/4 full. Stir together last tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle equally over each muffin. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.


More pumpkin treats to follow….