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The 12 Days of Christmas Baking, Day 4: Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Cookies

Every autumn, as a personal rule, I greedily hoard fresh pumpkins of every size, and I carefully tuck away a few bags of fresh cranberries into my freezer.  I find a guiltless satisfaction knowing I have such beautiful ingredients to add to any recipe on a whim.  And who could blame me?  In these cooler months it is vital to our health to boost our meals with as much extra nutrition as possible, to ward off any threats to our immune system.  I’m not necessarily calling pumpkins a super food by any stretch of the imagination (although I do adore them in all forms), but cranberries definitely possess enough antioxidants and vitamins to speak for themselves.

As these are two of my favorite flavors in the world, I couldn’t help but come up with a recipe which embraces the pleasures of both ingredients harmoniously.  This was, surprisingly, much simpler than I anticipated.  Instead of channeling a traditional pumpkin spice cookie vein, I immediately reflected on a beautiful breakfast cookie that my grandmother used to make when I was a child.  Instead of the simple, charming flavors she used to use, I turned it seasonal and rich with warming spices.

The texture is a cross between a muffin and a cookie in its density.  Since word combining seems to be all the rage with recipe hybrids lately, would we call it a muffie or a coofin?  (Would anyone care for a cronut or a merookie?).  It matters not.  A cookie by any other name would taste as sweet.

Continuing on the antioxidants topic, I shamelessly added dark chocolate, too.  I like a LOT of comforting spices in my recipe.  It’s not adequate unless the aroma fills your home with warm holiday cheer.  Normally one would not expect chocolate and the combination of spices to play nicely together, but this is a pleasant exception.

Tuck in with a plate of these cookies, a cup of your favorite tea and some good morning literature on a cool, quiet morning.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Cookies

1 cup butter (room temperature)

2.5 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cups finely ground oat flour

2 cups chocolate chips

2 cups cranberries (dried or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add eggs, then pumpkin and vanilla.  Sift together all dry ingredients and spices.  Slowly add dry to wet ingredients a few scoops at a time to combine.  (Do not over mix.)  Gently fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries.  Scoop quarter cup portions onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  (I usually do 5 per tray so they don’t run together.)  Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and the centers spring back.  Cool before serving.

In my original recipe I used dried cranberries.  Recently I did not have anything on hand except my cheerful bags of frozen cranberries.  This was a delightful shift in not only the texture, but also taste.  While it truly comes down to personal preference, I happily sacrificed the chewy dried cranberry pieces in exchange for the tart jewels which brightened every bite.  I leave it up to a vote amongst my readers which choice of cranberries you believe is better.

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Look how those gorgeous rubies bleed their sweet juices into the cookie.  Heaven!

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