Monday, October 31, 2011

A Halloween Riddle

So, my sister makes these amazing sugar cookies...amazing cookies in general, actually. This past weekend she brought some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to a friend's house. They were delicious! And you know how I love pumpkin... So it got me thinking: could you substitute pumpkin for the butter in your classic chocolate chip recipe, and still get a yummy cookie? I decided to give it a go. Using the classic chocolate chip recipe (the Toll House recipe you'll find on nearly every bag of chocolate chips), I replaced the 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of pumpkin puree. I knew I'd likely have to compensate for what was likely to be a "runny" texture, so started with one egg instead of two. Then I added in the dry ingredients. With the default 2 1/4 cups of flour, the batter still seemed a bit thin. I added one more 1/4 cup of flour, and that seemed to do the trick.

The other substitutions / additions I made are as follows:

  • Replace brown sugar with sucanat (raw, raw sugar with retained molasses content)

  • Replace white sugar with evaporated cane juice (less processing)

  • Replace white flour with whole wheat pastry flour

  • Add 1 t. cinnamon and 1/2 t. ginger
(PS I'm handing these out to grown-ups that come trick-or-treating with their kids, but only those who are friends of mine ;-). I'll let you know what they think!)

The dough wasn't like a typical chocolate chip cookie dough, it was a bit sticky. So the tip I have for you is to use parchment paper on the cookie sheets, or spray with cooking spray before putting the dough on the cookie sheets. The cookies baked at 350 for 12-14 minutes and have a nice cake-y texture. As Gram would say, "the taste is there," and they have passed E's taste test (though he's hardly picky...). So I would say that to answer the Halloween Riddle, "YES you can substitute pumpkin for butter in chocolate chip cookies. But you can't call them proper chocolate chip cookies anymore, they are their own thing."

Enjoy...and happy Halloween!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes 36-48 cookies, depending on how stingy you are with the dough)

1 c. pumpkin puree
3/4 c. sucanat or brown sugar
3/4 c. evaporated cane juice
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
9 oz. chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, or milk chocolate... up to you!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine pumpkin puree, both sugars, egg, and vanilla, and mix on low to medium speed until well blended.

  3. Add baking soda, salt, spices, and flour and mix until combined.

  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix just until incorporated.

  5. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets - depending on how big or small you make them, you should get 36-48 cookies. (Nutrition information is provided based on a 36-cookie batch)

  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes; cookies won't spread out much, but they will rise and get golden brown around the edges. Let cool slightly on the cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack.
Nutrition information (per cookie, 36 cookies per batch): 98 calories, 2 g fat, 20 g carbs, 2 g protein, 1 g fiber, 2 g sodium


  1. This sounds great! I wonder how egg replacer would work in lieu of eggs (for my little allergic one). It may make the batter even runnier. Maybe I'll give it a try for Thanksgiving and report back. Thanks for posting this one! Oh, one question: what's the advantage of the sucanat over the brown sugar? Different texture? Or is it healthier?

  2. Hi there - I can imagine that egg substitute would work just fine, depending on whether you use a liquid or a powder.

    The advantage of using sucanat is that it's not really processed at all, and retains the original flavors of the sugar cane. I like the flavor over brown sugar, but brown sugar will work well, too.

    Let me know how the egg replacer works out!!

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