Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pumpkin Remix (Biscoff Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies)

Have you had Biscoff spread? It recently came to my attention that several of my friends haven't, and that's a shame. I've always been especially fond of peanut butter and its various compatriots like almond butter and Nutella, but Biscoff spread may just be the tastiest of all. As is to be expected, it lacks any redeeming nutritional value, but is as delicious as cookies pureed with canola oil until they achieve the consistency of Jif can be. I've found myself sneaking to the pantry at night, depleting it spoonful by guilty, furtive spoonful.

It's so good
Along with the addictive sweetness and rich, sticky mouth feel, Biscoff is agreeably flavored with cinnamon and hints of caramel. Though it seems perhaps a bit derivative to make cookies using a butter substitute made of cookies, these flavors lend themselves to baking extremely well. I like to feature it in all sorts of desserts, but in honor of autumn, I present pumpkin Biscoff oatmeal cookies - a dessert now so dear to my heart I almost invariably have the ingredients on hand.

Comes in creamy AND chunky!
My passion for pumpkin extends as long as I can recall. As a child, I would hover, covetous and Gollum-like, at the edge of the Thanksgiving buffet table, ever eager for the pumpkin pie. It lends itself to any number of autumnal dishes, pairing beautifully with warm spices like mace, clove, and nutmeg. The shift to October sees so many variations of pumpkin scones, muffins, loaves, lattes, and now even martinis, that some degree of pumpkin ennui seems inevitable, but the addition of the Biscoff spread helps to give these a character all their own.

The not-quite-secret ingredient
With the familiar squishy squashiness (I mean that in a good way) comfortably embraced in toasty Biscoff, these make for especially thick, chewy, damply-centered cookies and offer up a bouquet of flavors nuanced enough to pique any palate. Puffing with pride fresh from the oven, they resolve into craggy discs of orangey gold. Perfect by the fire with a cup of coffee, tucked into lunches, or nibbling at the counter while they're still warm, these should prove to be a quick and easy family favorite. Just for fun, I made these vegan.

Well, I think vegan is fun (just not all the time)
Biscoff pumpkin oatmeal cookies
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

One of a vegan baker's best friends is the "flax egg." Freshly ground and mixed with water, flax seeds form a gel with the same consistency and binding power as eggs. Just grind 1 tbs of flax seeds, whisk with 3 tbs of water, and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 (heaping) c Biscoff spread
1 c turbinado sugar
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1 tbs ground flax seed + 3 tbs water (or 1 egg, for non-vegans)
2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 1/2 c oats

Preheat an oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Whole wheat pastry flour is awesome, but you can use white if you like
Cream the Biscoff spread and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in the pumpkin. Add the flax gel and vanilla, then beat until smooth.

Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Fold in the oats.

Trust me, I'm a professional
Scoop up rounded tablespoons of batter and roll gently between your hands to form spheres. Place these roughly 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.

Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Makes 12 large cookies.


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