I’m a little obsessed with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Ever since that day in law school when I stumbled across a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie in the Briarcliff Whole Foods I’ve craved them. And I don’t mean that random craving you have once in a while. I always wanted those cookies. Always. I used to buy them in bulk during the holidays and freeze them so I could have them year round. I’m not kidding. This naturally leads to the impulse to bake with pumpkin and chocolate chips which, while held in check most of the year, I unleash in the fall.
I’m not sure why it occurred to me to try making a pumpkin meringue cookie, but I sure am glad it did. Because, let’s be honest, meringues are nice and all, but cookies are better. I’ve never had a situation where, when faced with the decision between a meringue and a cookie, I went with the meringue. However, these meringue cookies are almost like a hybrid: they have the lightness and crunchy exterior of a meringue, but the pumpkin keeps the inside moist and chewy, with a texture reminiscent of a traditional cookie. Then you have the flavors of all those spices, brown sugar, pumpkin and chocolate and it’s just a whole happy fall moment.
I made several batches of these guys, experimenting with cooking times and temperatures and here’s what I discovered. While traditional meringues generally dry out in the oven for 2 hours at 200 or 250 degrees, these bad boys really need to be cooked at 300 degrees F. Any lower and instead of everything setting up and holding together, the molasses starts to seep out of the brown sugar and the cookies don’t really set up properly. They just get soft and mushy. So here’s the deal, cook them at 300 degrees F for about 1 hour (1 hour 15 minutes if they can take the extra 15 minutes without browning too much ) and then let them cool and set up. They will be great the night you cook them. The next day they will be weird and sticky. It’s true. Just pretend they don’t exist on day 2. On days 3 to 7 or so, they are wonderful again. It’s weird, but it’s how it is. And it’s worth it, because they are delicious. Happy Fall!
- Half of a Lemon
- 6 Egg Whites from large eggs, room temperature
- ⅛ tsp Cream of Tartar
- ½ C Sugar
- ½ C Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Ginger
- ⅛ tsp Allspice
- ⅛ tsp Nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp Mace
- ⅛ tsp Cloves
- ⅓ C Canned Pumpkin Puree
- 2 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
- Wipe down all your tools with the lemon half, including the bowl of your stand mixer, the whisk attachment and any spatulas you'll be using. The lemon removes any greasy residues that could prevent the egg whites from whipping up properly.
- Put the egg in the bowl of the stand mixer fitter and begin to whisk the egg whites on a low speed. Do this until the whites begin to get a little foamy, then add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high.
- When the whites begin to form soft peaks, begin slowly adding both of the sugars, a bit at a time. Whisk until you almost have stiff peaks and you can no longer feel any sugar if you rub a bit of the meringue between your fingers.
- Add the vanilla extract and spices and continue to whisk until the vanilla and spices are incorporated and stiff peaks form.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add ¼ to ⅓ of the meringue to the pumpkin and stir together to lighten the pumpkin.
- Fold the lightened pumpkin back into the bowl with the rest of the meringue and then fold in the chopped chocolate.
- Using a 1½ Tbsp Scoop (no. 40) or some spoons, portion the meringues out onto the lined baking sheets so that each cookie has about 2 Tbsp of meringue. You can also pipe them, if you like. (You get a 2 tbsp portion of cookies by overfilling the no. 40 scoop.) You can either leave the cookies nicely mounded all cloud-like on your baking sheets, or you can use the back of a spoon or scoop to gently press down in the middle to make them more "cookie-shaped."
- Put the meringues in the oven and let them cook for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. The will have browned slightly and will crisp up after having been out of the oven for a few minutes. Let them cool and then they will be ready to eat in about 1 hour.
A note on stickiness and drying. These cookies are fabulous the night they come out of the oven. You can eat them then, or leave them out to finish cooling and drying out. On 2 day, they can be weird and sticky. On day three the reacquire that fabulous outer shell and inner chewiness and keep it for several days. So plan accordingly.
If you munched your way through the meringues,
you might want to whip up some of these as well:
Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Baked Apples | Peaches Please
Pumpkin Meringue Cookies | Purely Good Eats
Pumpkin Pie Meringue Cookies | She Bakes Here
Frozen Pumpkin Meringue Pie | Crazy for Crust