Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Shortbreads

Sometimes I think I'm getting slower and slower off the draw. I mean, really, it's not exactly "pumpkin" season anymore (although I guess that depends on who you talk to...) and yet I had the scent of baking squash with hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves wafting through my kitchen. And cranberries too! But I think this is what happens when, like me, you have way too much time on your hands (though I did finally write and post a new NEW-trition article), a fully stocked baker's pantry, an internet connection and the sudden realization that after all that careful planning during the holidays you left one person off your list. Oh well - what better excuse to get back into the kitchen and make some melt-in-your-mouth, rather unusual, shortbread cookies?

These are to my mom's classics like the Trans Siberian Orchestra is to Beethoven - same spirit, different twist. These are tender, sugary and not overly good for you, but rather than the taste of butter being in the forefront the spices and pumpkin shine through. The original recipe came from the blog Adventures in Shaw, and after reading through the comments and perusing the recipe, I came up with my own modified version that suited me just fine! If you don't opt for the mix ins like I used, the dough can be rolled into a log and partially frozen for slice-n-bake cookies. Otherwise, I found scooping about 1 ½ tbsp sized balls, flattening them slightly and baking them that way to work best.

Pumpkin Shortbreads
Makes 32
½ cup shortening
½ cup vegan margarine (I used Becel)
½ cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 cups oat flour
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup dried cranberries, raisins, dates or mini chocolate chips (optional, I used Craisins)
  1. Beat the shortening and margarine until creamy.
  2. Sift in the icing sugar, and add vanilla and maple syrup. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Add the flour, spice and salt and beat in.
  4. Beat in pumpkin  until a very sticky dough is formed.
  5. Fold in the cranberries.
  6. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F and line sheets with parchment or silicone.
  8. For slice-n-bakes: with lightly floured hands and counter, roll the chilled dough into a thick log. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze 2 hours. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice into ¼”- thick discs.
  9. For hand-formed (recommended for cookies with additions): scoop 1 ½-tbsp sized balls of dough and flatten between your palms to ¼” thick.
  10. For both: bake 18-20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on the sheets before carefully removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 92.5
Total Fat: 6.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 44.5 mg
Total Carbs: 8.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 0.8 g

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