Cookies: Turning pumpkins into smiles
Published: October 10, 2010
So I was a little over-eager again. I hit the pumpkin panic button when I couldn't find the main ingredient for my favorite October recipe -- pumpkin cookies -- at the commissary.
Pushing my cart disconsolately down one aisle, I ran into a friend who, upon hearing my plight, told me there had been a pumpkin shortage in the States. Apparently there the summer growing season was a bit too wet last year and this year’s was not much better, so canned pumpkin has been at a premium and may continue to be in short supply.
I went home and looked it up, and sure enough, newspapers from USA TODAY to the Washington Post had online stories about the lack of pumpkins. Some say the shortage is over, others are not convinced, and apparently pumpkin shelves in the U.S are coming up empty also.
I read that cans of pumpkin were selling on E-bay in the neighborhood of 50 bucks for four cans. That was in August, but you can still find them on Amazon at about $30 for 12 cans.
Then I found a frightening photo of the marketing manager of Libby’s, showing him with his arms wrapped around the last six cans of pumpkin available from his company. He looked ridiculously happy for someone who was raining on my pumpkin parade -- not to mention running short on his most popular product.
Would I have to resort to drastic measures like starting from scratch -- with real pumpkins -- to make my recipe? I decided that’s exactly what I would do if necessary.
A few days later, I went to the commissary again. The pumpkin shelf was still bare. Although I thought I knew the answer, I decided to ask if they had any.
“Oh, yes, we just got some in,” the girl said. “Wait right here, and I’ll bring you some.”
I bought six. I'm thinking of having my picture taken with them. Mr. Libby's Marketing Manager, eat your heart out!
Somewhere Linus is smiling. I know I am.
There are two ways to make pumpkins into smiles for my family. One way is to carve jack o’lanterns, and the other way is to make these cookies. Maybe it will work for you. Here’s my recipe.
1 C. shortening
1 C. sugar
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream shortening and sugar, add egg and pumpkin. Add dry ingredients and vanilla. Drop by tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees, until cookie springs back when touched lightly in the middle. Let cool before frosting.
3 T. butter
4 T. milk
1/2 C. light brown sugar, packed
1 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter in sauce pan. Add milk and brown sugar. Stir until combined. Boil 2 minutes. Pour into mixing bowl and let it cool but not get completely cold. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
(I use the 29 oz size can of pumpkin, approx. 3 cups, and triple everything else.)