Reduction. A reducing or being reduced. The amount by which anything is reduced. Which leads us to…
1. a) to lessen in any way, as in size, weight, amount, value, price, etc.; diminish b) to put into a simpler or more concentrated form
2. to bring into a certain order; systematize
3. to bring into difficult or wretched circumstances
Alright, so that last definition seems a bit dramatic, but man, what a week! Reduced to tears and still sort of wondering what exactly that was all about, I coped the best way I knew. I reduced some pumpkin and baked some cookies.
Reducing thin liquids to thick syrups is not a foreign concept, but reducing solid pumpkin puree was new to me. According to the recipe’s original authors, the idea to do so was born out of a desire to create a pumpkin cookie with a cookie-like texture rather than the fluffy, cake-like textures typical of so many others. To achieve this, they decided they could either sell their souls or reduce the pumpkin. Again, a bit dramatic.
But, I think they succeeded in the cookie department.
Apparently, the people I shared these with did too because I brought home no leftovers. In the spirit of brutal honesty, I think people just like free cookies, but that is fine too.
I tend to like my pumpkin cookies chock full of things like chocolate chips or white chocolate chips or some nuts or oats here and there, but these plain pumpkin cookies were a good change of pace. The flavor was left up to a quartet of spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove – which hit all the right notes.
Funny how things, when reduced to their simplest forms, are oftentimes the best. That is something I hope to keep in mind the next time I look for complicated reasons and explanations in situations that, even though they did not go as I had hoped, are really quite simple. Enjoy!
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup oat flour or ¼ cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Reduce the pumpkin by placing it in a saucepan over low to medium heat. You do not want the pumpkin to boil, but it will steam. Stir periodically to keep the pumpkin from scorching. When the pumpkin is reduced to ½ cup according to a measuring cup used for liquids, remove it from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, oat flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. If you do not have oat flour, simply make your own by processing the whole rolled oats in a food processor until they are very finely ground.
- Next, add the spices to the flour mixture and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the shortening and sugars together until well combined, then add in the vanilla.
- Slowly add the dry flour and spice mixture into the large bowl with the sugar mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350 degrees until the cookies look firm and are ever-so-slightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.