Pumpkin Ricotta Cookies with Carrot Icing
I didn't feel like using pandan this time, so I flavored the cookies with pumpkin and smothered them in carrot icing. The cookies are moist and chewy and have an earthy sweetness that is perfect for the Thanksgiving season.
Yields: 5 dozen3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1-½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups powdered sugar
2-1/4 cups ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons pumpkin purée (see tips)
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 clove, finely ground
½ cup fresh carrot juice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
5 tablespoons orange-colored decoration sugar
Making pumpkin cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
For the pumpkin spice mix: In a bowl, combine the cinnamon powder, ground ginger, nutmeg and clove. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with 1-½ cups of powdered sugar using a handheld mixer for about 5 minutes. You'll get a pale yellow foam and the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. Add the ricotta cheese. Stir well.
In a bowl, combine the flours, pumpkin spice mix, salt and baking powder. Sift all the dry ingredients.
Cream the butter with 1-½ cups of sugar (whisk using a standmixer to get as much air as possible in the butter). Add the egg mixture and the dry ingredients. Add the pumpkin purée. It will give a distinct amber color to the dough. Mix well.
Place a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spoon the cookie dough about 2 tablespoons at a time onto the prepared baking sheet (or use a cookie scoop). Make sure to space the cookies about 2 inches apart so they don't touch each other as they expand while baking.
Bake the cookies for 20 minutes. Don't over bake them; you want them to be moist and chewy. Remove from the oven.
Layer a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet (for easy clean-up of the carrot icing). Transfer the cookies onto the cooling rack.
For the carrot icing:
In a bowl, dissolve the carrot juice in the remaining powdered sugar. Add the ground ginger.
Drizzle each cookie with 3/4 teaspoon of carrot icing and sprinkle with orange-colored decoration sugar.
Let the carrot icing harden completely for at least 2 hours.
I made pumpkin purée from scratch. The color of the purée isn't as bright as the canned version; it has a natural amber color. Making it is much easier that it seems. Just cut a small pumpkin in half, vertically. Remove the seeds and the strings in the center. Place the 2 halves, flesh side down, on a greased baking sheet and roast them at 425°F for about 1 hour and 10 minutes (depending on the size of the pumpkin, until soften). Let the pumpkin cool completely. Scoop and gather the flesh. In a large colander, place the pumpkin flesh in a cheese cloth. Wrap the pumpkin flesh in the cloth by making a knot at the top and suspend it over the colander using chopsticks. The colander is not essential but is quite convenient in case the knot breaks, so you can gather the pumpkin flesh again in the cheese cloth without starting over. Place a larger bowl underneath the colander to collect the excess liquid. Let it sit for a couple of hours. Drain as much liquid as possible. Transfer the pumpkin flesh to a food processor, add a pinch of salt and pulse until smooth. It's ready to use!
Sifting dry ingredients helps get rid of nasty lumps of flour and aerates the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all your baking so you get a moist result.
To guarantee quality baked goods, use the best butter you can find.
You can also freeze the tray of the unbaked cookies for at least one hour, then transfer the cookie dough balls into bags that you vacuum-seal and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. You can store them up to 2 months in the freezer for last minute surprise guests.
Published By: on November 9, 2009.