We were in NYC not too long ago and happily spent some time doing nothing in Sweet Melissa’s Patisserie. One of my favorite spots in the city, this laid back bakery and cafe has pastries, ice cream, light meals, and lots of interesting hot drinks (complete with homemade marshmallows.) Melissa’s baking book is one of the treasures of my collection and a book that I think any baker should have on her shelf. Every recipe is reliable, a little unique, and solidly delicious. The directions are always clear and uncomplicated, so you can have confidence that even a beginning baker will find success.
On the search for a new pumpkin dessert that would use up some of the pumpkin I’ve roasted for Thanksgiving pies, I decided to make Sweet Melissa’s Pumpkin Cookie Cakes. I was curious to see molasses in the ingredients list and was afraid that it might overpower my sweet, fresh pumpkin. Having faith in the book paid off, of course, and the cookie cakes turned out to be a lovely balance of flavors. My homespun variation on the recipe was to add some yogurt cheese to the filling.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies, 2 dozen sandwiches
(You’ll want to serve 2 per person.)
6 tbls. homemade yogurt cheese
6 tbls. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
8 tbls. unsalted butter
3/8 c. molasses
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 c. AP
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg, ground
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. milk
- To make yogurt cheese:
Place a large piece of cheesecloth over a bowl and scoop the yogurt into it. Tie or rubber band the ends and hang for about 10-12 hours, letting the whey drip into the bowl. (You will know that it is done when it no longer looks wet.)
- Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the molasses, egg, and pumpkin. Mix until smooth.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add, alternating with milk, to the pumpkin mixture.
- Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, drop carefully onto a baking sheet covered with parchment.
- Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Cool.
- To make the filling:
Be sure that your butter is at room temperature. Beat with confectioners’ sugar. Then, beat in yogurt cheese and vanilla. (If your filling appears lumpy, it is because your butter was not quite right. Fix this by blending it in the food processor just until smooth.)
- Sandwich a small dollop of frosting between two cookies and serve!
- These cookies could certainly be eaten as a breakfast treat.
- They are pretty sticky, once cooled. Be sure to place the bottom of the cookie on the cooling rack. Tops stick. When packaging, add a layer of parchment between cookies or they are likely to stick together.