Home Harvest Cookies


It’s these cookies I’m always coming back to this time of year. The pumpkin, the spice, the little tea frosting. I started making them back in, oh it had to have been ’89. I was trying to figure out what to do now that the kids were finally all off on their own.

My quilting guild tried to put it in my head that I was good enough to start up a bakery on my own. I’d sometimes whip something up and take it down to Leonard’s showroom. His flooring customers and employees loved them, but who doesn’t enjoy free cookies? I didn’t think they’d be worth selling. Thought I’d be a fool to waste time on anything like that. But I did like baking and my friends loved eating. I started working on my recipes and testing them out on the ladies at our weekly meetings. Then I’d try them out at the counter of Leonard’s store.

I always think a little bit about Leonard when I make these cookies since I was planting my first baking pumpkins the day he left me. Leonard milked his status as local royalty for all he could. Now, he wasn’t right even before he crowned himself. But after? You know those pompous celebrity-types who take offense when you don’t know who they are? That was him. Like everybody in our little corner of the middle of nowhere owed him something just for his gracing them with his presence. He took a lot of perks. Some worse than others.

He disappeared April 30, 1989. I remember that day clear as this one, because I was out in the pumpkin patch, putting out seeds for the next harvest. Leonard kept arguing it was too soon and too dry and I told him he didn’t need to worry himself none about that. We prided ourselves on planting when the planting was right, and we had ways of coercing fertility. We usually grew just the big jack’o lantern type, but this year I wanted to grow pie pumpkins, the good type for eating. They are smaller and darker in color that the carving ones.

I had pulled up weeds and tilled the soil over about half the area, where I was going to plant my seeds, over the last few days. Well it was nighttime, full moon, plenty bright enough to see and I was out there, doing a little blessing ritual I had learned from the quilt guild. Drinking a little wine, saying some words, pouring a little wine on the ground as a sacrifice to encourage fertility.

I guess Leonard had been looking for me, just hollering to raise the devil. Now, his sister’s house was on the other side of the trees, and of course, with her kids still being in school, I didn’t want him waking anyone up. So I got him quieted down real fast and finished my ritual, blessing the soil to make it fertile and all that. Come morning, he was gone. He left me to handle the emotional wreckage of our children headed into college finals, and all the talks with the administrators because of that abandonment.

Listen to me, an old lady just rambling on. You came to this page looking for my famous spiced pumpkin cookies and how I came up with the recipe.

The first pumpkin of the season was plump and lonely, orange as a perfect sunset, sitting right on the spot where I’d blessed the land. Cut that sucker open first chance I got. Took a little effort. You know the way something fresh resists a knife point. Isn’t it a nice feeling when it finally does sink in? Isn’t it a relief?

Anyway, I opened that beautiful little pumpkin up right there in the garden, scooped out the guts with my bare hands and sliced me off a piece of that flesh. I got me a handful of guts and took a little nibble. I ain’t gonna lie. It was sweeter than sin. And that’s how I got the idea for my cookies, I wanted all those sensual exotic flavors, from that chai tea one of the guild girls had made, last time we met. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger and the big secret is a little black pepper. The icing is just made with tea and powdered sugar.

I always think fondly of Leonard when I cut into the first pumpkin and make that first batch of cookies every year. I can’t say it was a happy marriage, especially those last few years, but I’m still grateful. Because of him I had my two lovely kids, my 6 wonderful grandkids who have never wanted for nothing. I had a nice house, that lovely pumpkin patch and once he had departed and I sold off “The Flooring Castle” I had plenty of money to start my own little bakery in the town square, just for something to do, to keep busy, and stay social. Without Leonard we wouldn’t have these cookies.


Home Harvest Cookies

Makes 1½ dozen cookies

Ingredients

– 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
– ½ teaspoon baking soda
– ½ teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger
– ¼ teaspoon cardamom
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– ? teaspoon ground cloves
– ? teaspoon allspice
– ? teaspoon nutmeg (fresh ground is best)
– pinch of black pepper
– ? cup butter – melted
– ½ cup brown sugar
– ¼ cup pure maple syrup
– ¾ cups pumpkin purée
– ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet or line with a silicone baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder & soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
  3. In your stand mixer, or by hand cream the softened butter the sugar and maple syrup. Blend in pumpkin purée and vanilla. Slowly mix flour mixture into butter/sugar mixture, just until combined. Dough should be thick.
  4. Scoop dough by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets leaving an inche or so between each cookie. These don’t spread out much as they bake, so if you want them looking round and perfect use damp fingers to shape the dough.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer to wire racks to let cool completely.
  6. To prepare the glaze: Brew chai tea double to triple strong, you only need a few ounces of tea, but you can drink the rest while you wait for the cookies to come out of the oven. Put some powdered sugar in a bowl and alternate the strong chai and heavy cream until you have a glaze, not too thin, but thin enough to drizzle off a spoon.
  7. Let the cookies cool for at least 20 minutes and then drizzle the glaze over the tops, don’t hold back, you can put on as much glaze as you want, ain’t nobody telling you how much sugar you can have in your life.
  8. If they don’t all get eaten up right way they keep just fine in a plastic baggie or tupperware.

About the Authors

Jessica Ann York

Jessica Ann York is a horror writer whose debut short story is one of the bookends for the anthology Places We Fear to Tread and next story is forthcoming in Vastarien: A Literary Journal. She currently serves as the Content Editor of the official Text Request blog and as an Associate Editor at PseudoPod. Her fiction centers around women who take comfort in using the macabre as a window to understanding their daily anxieties. Through writing and research, she’s come to love the things that used to scare her (like the baby tarantulas, snakes, and rats she’s raised).

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Jamie Grimes

Jamie is a writer, editor, document designer, occasional English professor, and full-time curmudgeon. He holds a MA in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University, where he also wrangles cats and occasionally provides information systems support. He lives with his far superior wife, his indefatigable kid, and the platonic ideal of dog. You can see just how bad he is at social media on Twitter @Jamie_L_Grimes.

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Kitty Sarkozy

Kitty Sarkozy is a speculative fiction writer, actor and robot girlfriend. Kitty is an alumnus of Superstars Writing Seminar , a member of the Apex Writers Group, and the Horror Writer’s Association. Several large cats allow her to live with them in Marietta GA, She enjoys tending the extensive gardens, where she hides the bodies. For a list of her publications, acting credits or to engage her services on your next project go to kittysarkozy.com.

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About the Artist

Kitty Sarkozy

Kitty Sarkozy is a speculative fiction writer, actor and robot girlfriend. Kitty is an alumnus of Superstars Writing Seminar , a member of the Apex Writers Group, and the Horror Writer’s Association. Several large cats allow her to live with them in Marietta GA, She enjoys tending the extensive gardens, where she hides the bodies. For a list of her publications, acting credits or to engage her services on your next project go to kittysarkozy.com.

Find more by Kitty Sarkozy

Elsewhere