Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My kitchen calls to me at various times during the day. In the morning it wants me to simply check in and marvel that I am working from my home (sometimes in my pajamas) watching the sunlight dance around the house as it peeks through the windows. Breakfast is simple. A minty green smoothie in the spring and summer months. Something warm and steamy in winter. And chocolate, of course.

My kitchen calls me again later in the day when I realize I’ve been sitting at my computer way too long and I haven’t given much thought to lunch or what I’m going to prepare for dinner. That’s my favorite “kitchen calling” because I like to look at all the items I purchased with good intentions. I intended to make the amazing salad I say on Heidi Swanson’s blog or the lemony lentil soup I love so much. But more often than not, I throw all of the ingredients together and create something new.

This weekend I was called to the kitchen for a different reason. I had just returned home from New York City where I witnessed the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy. I felt a wave of survivor guilt as I continued to post “trivial” chocolate posts while mothers were grieving the loss of their children and people were struggling to find shelter. This morning I attempted to write a blog post and couldn’t. What can I possibly say that matters in the wake of this tragedy? Me in my warm and cozy kitchen making pumpkin cookies. I had this strong desire to make cookies today.

Kitchen calling?

Of course. I simply needed to process all that I had seen and heard in the warmth of my kitchen as I recreated the feeling of love and safety I felt in my grandmother’s kitchen so many years ago. But the calling was much deeper than that. I could almost feel my grandmother’s arms wrapped around me speaking her unique blend of Italian-English, “We cook. You and me, we cook now. Everything good.” Like somehow the movement of our hands kneading dough or shaping cookies could make everything better. Even in the midst of a “perfect” storm.

Grandma’s Hands

Standing at a table in her grandmother’s kitchen
eyes barely reaching the aluminum rim
grandma rolling dough into pie crust with
warm hands
slicing apples, sprinkling cinnamon, scattering sugar
she takes the trimmings
and rolls
long slender strands of dough into braids
even at that tender age
she knows
food heals

And what did I make? Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies adapted from Emily’s pumpkin cookies at Jelly Toast whose recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. Yes, food bloggers do a lot of adapting. I wanted to see if I could come up with a gluten-free version. They’re pretty yummy!

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup Super Flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup coconut sugar or raw cane sugar
1 large egg
1-15oz can pumpkin puree
¾ cup of dark chocolate chunks (I used Mast Brothers!)
½ cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture and pumpkin puree, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto two baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets once during baking. Immediately transfer cookies to wire racks, and cool completely.


6 Responses to Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  1. Kathleen Prophet November 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Yes! Yes! the Sacred Altar of the Kitchen, Sue Ann! I so feel it here in this place with you in your kitchen with your grandmother’s presence hovering while she punches dough and rolls cookies. How exquisite to hear your grandmother’s words…

    “We cook. You and me, we cook now. Everything good.”

    Like an angel who KNOWS that all suffering is served through the heart that loves. Offering the jewel of a mantra which now comes to serve you in this moment of world tragedy.

    I am deeply moved by your poem… which draws me even more intimately into your sacred heart of this altar…

    “even at that tender age
    she knows
    food heals”

    and… through THIS wisdom and my work with you, I am healing.

    Thank you so much for bringing your exquisite self into the world where many are healing through it.

  2. Tracey Ceurvels November 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Sue Ann, I, too, get that “kitchen calling.” It calls to me throughout the day as I “work.”
    As always, your posts are full of lots of nuggets—and oh my, those cookies sound like a great treat this time of year.

  3. Denise November 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Sadly, my kitchen doesn’t call me, but when I read about your culinary adventures I can feel the love and comfort the kitchen drums up for you. These cookies sound amazing and are perfect for the season plus I love that they are gluten free.

  4. Kimby November 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Sue Ann, of all the pumpkin-related posts “out there” this time of year, this one is my favorite. Caring and compassion… memories amidst mayhem… sustenance healing your soul. I simply love this.

  5. Erin McNaughton November 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I made these today and they were absolutely incredible–everyone love them! They are so moist and flavorful with the perfect amount of sweetness. I substituted VitaSpelt flour for Super Flour, so that’s another option. Thanks so much for the recipe! It is definitely a new favorite.

  6. rebecca @ altared spaces August 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    “Everything good!” There is a family that is very dear to me that, at one time, asked each other, “Are you all right?” Then they decided the basic premise for that was flawed, so they changed it to “Everything good.” Now they build their life upon that statement. A tasty way to live.

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