I don’t really have a “thing.” Some people do: I have a friend whose things are pottery and running, and a friend whose things are hiking and taking care of her one-eyed cat, and a friend whose thing is tending to her surprisingly bountiful pandemic garden. The closest I think I come to having a “thing” is maintaining an internet presence so interested parties can know I’m still alive, occasionally writing, and also baking. This blog post exists where those two activities intersect.
I’ve always been a baker. In college I had a short-lived cooking blog, an extension of my Tumblr, where I examined the possibilities of baking in a shitty on-campus apartment kitchen using an oven that allegedly heated up and had a door that only fell off once in the year I lived there. It felt good to come home from class and bake brownies, or make an elaborate cake for a friend’s birthday. I don’t think I need to over-explain why baking is rhythmically soothing and materially satisfying, a hundred people have already done it. But it is definitely, for me, both of those things.
The pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I bake are one of those recipes for which I started keeping the ingredients on hand at all times, regardless of what time of year it is. I don’t know when they became a “thing.” You can find alternatives to my recipe, or you can try, like the New York Times Cooking section did last week. But their recipe wasn’t quite right — the ratio was off and they add cream cheese for some reason. When you Google “pumpkin chocolate chip cookies,” you get pages and pages of recipes — some of them look like the ones I make, but most don’t. None of the recipes are an exact dupe. There are versions made with oatmeal, or almond flour, or sugar substitutes.
But to my mind, there is only one correct recipe for these cookies. I’ve written about this before, but I feel like it’s important to note the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe is not my recipe. It feels misleading to call the recipe mine, though I doubt anyone thinks I came up with it myself. I will say the recipe does come from Hershey, Pennsylvania.
What I do know about its origins is that I got the recipe from my high school best friend’s mom, Sandra, who is the OG pumpkin cookie baker. Whenever I’d go over to their house in…