Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Seriously addictive Sweet Potato Cranberry Pecan Cookies

So, I have been thinking a lot lately about the future...mainly because I am full steam ahead planning for it now that I am engaged.  With my fiancĂ© coming back from Scotland in little over a month we have started planning...planning the wedding, finding a new apartment, planning the next year, the next 5 years, 10 years, etc.  I think this kind of just comes with being in your 20's.  20-somethings, me included, are trying to truly define ourselves for the future.  What are our dreams and aspirations?  What do we want to do in 5 years or even 10 years and how is what we are doing right now, this very second going to get us there.  Admission I still love some CW TV, only a few shows, but admittedly I still watch 90210...and last nights' episode was all about this.  About trying to figure out what you want to do in life and not just sitting around and waiting for life to happen.  I mean I can totally get behind this.  

I don't write this to scare anyone off...I mean come on this is a baking blog.  I write, or well type this more as a way to encourage you to find that thing that you love.  Whether it is biking, cooking, crafting, taking pictures, whatever it is we kind of all need something in our lives that makes us just a little happy...even if only for an hour or so.  For me it is baking.  It is that thing that gets me out of bed early on a Saturday, when I could be sleeping in, so that I can catch the morning light that comes into my kitchen.  

(From Old Town Alexandria to Capitol Hill last Sunday was time for a long run.)

Running and clearing my head even when I am dreading the first mile out of 20 is another one the things I enjoy...not that I plan on making a future of it.  So, (and this is my favorite question to ask someone coming out of college in a job interview.) what is your dream job? It's that question adults ask little kids...what do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to baker, like a legitimate, people other than my friends eat my baked goods, baker.  But for the mean I will just keep doing my thing here.  Like making these cookies, which turned out better than I thought.  Some how all of the flavors came together in a chewy cakey cookie with the right amount of crunch from the pecans that were slightly addictive. As in I would eat about 3 a day and had to take them to the office to get them out of my house.  These are jam packed with flavor like a good carrot cake, but with sweet potatoes instead and I will definitely be making these again!  Enjoy!

Laying it all all...checkout the bottom right - clockwise from 1 to 11: nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and ginger with salt in the middle.

Toasted pecans ready for chopping.

Earth Balance meet sugars.

Time for the eggs and vanilla extract.

In goes the mashed sweet potato.  Hmm these would totally work with squash too.

Wet and dry ready to meet.  Then time for the...

pecans and...

cranberries with orange zest.

Stir and then into the oven.

Sweet Potato Cranberry Pecan Cookies
*makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen cookies
1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread, softened (or 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup cranberries
1 teaspoon orange zest

1.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.  Set aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, using the back of a fork or a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until completely combined and smooth.

3.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, along with the vanilla extract, until thoroughly combined.  Next, whisk in the mashed sweet potatoes.  Set aside.

4.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger).  

5.  In two additions, whisk the dry ingredients into the wet, just until combined.  Then fold in the pecans, cranberries and orange zest just until incorporated.

6.  Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop dough out onto prepared cookies sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 24-26 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle (aka no longer gooey).  Let cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes then move to cooling rack.  Serve and enjoy! 

(Note: These store fairly well for a couple of days in an airtight container.)

Here are the health facts per serving: (1 cookie = serving)
78 calories per serving
Total Fat 2.9g
    Saturated Fat 0.7g
    Trans fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 9mg
Sodium 84mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.0g
    Sugar 6.4g
Protein 1.1g

% Daily Value
Vitamin A 8%

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