Loaded Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

We love pumpkin cookies around our house and I have a few recipes, but this one has become my favorite. The batch I baked today turned out perfectly and really hit the spot. I'm not going to claim that they're totally healthy, but oatmeal, pumpkin, nuts, raisins, and even the chocolate chips all have at least some nutritionally-redeeming value. Feel free to substitute or mix and match the add-ins depending on your family's preferences. A handful of coconut would go well, too, I think.

Loaded Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter. Add granulated and brown sugars gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Alternately add flour mixture and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips, nuts, and raisins.

Lightly grease cookie sheets. Drop dough by tablespoons onto cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 13 to 15 minutes or until just brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before removing from the cookie sheets. Store covered. Makes four dozen very delicious cookies.

Cookie baking tip: Even though it takes slightly longer overall, my cookies turn out much better if I bake just one cooke sheet-ful at a time. It's much easier to do it that way than to rotate cookie sheets halfway through the baking time, which also makes the oven lose heat. So, put the first sheet in and let the cookies bake. When they're ready, remove them from the oven and put the cookie sheet on a cooling rack, then put the second sheet of dough in. After five or six minutes the baked cookies are cool enough for the cookie jar and the cookie sheet is cool enough to wipe off and use for the next batch, which you'll have ready to bake when the second batch is done. Simple and efficient, especially for a small kitchen.

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