Move Over Mom: Pumpkin Puree Pumps Up Oatmeal Cookies

I just made pumpkin cupcakes in my high school cooking class, and it got me thinking about what other things I could make with pumpkin.

Did you know that most pumpkins grown in the United States are grown a couple of hours south of the suburbs? The most commonly known manufacturer of canned pumpkin is Libby in Morton, Illinois. It makes more than 80 percent of the world's canned pumpkin, so says the website for Morton, The Pumpkin Capital of the World.

Pumpkin-flavored stuff isn't the most popular thing with younger kids, it being a vegetable and all. I was not a very big fan of pumpkin yogurt I tried the other day; I just didn't feel like it went together very well. But I do like pumpkin when it's baked in a pie or a cake, or in these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars.

I found a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal raisin cookies online and tweaked it. I added chocolate chips. Every time I get a cookie that I think is chocolate chip but turns out to be raisin, I cry a little. And this is more appealing to me as a bar cookie.

A word from Mom: Jerome's recipe didn't use up the entire can of pumpkin puree and I couldn't bring myself to scoop it down the sink. So instead I scooped it by the spoonful onto plastic wrap and transferred the orange mounds to the freezer. Jerome may not have liked pumpkin yogurt, but we both liked it whirled around in a blender with some vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Give it the "Blizzard" treatment by dropping in a handful of pumpkin spice M&M's. It's like sipping pumpkin pie a la mode through a straw.

• Jerome Gabriel, a freshman in high school, has been helping in the kitchen since he could hold a spoon. His mom is Daily Herald Food Editor Deborah Pankey.

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