Sweet Toof: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from Chocollazo

She calls it the classic story: Mary Collazo was a disgruntled employee at one of the nation’s largest health insurers; what originally started as a job out of high school had somehow turned into a career.

“I wasn’t loving what I was doing, I felt I was creative,” Collazo said.

So with the encouragement of husband Frank, she set out to open one of the few dessert-only food trailers in town, Chocollazo.

They rolled out the trailer this past July, once Collazo received her online certification from the Ecole Chocolat, a web-based chocolatier program, and have dished out chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and homemade marshmallows for dipping, chocolate baklava, truffles and toffee ever since. She’s also ditched the corporate life to pursue the art of chocolate on a full-time basis.

No, we couldn’t get our grubby hands on the sinful bacon-German chocolate truffle, the top seller for the trolley, but Mary shares a family recipe from her French-Canadian grandmother, Mémé, for easy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

“In our house, we eat these for breakfast, before bed, and sometimes when we’re too lazy to eat a proper meal,” she said. “Let’s not forget, pumpkin is a vegetable.”

A stand mixer works great for this recipe, but using a hand mixer will guarantee a serious bicep workout. While Mémé was known for abiding strictly by the recipe card, Collazo has a more blasé approach to the amount of cinnamon and chocolate chips that go into the cake-like cookies. These seasonal delights are best right out of the oven or after a quick 10-second pop in the microwave.

Mémé & Mary Collazo’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Aproximately 60 small cookies, 30 medium cookies

1 cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (Collazo usually goes a little overboard here, adding more cinnamon)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (a whole bag of the chips is fine by Collazo)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin until well blended. Combine the rest of the dry ingredients minus chocolate; gradually stir into the pumpkin mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips by hand. Using two spoons, or a small ice cream scoop, drop onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. These cookies don’t expand much, so they can be spaced close together.

Bake for 12-16 minutes (depending on size) in the heated oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.