Pumpkin Cookies

pumpkin cookies

10/6/2016 update: I made these cookies on Facebook Live! Go to facebook.com/whateverpieces/videos to watch.

If you can’t tell from the recent posts: fall is here! And in honor of the season, I’m continuing a tradition I started two years ago by baking pumpkin cookies!

I must admit, I am one of those people. I love, love, love pumpkin things. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream (Graeter’s version is amazing), pumpkin spice lattes…they are the best. I get pretty excited when they bring out the Peppermint Mochas at Starbucks…but the return of the PSL is really where it’s at.

The best preparation of pumpkin, though, is the pumpkin cookie. But you have to do it right. A soft, fluffy cookie; sweet, but not too sweet; warm and cinnamon-y but not spicy; and most importantly, all about the pumpkin. (I’ve never understood the pumpkin/chocolate combination–pumpkin is great by itself! chocolate is great by itself! we don’t need them both at the same time! Rant over.)

I got this recipe from my mom’s recipe box, who got it from my grandma, who apparently got it from someone named Shirley. I have vague childhood memories of making and eating these at my grandma’s house as a kid…I don’t know if I appreciated them then, but it’s safe to say that these are probably my favorite cookies on earth right now.

The only problem with the original recipe is that I could never get the icing to set up correctly. When I followed the directions to “cook 2 min. and cool,” I got a runny mess, which is not at all how I remembered the icing. So, after some investigating on the internet I finally turned up another icing recipe with the exact same ingredients but a different methodology. The icing came out runny enough to dip but thick enough to set up on top of the cookie. It will stay a little soft though so you do have to be careful about storing these–let the icing set and dry as long as you possibly can before storing between layers of waxed paper.

Pumpkin Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 94

Fat per serving: 5 g

Carbs per serving: 13 g

Protein per serving: 1 g


    For the cookies:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
    For the icing:
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Beat well until the pumpkin is evenly distributed (it will look lumpy).
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add to the wet mixture a third at a time and beat together. At this point you can refrigerate the dough for several days before baking (cookies will be more domed if baked from cold dough).
  4. Drop the dough by the teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches in between each. Bake about ten minutes, until dry on top and just beginning to brown on the edges. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the milk and vanilla.
  7. Beat in powdered sugar with a whisk until smooth.
  8. Dip cookies or spread with the icing. Allow to harden. Store cookies in a covered container between layers of waxed paper.

Happy pumpkin season!

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