Iced Pumpkin Cookies – Cooking Classy


Soft and tender, spiced pumpkin cookies are topped with a sweet vanilla icing and rich chocolate icing, then optional finished with pecans for a hint of nutty flavor and crunch. They’re reminiscent of a cake donut and such a tempting cookie you’ll want to make again and again every fall season!

Pumpkin cookies with chocolate and vanilla icing.

A New Favorite Fall Recipe

We all love the classic pumpkin chocolate chip cookies but sometimes it’s nice to switch up tradition for something different but equally as delicious. These iced pumpkin cookies fill that space perfectly.

These are a very similar to those cakey pumpkin flavored cookies we are used to but dark chocolate chips are omitted and instead they’re finish them with two types of icing and chopped nuts.

They may just take the winning lead for your favorite fall cookie!

They are fun to decorate two. One way I came up with is to use both types of icing and finish with a criss-cross pattern that becomes a pretty autumn plaid design. All you need is to small resealable bags or two piping bags to create it (and snip a small corner away with scissors to drizzle over).

Just plain on two per person because most likely everyone will want to try each type of icing. Let us know which you love the most!

Note that this recipe has been revised and updated October 2022 for the best tasting cookie, to simplify ingredients, and for the option of two flavors of icing.

Homemade soft pumpkin cookies with icing shown on a white platter from overhead.

Pumpkin Cookies Recipe Ingredients and Possible Substitutes

Easy pumpkin cookie dough ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour: I used unbleached flour but bleached is fine too.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: This combination of leavening creates a soft and fluffy cookie.
  • Salt: Don’t forget this or the cookies will taste flat.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: See below for homemade option.
  • Unsalted butter: You can use salted butter just reduce salt to 1/4 tsp in the recipe.
  • Brown sugar: I use light brown sugar though dark brown should work as well.
  • Egg: If you have an egg allergy this is one recipe that you may be able to get away with omitting the egg since pumpkin sometimes works as an egg substitute, just note the texture will be slightly different.
  • Canned pumpkin puree: I recommend sticking with canned pumpkin vs fresh because fresh can have more liquid and will cause cookie to spread more.
  • Vanilla extract: Stick with the real deal for best flavor.
  • Pecans: These are completely optional if you want a bit of nutty flavor and crunch. Walnuts are great here too. Nuts can be toasted or raw.

Vanilla and chocolate icing ingredients:

  • Powdered sugar: If you are out you can make homemade powdered sugar from granulated white sugar. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar to a food processor along with 2 tsp cornstarch, blitz blitz bliz until fine and powdery.
  • Half and half: Cream or whole milk will work as well. If using cream you will need more since it’s thicker and you may only need 2 Tbsp milk since it’s thinner.
  • Salted butter: If you only have unsalted butter that works fine too.
  • Dutch cocoa powder: Regular cocoa will work as well, it just won’t be quite as deeply flavored and dark in tone.

Ingredients needed for pumpkin cookies shown.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Option

If you want make your own pumpkin pie spice here is the blend I use. Just whisk all together:

  • 4 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Six photos showing how to make pumpkin cookie dough.

How to Make Iced Pumpkin Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter and brown sugar until well combined.
  4. Mix in egg, then blend in pumpkin and vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
  6. Scoop dough out 2 Tbsp at a time (a heaped #40 cookie dough scoop works well) and drop onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart.
  7. Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven 12 – 15 minutes (they should look puffy and set). Let cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the icing: In a medium mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp half and half, butter and vanilla until well blended. Thin with more half and half as needed.
  9. If you would like chocolate icing pour half of the icing into a second bowl, add cocoa powder and stir, thin with more half and half to a slightly runny consistency.
  10. Spoon and spread icing over cooled cookies, if using pecans immediately add after spreading glaze over each cookie before the icing starts to set. Let rest at room temperature to allow icing to set.

Four photos showing how to bake and top pumpkin cookies.

Helpful Tips for Success

  • For best results I recommend a kitchen scale and measuring in grams for accuracy and a consistent end result.
  • Scrape mixing bowl down as you mix (using a rubber or silicone spatula) to ensure ingredients are properly incorporated.
  • Don’t over-mix dough for a soft and fluffy cookie, especially once flour mixture is added.
  • To test for doneness a toothpick should come out clean, or cookies should not indent when pressed gently. Be careful not to over-bake or they’ll dry, and if under-baked they’ll be doughy.
  • Let cool completely before topping with icing or frosting or it will melt off.

Pumpkin cookies with icing shown on a wire cooling rack.

More Ways to Make Them

  • You can also mix chocolate chips, chopped pecans or walnuts right into the cookie dough.
  • Cookies can be finished with sprinkles. Halloween or fall colored sprinkles are a great option.
  • Instead of glaze you can finish cookies with a whipped chocolate ganache.
  • Other frostings that work well here are cream cheese frosting, vanilla buttercream frosting or caramel frosting.
  • They are so good you could even omit the icing to cut down on the sugar.

Pumpkin cookies stacked on a serving platter.

How to Store Homemade Pumpkin Cookies

  • These pumpkin cookies can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days or in the fridge up to 1 week.
  • Store in an airtight container in a single layer if frosted, if not topped store with parchment paper between layers of cookies.
  • They can also be frozen up to 3 months. For a prettier, wrinkle-free icing though I recommend waiting until ready to serve to top them.

Close up photo of homemade spiced pumpkin cookies.

More Pumpkin Recipes to Try

Pumpkin cookies with chocolate and vanilla icing.

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Soft and tender, cakey, spiced pumpkin cookies are topped with a sweet vanilla icing and rich chocolate icing and finished with optional pecans for crunch. Such a tempting cookie you’ll want to make again and again every fall season!

Servings: 28 cookies

Prep25 minutes

Cook40 minutes

Ready in: 1 hour 5 minutes

Cookies

  • 2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice*
  • 10 Tbsp (142g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (240g) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) powdered sugar
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp half and half
  • 2 Tbsp (28g) salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp (12g) Dutch cocoa powder, for chocolate icing (optional)
  • Chopped pecans, for topping (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter and brown sugar until well combined. 

  • Mix in egg then blend in pumpkin and vanilla.

  • Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. 

  • Scoop dough out 2 Tbsp at a time (a heaped #40 cookie dough scoop works well) and drop onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart.
  • Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven 12 – 15 minutes (they should look puffy and set). Let cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • For the icing**: In a medium mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp half and half, butter and vanilla until well blended. Thin with more half and half as needed.

  • If you would like chocolate icing pour half of the icing into a second bowl, add cocoa powder and stir, thin with more half and half to a slightly runny consistency.

  • Spoon and spread icing over cooled cookies, if using pecans immediately add after spreading glaze over each cookie before the icing starts to set. If desired very lightly dust tops with more pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

  • Let rest at room temperature to allow icing to set. Store cookies in an airtight container.

  • *To make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice use these spices (all ground): 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, and 1/4 tsp allspice.
  • **Note that the icing will wrinkle after the cookies have rested a day. I recommend icing the day you plan on serving them.
  • Recipe updated Oct. 2022.

Nutrition Facts

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Amount Per Serving

Calories 193
Calories from Fat 99

% Daily Value*

Fat 11g17%

Saturated Fat 7g44%

Trans Fat 0.4g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g

Monounsaturated Fat 3g

Cholesterol 34mg11%

Sodium 137mg6%

Potassium 65mg2%

Carbohydrates 23g8%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 14g16%

Protein 2g4%

Vitamin A 1667IU33%

Vitamin C 0.4mg0%

Calcium 24mg2%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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