While my cookie decorating skills aren’t really getting any better with the sugar cookie of the month, I at least got to try out a fun experiment in altering the recipe: swapping out the sour cream for canned pumpkin. I’m happy to say…success!
These cookies have a very subtle hint of pumpkin and fall flavors along with maple icing. You can save these for Halloween, or skip the pumpkin shape and decorations altogether. As you know by now, I’d rather have a tasty cookie than a pretty one.
Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
By Baked Northwest
Makes about 32 pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies (you will only use half of the cookie dough)
For the Cookies:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- 4 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (can sub cinnamon)
For the Maple Frosting:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk (nonfat is fine)
- orange food coloring, or a mix of red + yellow food coloring (optional)
- Black tube frosting (we used store bought, and this is totally optional. If your decorating skills are like mine you may want to skip this).
For the Cookies:
In a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Add pumpkin, mix thoroughly.
Sift together flour, salt, soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. Add to butter mixture in two parts and mix thoroughly.
Divide the dough into two parts and wrap each in wax paper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. For the amount of frosting we are making, you will only use half of the dough. You can freeze the 2nd batch of dough for another use, or just double the frosting recipe!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
On a clean, floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Roll the dough so it’s about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick, and use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes of the dough. For these cookies, I used a pumpkin cookie cutter. Use a cookie spatula (better known as a pancake flipper) to move your cookies from the floured surface to a well greased baking sheet. Ungreased silicone baking sheet liners work great here too.
Bake the cookies at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes. You never want them to get too browned around the edges, or they’ll be super crunchy. We like ours on the softer side. Baking time depends on what shapes you cut your cookies into – we have adjusted baking times from 8-12 minutes depending on the size of our cookies. Let cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting:
Combine butter, salt, maple syrup, vanilla, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Add milk and remaining sugar, alternately. Mix until smooth & creamy. Add the food coloring to make the frosting orange, if using.
Frost the cooled cookies. If desired, decorate the pumpkins with fun jack-o-lantern designs. We used store bought black frosting for this, and it’s totally optional. Cookies keep well in the fridge for a up to a week, a few days at room temperature. Enjoy!
NOTE: I made a full recipe of the dough and only used half. This cookie dough freezes really well and can be saved for another use, or you can double the frosting recipe and go crazy and bake all of the cookies!