I always want to make pumpkin recipes when I see a pile of pumpkins in autumn. I can almost smell the fragrant pumpkin-spice scent wafting through the house. The pic above and at right are from my local produce market. The one below shows my granddaughter sitting in a pumpkin patch we visited last fall. Yes, of course, we had to let her pick out some pumpkins to take home!
The pumpkin cookie recipe below is from my All-American Dessert Book. The cookies feature the same mild but distinctive flavor that has made pumpkin pie a favorite since Colonial times. They are tender, aromatic, and topped with a smooth and mellow cream cheese frosting that goes nicely with the pumpkin and spice. (Of course, you can omit it if you prefer your cookies plain.)
Their original name was pumpkin “rocks;” it refers not to the texture, but to the fact that this kind of old-fashioned drop cookie looks vaguely boulder-like. As the pic of the cookies suggests, these are in fact rather soft.
Although pumpkin recipes are popular today, especially at this time of year, some Colonial era folks weren’t really pleased that they had to eat it so often, as the following bit of doggerel from the period suggests: “We have pumpkins at morning./Pumpkins at noon./If it were not for pumpkins/We should be undoon.”
If you are looking for pumpkin-shaped or other autumn-themed cookies instead of pumpkin cookies such as these, check out my pretty icing-decorated pumpkin and fall leaf cookies.
Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Tip: In case you wonder whether eggs have been omitted from this recipe by mistake, they haven’t–no eggs are required. (If you skip the frosting and sub stick margarine for the butter the cookies can be served to vegans.)
Trust me, these are really good. My hubby finds them addictive!
1 cup (5 ounces) dark seedless raisins
3 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons each ground cloves and nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
Scant ½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
½ cup corn oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
1/4 cup light molasses
1 cup canned pumpkin (not seasoned pumpkin pie filling)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, slightly softened
2 ½ cups unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease several large baking sheets, or spray with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, cover raisins with hot water. Let stand 10 minutes; drain well. In a medium-sized bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, soda, and salt.
In a large mixer bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until very well blended and fluffy. On low speed, beat in the oil, molasses, pumpkin, and vanilla until smoothly incorporated. Beat or stir in the flour mixture, then raisins until evenly incorporated. Drop dough into golf ball-sized mounds, spacing about 2 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
Bake one pan at a time in upper third of the oven until cookies are lightly browned all over and slightly darker at the edges, 13 to 15 minutes. Let stand just until firmed up slightly. Using a spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks; let stand until thoroughly cooled. To prepare for icing, set racks of cookies over sheets of wax paper.
For frosting: In a mixer bowl with mixer on low, then medium speed, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until well blended and very smooth. Beat in orange juice until smoothly incorporated. If frosting is very stiff, add enough water to thin it to a spreadable but still firm consistency; if too thin, add more powdered sugar. Using a table knife or small, thin-bladed spatula, swirl about a teaspoon of frosting over center of each cookie top. Let stand until frosting sets, at least 1 hour. Store, airtight, with wax paper between the layers. The cookies may be frozen, airtight, for up to a month. Makes about 35 2 3/4-inch cookies.
Still in the mood for pumpkin? Check out my pumpkin soup here.
Another delish pumpkin recipe–pumpkin-cranberry quick bread is here.