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Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

These super-tender pumpkin sugar cookies are perfectly spiced with just the right amount of pumpkin pie spice. The optional frosting is a sweet addition that adds even more warm fall flavors. Add just a touch of orange food coloring to the frosting to make these pumpkin sugar cookies pop. While you may be tempted to use all the dough, the cookies get tougher the more times you roll, so it's best to re-roll the scraps only once.

By Kaly JohnesPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Nutrition Notes

Does the Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour Add Any Nutrition?

Whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft white wheat—compared to regular whole-wheat flour, which is milled from hard red wheat. Soft white wheat has a lower protein content and produces more tender baked goods than hard red wheat does. Like regular whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour also still contains the germ and bran, which is where most of the grain's nutrition and fiber are contained. And because whole-wheat is a whole grain, eating it can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Compare that to refined white flour which has had the bran and germ removed.

Is Pumpkin Good for You?

Yes! Pumpkin is packed with nutrition, including inflammation-reducing carotenoids, which have been shown to benefit eye health. In addition to eye health, research links a high intake of carotenoids, like those found in pumpkin, with a lower risk of developing dementia.

How Much Sugar Is in Pumpkin Cookies?

This recipe has a total of 12 grams of sugar per serving, all of which is added sugar. This fits within EatingWell's guidelines, which cap added sugar at 20 grams per serving for desserts. Canned pumpkin does contain some natural sugars, but it doesn't add a significant amount to the total sugar tally in this recipe.

Tips from the Test Kitchen

Is Canned Pumpkin the Same as Pumpkin Puree?

Yes, pumpkin puree is simply mashed pumpkin. Note that pumpkin puree isn't the same as canned pumpkin pie filling, which has spices and sugar already mixed into it.

Why Should I Use Meringue Powder for the Frosting?

Meringue powder is used to stabilize and set the frosting, making it perfect for decorating cookies. It's made with powdered egg whites, sugar and stabilizers like cornstarch or cream of tartar. You can find meringue powder in the cake-decorating section of craft stores, larger supermarkets and online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Did My Cookies Spread During Baking?

If you find that your cookies are spreading during baking, make sure to refrigerate the cookie dough shapes on parchment-lined baking sheets for at least 30 minutes before baking next time. Refrigerating the dough helps the cookies hold their shape in the oven.

Additional reporting by Carrie Myers and Jan Valdez



1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 large egg, at room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting (optional)

1 - 1 ¼ cups unsifted confectioners' sugar, divided

1 tablespoon meringue powder

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons whole milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Orange liquid food coloring (optional)

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To prepare cookies: Whisk all-purpose flour, pastry flour, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl until fully combined.

Beat sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla; beat on medium speed until combined.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined, about 2 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface; divide into 2 disks, dusting with additional flour as needed. Wrap each disk tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, unwrap and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness; cut using desired cookie cutters (such as pumpkin shapes). Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, leaving a 1/2-inch space between each cookie. Repeat with the remaining dough, rerolling scraps once.

Bake until dry to the touch in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

To prepare frosting (if using): Whisk 1 cup confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and salt in a small bowl until combined. Whisk in milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, to reach desired consistency. Whisk in food coloring (if using) to achieve desired color. Decorate as desired.


About the Creator

Kaly Johnes

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