Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pumpkin Cookies

I love summer - I like the heat, the extra long days of sunshine, swimming, popsicles, BBQing, etc.  But I also love fall, or more formally, autumn.  I always loved going back to school in September, and I like getting my jeans and sweaters out, and getting cozy in the cool weather as it gets darker in the evenings.  The smell and sounds of crisp leaves trigger happy memories.  I am so appreciative that I live in a climate where we enjoy all four seasons. 

To welcome fall, I am happy to see the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks, and I like trying new recipes that incorporate pumpkin.  Last year I made these cookies and took them to work, they were a huge hit.  The original recipe called for brown butter icing, but I had leftover icing from the Apple Cupcakes I made last week, so I am just using that.  I think the brown butter icing is probably a better fit for these cookies, but I didn't want to throw away what I'd already made.  I've included the alternate icing recipe.  

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter - softened
2 1/4 cups brown sugar - packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)  (not the pumpkin pie filling, it has sugar and spices added, and you don't need that)
3/4 cups evaporated milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
Spoon dough onto baking sheets, trying to make them as round as possible. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
Spread icing on top of cooled cookies.
Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days (if they last that long).


Brown Butter Icing Recipe
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
10 tbsp butter
1/4 cup + 1 tsp evaporated milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place icing sugar in bowl, set aside.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Immediately add to icing sugar, scraping any brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread about 1 tsp on each cookie. If icing is too stiff, add a little evaporated milk until it reaches the desired consistency.
Full disclosure, some of my cookies ran like the photo below.  I think it was due to a lump of brown sugar that didn't get fully mixed in.  Make sure you cream your butter and sugar really well.

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