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Frosted soft pumpkin sugar cookies

A pumpkin inspired spin on the frosted soft sugar cookies you find at the grocery store (lofthouse cookies). These pumpkin cookies are reminiscent of a cupcake with a perfectly sweet cream cheese frosting and of course decorated to your liking. I chose to do a dusting of cinnamon, but you can leave them plain, add pumpkin spice, or even use some festive fall sprinkles.

The cookie dough for this recipe comes together in a pinch. I recommend using some sort of mixer (stand or hand - I've used both with great results) as the cookies are meant to be soft and airy just like a cupcake. When baking the cookies, note that they do spread and have a tendency to brown around the edges. This is part of why we bake a slightly lower temperature. It allows your cookies to spread and rise with a lower risk of burning. In the vanilla version of this recipe we used cake flour, but for our pumpkin recipe I went with all purpose flour and found they were perfectly tender and airy almost like cake. This recipe does call for a small amount of cornstarch, and this helps to guarantee a soft cookie.

I am not a big pumpkin spice fan in general, so I chose to do half pumpkin spice and half cinnamon in the cookie dough. If you love pumpkin spice, omit the cinnamon and double up on the pumpkin spice. Both methods lead to a cookie with perfect fall flavors. After you bake your cookies, you could absolutely top them with a store bought frosting or icing, but I like to top them with a delicious and simple homemade cream cheese frosting. I am super picky about cream cheese frosting, and I think this version has the perfect amount of sweetness and subtle cream cheese flavor. It comes together with just a few ingredients and is the perfect sweet topping for these cookies. I like to top them with a dusting of cinnamon, but this is of course baker's choice - you really cannot go wrong. When it comes to measuring out your dough, I love these scoops from Cook'n Feel (I use the medium scoop usually for cookies) or this large scoop from Oxo. You can also use a large spoon, but this cookie dough is a bit wet so a scoop is really helpful for getting more even scoops.

Ingredients Pumpkin Cookies

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 85g

  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin 65g

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 96g

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar 40g

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour 160g

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 8g

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 28g

  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature 56g

  • 1 cup powdered sugar 120g

  • 1/2 teaspoon water

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Optional: decorative topping like cinnamon or sprinkles

Total time: About 2-3 hours

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 12-15 minutes

Chill time: 1-2 hours

Servings: 10 cookies


  • Stand or hand mixer

  • Spatula or large spoon

  • Cookie sheets

  • Parchment paper

  • Large cookie scoop (about 2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons)

Cooking instructions

First, make your cookies. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or large bowl with a hand mixer, add your butter and canned pumpkin. Mix for about 2 minutes at a medium to high speed. Pause, and scrape down the sides of your bowl and mixer attachment.

Add both sugars. Combine at a medium speed for about a minute. Scrape down the sides of your bowl. Mix again for a minute or two until you no longer see any pieces of unmixed butter. Next, add in your egg and vanilla extract. Continue to mix for about two minutes until your mixture is lightened. Scrape down your bowl again and your mixer attachment. Mix again for another minute. Then, add in your dry ingredients - flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt - and mix at the lowest speed until your dough forms. Place your dough into the fridge to chill for one to two hours. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Once your dough is chilled, it should be firm to the touch, scoop your cookie dough onto two large parchment lined cookie sheets. Each cookie scoop should be about 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons, and you'll get 10 cookies. Note that these cookies do spread so you want to give them lots of space. Bake your cookies for about 12 to 15 minutes until fully baked (you shouldn't see a "wet" center from the top of the cookie). Allow your cookies to cool completely, about an hour. You can also speed this step up in the fridge.

Make your frosting and complete your cookies. Using your stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer, add your cream cheese and butter. It's really important that both ingredients are at room temperature. Run your mixer at a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and mixer and mix again for another minute.

Then, add in your powdered sugar. Mix at a medium to high speed until your mixture is fully combined. Add in a 1/2 teaspoon of water and vanilla extract. Continue to mix at a high speed for a few minutes until your frosting is smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl and mixer attachment at least once part way through mixing, and keep an eye out for any unmixed streaks of butter or cream cheese.

Frost each of your cookies and if you'd like you can then decorate with a dusting of cinnamon or another topping - and enjoy! The frosting on your cookies will harden once you leave your cookies out at room temperature, and then you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep them fresh. I think these cookies taste best at room temperature, and they will stay fresh for days in the fridge!

Carb and serving info

Servings: 10 cookies

Carbs per serving (1 of 10): 40

Carbs for full recipe: 399 Carbs for cookies only: 276 Carbs for frosting only: 122

Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.


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