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10/26/2015

~Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting~

IMG_6433My grandmother never made pumpkin cookies, my mother never made pumpkin cookies, and I never felt deprived.  The first time I encountered pumpkin cookies was at an elementary-school Fall-Festival fundraising-bake-sale back in the 1980's.  All of the teachers and staff baked Fall desserts which were served with coffee and tea to us parents as we watched our kids parade through the school in their costumes.  At the end of the festivities, the desserts were sold, some by the piece, some by the dozen -- you get the picture.  My son Jesse's first grade teacher, Mrs. Rhodes, made pumpkin cookies, from a recipe printed on the label of a can of Libby's pumpkin.

6a0120a8551282970b01348850020f970cI liked them enough to buy a dozen, which my family of five inhaled that evening -- what was I thinking, I should have bought two dozen.  On my next trip to the grocery store, I picked up a can of Libby's, and, lo and behold, there was the recipe, and, so started the "pumpkin cookie baking period in my life".  It's been years since I've thought about them, mostly because the only kid I have hanging around the house these days is my husband.  That said:  

Today is National Pumpkin Day, so, here's my contribution -- IMG_6443pretty, puffy pillows of perfectly-pumpkin-spiced goodness: 

IMG_6331For the dry ingredients:

2 1/2  cups all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon baking powder

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon ground ginger

1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2  teaspoon salt

IMG_6350For the wet ingredients:

1 1/2  cups sugar

1/2  cup salted butter, at room temperature, very soft

1  large egg, at room temperature

2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1  cup 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling

Optional add-ins:

IMG_63461  cup golden or dark raisins, soaked in 1 cup of very hot water for 15 minutes (to soften them) and well-drained

1  cup chopped walnuts

Note:  I will at least mention that chocolate chips are a very popular addition in other versions of this recipe.  They are "not my cup of tea", as I think they muddle up the flavor of the aromatic spices.  That choice is up to you.

IMG_6408For the cream cheese frosting:

8  ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, very soft

1  cup Confectioners' sugar

1  tablespoon caramel flavoring (vanilla extract may be substituted)

1-2  tablespoons milk, to adjust consistency

IMG_6355 IMG_6337~ Step 1.  In a small bowl, stir together dry ingredients.

~ Step 2.  In a large bowl, on medium-high speed of hand-held electric mixer, cream together the sugar, butter, egg and extract, about 1 minute.  Lower the mixer speed and add the pumpkin.  Continue to beat until thoroughly incorporated IMG_6363and uniform in color.

~ Step 3.  On lowest speed of mixer, fold in all of the flour mixture, in three additions (1/3, 1/3 & 1/3), until thoroughly combined.

IMG_6368~ Step 4. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the optional add-in ingredients.

IMG_6376 IMG_6379                                          ~ Step 5. Line 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper.  Using a 2 1/2" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place 12 level scoops of dough, well-apart on each pan.

IMG_6386~ Step 6. Bake, one pan at a time, on IMG_6401center rack of preheated 350 degree oven 15-16 minutes until very lightly brown around the edges and on the top.  Remove from oven and cool in pan 1-1 1/2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely, 1-1 1/2 hours.

IMG_6426 IMG_6412~ Step 7. While cookies are cooling, prepare the frosting by combining the cream cheese, powdered sugar and caramel flavoring on low speed of mixer until smooth.  Blend in 1 tablespoon of milk.  Add up to another tablespoon of milk, in small increments, until desired consistency is reached.

Once the cookies have cooled completely...

IMG_6398... slather each with some caramel cream cheese frosting.

IMG_6429I'm pretty sure you can handle things from here:

IMG_6448Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting:  Recipe yields 2 dozen, 3"-round cookies.

Special Equipment List:  1-cup measuring container; cutting board; chef's knife; whisk; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 2, 17 1/2" x 11 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 2 1/4" ice-cream scoop; wire cooling rack; butter knife, for applying frosting

IMG_6705Cook's Note:  Just because my family never made pumpkin cookies doesn't mean we don't like pumpkin -- we love it.  We grow our own pumpkins, and, make our own ~ Roasted Pumpkin Puree (The Preschutti Way!) ~.  Find it and my recipe for ~ Traditional Thanksgiving Preschutti Pumpkin Pie ~ in Categories 18!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)

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