This recipe was originally published on October 19, 2018 and was updated on September 9, 2020. These soft pumpkin cookies are full of fall flavors! Pumpkin puree, warming spices, and the sweetness of homemade maple glaze make for a delicious autumn dessert.
These cookies are so wickedly soft, light, and airy. Almost like if a cake and a cookie had a baby. With a big dash of pumpkin spice flavor thrown in for good measure.
These are easily one of the best cookies I’ve ever made. And I’ve made a lot of cookies in my day! The texture, flavor, and scent of these are unparalleled in terms of pumpkin baking recipes.
They start with a dough made using pumpkin puree that’s scented with classic pumpkin spice flavors – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Then the cookies are topped with a sweet maple glaze that comes together in no time. Absolutely fantastic for fall!
Making Pumpkin Cookies
- Whisk the dry ingredients. There are so many delicious spices in this recipe!
- Cream the butter and sugars. Until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin puree.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. To form a soft, malleable dough. Then chill it for at least an hour. Or overnight!
- Scoop the cookies. With a cookie scoop. On parchment lined baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies. Into fluffy little clouds of fall-flavored heaven!
- Make the icing. It’s just powdered sugar, maple syrup, and salt. You can use some maple extract too, to really up the flavor if desired.
- Ice the cooled cookies. And top with a pecan for garnish. How cute?
Pumpkin Puree vs Pumpkin Pie Filling
This recipe calls for pumpkin puree. This is not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling. As I explained in this post it's important to know the differences. Both can be found in your grocery store’s baking aisle, but they are not one in the same. Pumpkin puree is pure canned squash. (Did you know it’s a mixture of multiple kinds of squash and not just pumpkin?) Alternatively, canned pumpkin pie filling is pumpkin/squash puree with all the other things that make up pumpkin pie – sweeteners, thickeners, spices. When making recipes it’s important to know which is called for so the results turn out as desired.
Tips on Powdered Sugar Icing
Lots of people think, “Oh this is only two or three ingredients – how card can it be?” Not very, sure. However, there are a few key hints to successfully making a batch of powdered sugar glaze that will perfectly pour over baked goods!
- Measure the powdered sugar. It’s very tempting to eyeball it. I know, I’ve tried. It’s just easier to measure out how much is needed instead of trying to guess. Otherwise you’ll wind up doing the add a little bit more of this, add a little bit more of that between the sugar and liquid.
- Sift your powdered sugar. To get rid of any lumps. This will make whisking a smooth glaze that much easier!
- Slowly add the wet ingredients. 1 TBSP at a time. Powdered sugar brands vary in terms of how fine the sugar is powdered. Also! Some brands add cornstarch to reduce clumping, which is going to alter how much liquid you’ll need, as cornstarch is a thickening agent.
- The Ribbon Test. The glaze is perfect when a thick ribbon pours slowly off the whisk and back into the bowl. The ribbon will sit on the surface for a few seconds before slowly melting back into the rest of the icing.
- Timing is everything. Powdered sugar icings form a thin, hard coating on the outside, while staying soft on the inside. After they’re properly mixed, the glaze will begin to set almost immediately. It’s important to wait until the cookies are completely cool to mix up the glaze. Any sooner and it will set in the bowl before it can be spread onto the cookies. (Also, you’ll want to avoid pouring glaze onto warm baked goods as it will cause them to run right off.)
Storing Iced Cookies
The glaze on these cookies is so simple – it’s just powdered sugar, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. While it does set up quite nicely and form a thin, slightly hard film coating over the top, it doesn’t get totally solid like a royal icing would. To keep these cookies fresh and their icing looking pretty I recommend storing them in a single layer in an airtight container. They can be kept on the counter for up to two days or in the fridge for up to five.
Take a bite out of fall baking!
Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Glaze
- Stand Mixer
- Cookie Scoop
For the Soft Pumpkin Cookies:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- Pinch of cloves
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg + 1 yolk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
For the Maple Glaze:
- 2 cups powder sugar
- 4 TBSP pure maple syrup from Wisconsin is best!
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. maple extract optional
For the Soft Pumpkin Cookies:
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl before stirring in egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Scrape down bowl once again to be sure everything is fully incorporated before stirring in pumpkin.
- Working in a few batches, slowly stir in the dry ingredients until a fluffy dough comes together. It’s going to be soft and malleable.
- Wrap in plastic and chill in fridge for at least one hour, or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using a #2 cookie scoop, portion dough onto prepared cookie sheets 1 ½ inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes, until edges are golden brown and center no longer looks wet.
- Remove from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature before topping with glaze, recipe follows.
For the Maple Glaze:
- Sift the powdered sugar into a large glass bowl. Whisk in the salt, extract (if using) and maple syrup, 1 TBSP at a time, until a thick ribbon runs off the whisk and sits on top of the icing for a few seconds. Spread over cooled cookies and top with pecan halves, if desired.
- Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for two days, or refrigerated for up to five days. Cookies without the icing can be frozen for up to two months.