Spiced Orange Pumpkin Cookies

Spiced Orange Pumpkin Cookies

There are so many recipes for pumpkin cookies on the web that I wondered if I could add anything new to the mix. After a few hours of research though, I knew that I wanted to create a plump, tender pumpkin cookie without too much “poof.”

Mixing Orange Pumpkin Spice Cookies

In other words, not a whoopie pie, which are all over the web. What’s a whoopie pie, you ask? Think cake-like cookies sandwiched with frosting. It’s a winsome, airy treat, if that’s what you’re aiming for.

Shaping Spiced Orange Pumpkin Cookies

The reason pumpkin cookies tend to be cake-like is because a lot of liquid is introduced to the dough via pumpkin puree. Some recipes suggest a cup or more of puree. How else are you going to get that wonderful pumpkin flavor into the cookie?

Spiced Orange Pumpkin Cookies

Actually, there is another way. To get maximum pumpkin flavor without so much liquid, I used pumpkin butter, my new best friend in the OtherWorldly Kitchen. It’s highly reduced and the fabulous flavor packs a real wallop. I also used only one egg, to minimize lift. Even so, these pumpkin cookies are still a little whoopie-pie like, very tender and soft. They make a great contrast to crisper cookies when you plan to serve a variety. And they are perfect for Halloween. Not one bit scary.

Spiced Orange Pumpkin Cookies

Spiced Orange Pumpkin Cookies

These plump, tender little cookies are a knockout. The flavor profile, with spicy pumpkin butter and double whammy of orange is the essence of autumn.

Shaping Note   There are three finishing options here: You can either simply dust each cookie with sanding sugar or coat with Orange Snow before baking, or roll in Orange Frost after baking. The pumpkin seed stems are optional, but kids love it when these little cookies look like pumpkins.

Shaping Option   This dough is also the right consistency (soft) for pressing through a spritz machine.

2½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (11¼ ounces)
½ cup cornstarch (2¼ ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1½ cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), cool room temperature
1¼ cups sifted powdered sugar
1 large egg, cool room temperature
½ cup Spiced Pumpkin Maple Butter (or store-bought pumpkin butter)
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice powder
¼ teaspoon orange oil (or ½ teaspoon orange extract)
¼ teaspoon lemon oil (or ½ teaspoon lemon extract)
several drops of orange gel food coloring, optional

Orange Frost (optional)
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened Orange Kool-Aid powder


Orange Snow (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 package (.23 ounce) unsweetened Orange Kool-Aid powder


orange or clear sanding sugar

Stems (optional)
raw pumpkin seeds

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Reserve.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and powdered sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and incorporate thoroughly. Blend in the pumpkin butter, orange zest, pumpkin pie spice, orange oil,  lemon oil, and food coloring if using.
  3. Add the flour mixture and pulse the mixer to incorporate into the dough. Don’t over mix.
  4. Using your hands or a #70 (1 tablespoon) release-style scoop, shape round or half round balls of dough, about 1-inch in diameter and arrange on a foil-covered edged baking sheet.
  5. Cover and chill the cookie balls for at least 1 hour (longer is even better).
  6. Set the cookie balls ½-inch apart on a parchment paper-lined edged baking sheet.
  7. If you want your cookies to look like tiny, frost-kissed pumpkins, dip the rounded tops of each one in the Frosted Sugar mixture. Skip this step if you intend to coat your cookies with Orange Snow after baking.
  8. Bake at 325° for 14-16 minutes, or until tops are set and bottoms are lightly browned.
  9. Remove cookies from the oven, leave on the baking sheet for 2 minutes to set up, and then set on a wire rack to cool. (If you over bake these cookies, they will be dry and lose their charm.)
  10. If you want to coat your cookies with Orange Snow, while still warm, but not too hot to touch, roll each cookie in the powdered sugar and Kool-Aid mixture. Set back on the wire rack to cool completely. Before packing for storage, dust again with Orange Snow in a sieve or shaker, and then arrange in wax paper-separated layers in metal cookie tins.

Makes about 7 dozen small cookies.

Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)

Copyright 2013 Susan S. Bradley. All rights Reserved.

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