Pumpkin Spice Cookies

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Transform Pumpkin Spice Cookies into festive jack-o-lanterns by decorating with some colorful royal icing. These lightly ginger spiced cookies are just as delicious un-frosted.

For these cookies I used royal icing. I used a pastry bag with a #2 tip to pipe around the edge of the cookie with a thick piping icing, (You could also use a plastic squeeze bottle with a tip available in decorating stores), then filled in the cookie using a thinner flooding icing. To make thicker icing add more confectioners’s sugar, to make the icing thinner add more egg white or small amount of warm water. For the pumpkin I used orange food coloring with a drop of red and black. For the stem I used leaf green food coloring with a bit of juniper green added and sprinkled a little sour apple colored edible glitter to add some sparkle (available in decorating stores.)

I have included a basic recipe for confectioner’s sugar icing along with recipes for Royal Icing. Royal Icing made with egg whites is generally not consumed but is great for non-edible decorations such as gingerbread houses or tree ornaments. Since the egg whites are not cooked there is a greater risk of salmonella. Royal Icing made with meringue powder is safe to eat. For more information, see my Royal Icing page.
Recipe type: Rolled and Cutout Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
Dough:
  • 4¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup light or dark molasses
Confectioner’s Sugar Icing:
  • 3 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (preferably whole milk)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Sugar sprinkles (optional)
Or
Royal Icing Made with Meringue Powder (edible):
  • 4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • Approximately ¼ to ½ cup warm water (or more if needed)
  • Flavoring (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Sugar sprinkles (optional)
Tip: If using an extract for flavoring, use one that is clear so it does not add unwanted color to the finished icing, such as orange, lemon, mint, almond, and clear vanilla.
Or
Royal Icing Made with Egg Whites (non-edible):
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • Approximately 2 or 3 teaspoons warm water (or more if needed)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Sugar sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
Dough:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar; cream together until mixture appears light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add eggs, vanilla, and molasses; beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture, stir until well mixed.
  3. Form dough into two 6 inch flattened disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours. Tip: The dough may be refrigerated at this point for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Baking sheets may be ungreased, lined with parchment paper, or lined with a non-stick baking mat.
  5. On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness. Cut dough into desired shapes using a cookie cutter that has been dipped in flour (to help prevent dough from sticking to the cutter.)
  6. Bake: Place cutout dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 11 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove cookies from baking sheets with a metal spatula and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
Make icing of your choice to frost and decorate cookies. Choose from either the Confectioners’ Sugar Icing, or the Royal Icing made with Meringue Powder (edible), or the Royal Icing made with egg whites (non-edible.)
Confectioner’s Sugar Icing:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon and beat together until mixture is smooth, adding enough milk to make a good spreading consistency. Add food coloring if desired.
  2. Frost cooled cookies, sprinkle with sugar sprinkles if desired. Set aside until frosting is set.
Or
Royal Icing Made with Meringue Powder (edible):
  1. In a medium bowl, and using an electric mixer or hand mixer, combine meringue powder and powdered sugar. Add water in small quantities, start with tablespoons of water, then when it’s getting close to the right consistency add water in teaspoonfuls or just drops of water at a time, until it is the desired consistency; for piping and outlining, the icing should be like a thick sour cream. Add food coloring and flavoring (optional.)
  2. Use immediately. Keep unused portions covered with plastic wrap, as exposed icing will start to thicken and harden. If the icing starts to become too thick, add a few drops of water and beat until the water is thoroughly combined.
  3. Place unused icing in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Or
Royal Icing Made with Egg Whites (non-edible):
  1. In a medium bowl, and using an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating after each cup until smooth. Add water, a few drops at a time, until it is the desired consistency; for piping and outlining, the icing should be like a thick sour cream. Add food coloring (optional.)
  2. Use icing immediately, keeping unused portions covered with plastic wrap, as exposed icing will start to thicken and harden. If the icing starts to become too thick, add a few drops of water and beat until water is thoroughly combined.
  3. Place unused icing in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.