Pumpkin Spice Shortbread

I had to, you see. Less than 24 hours into fall, and I had to bake something pumpkin-themed. These pumpkin spice shortbread cookies, adapted from a recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine, sounded too delicious to pass up.

While the original recipe called for adding a candy pumpkin (the delicious cousins of candy corn) to each baked cookie, I chose to leave mine plain, with just the recommended coating of Demerara sugar for a lovely, crunchy texture. You could use turbinado sugar if you don’t have Demerara, but I highly recommend Demerara for its large crystals. You can find it in most grocery stores in the baking aisle. I also highly recommend eating candy pumpkins!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Demerara sugar, for rolling

*You can make your own pumpkin spice by combining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. This makes more than 1 1/2 teaspoons, so just save whatever you have left in a small jar. 


In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin spice, and salt; set aside

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and beat until completely combined.

Chill dough for about 15 – 20 minutes, allowing it to firm up slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line three baking sheets with parchment paper. Place Demerara sugar in a small bowl.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls, then dip each ball into Demerara sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets and bake for 14-16 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 30 cookies.


Pumpkin Spice Cookies

pumpkin-spice-cookiesPeople lose their minds for pumpkin spice this time of year. Lattes, muffins, cakes, Oreo cookies, tortilla chips (seriously)…you name it, it’s been pumpkin spiced and put on display at your local coffee shop or market.

When I baked these cookies, I didn’t intend to call them pumpkin spice, partly because everything is pumpkin spice right now. But having tasted one, there’s really nothing else to call them. You could leave them plain if you like, but the icing really adds a nice extra kick of flavor.

Note: this recipe uses half of a 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree, so you could easily double it for a much larger batch.


For the cookies

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 7.5 ounces pumpkin (half a 15 ounce can)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars.

Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla; mix well.

Slowly add flour mixture and beat until well combined.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 14 minutes, until cookies are set; bottoms will be very light golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, combine powdered sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Add melted butter and milk, then stir to combine; you want a thick drizzling consistency, kind of like the texture of very soft peanut butter.

Place icing in a zip-top bag and snip off the end; pipe drops of icing onto each cookie, then spread with a knife or small offset spatula.

Allow cookies to set before serving; store in airtight containers in single layers at a cool room temperature for up to 2 days. The icing adds plenty of moisture to an already moist cookie, so if you try to keep them longer they’ll get too gooey.

Makes 36 cookies.