When I was a child, the thought of eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving caused me to squirm in my chair at the kid’s table and feel anything but thankful. If a slice was forced upon me, I gingerly spooned the dollop of whipped cream into my mouth and silently counted down the days until the Christmas fudge would appear. Pumpkins were for picking from patches and transforming into jack-o-lanterns. I had scooped out one too many pumpkins in all their ooey-gooey glory and consuming them was the last thing I wanted to do. Pumpkins had guts, seeds, pulp, slime and stringy stuff. The fact that they are in the squash family did them no favors, in my mind. Neither did the "Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater" nursery rhyme. So, for many years, I kept a cautious distance from any pumpkin baked good.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I was now a mom to my own little pumpkin--my son. At a play date, we were offered pumpkin bread. My toddler gobbled it up. I politely took a slice and surprisingly was hooked. Now every autumn, as soon as the flip-flops are stashed away and an extra blanket tops our beds, my family anticipates the delight of pumpkin treats.
One of our tried and true favorites is Pumpkin Walnut Cookies. These cookies are moist and cake-like. They are full of pumpkin pie flavor and topped with cream cheese frosting. The cookies are made with canned pumpkin, as well as butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chopped walnuts.
To start, heat the oven to 350°F. Combine the softened butter, brown sugar and sugar in a large bowl.
Beat the ingredients at medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until the mixture is creamy.
Add the canned pumpkin, egg and vanilla.
Now, beat again until everything is well mixed.
Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. If you do not have pumpkin pie spice on hand, cinnamon makes an excellent substitution.
Beat, scraping the bowl often, until everything is well mixed.
Stir in 1 cup of walnuts. I have made the cookies without nuts and they are fabulous, as well.
Now that the dough is mixed, drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. The recipe yields 5 dozen cookies and that is exactly how many I made.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until they are set. Cool the cookies completely.
Now for my favorite part, the frosting! The frosting ingredients include powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Walnuts can be added as a garnish once the cookies are frosted.
To make the frosting, combine all the ingredients except walnut pieces in a medium bowl.
Beat at a low speed, scraping the bowl often, until the frosting is smooth. It will start out very crumbly. Be patient! I added about ½ tablespoon of milk to thin the frosting and make it easier to spread.
Once the cookies are cool, frost away!
Top with walnut pieces, if you wish.
My three kids have all been pumpkin eaters from the start, unlike their stubborn mom. We all share in the goodness of this tasty treat. Like prized pumpkins in a patch, these cookies get snatched up quickly.
Make Pumpkin Walnut Cookies for yourself and see how delicious pumpkin can be in a cookie.
Check back in a few days when Mallory will share a new idea for a Thanksgiving potato side dish.
Tami is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.