Back when I was a little kid and my baking experience was limited to chocolate chip cookies every now and then, I think I may have eaten just as much cookie batter as I baked. (Okay, it probably wasn’t that bad, but you know you did it too).
Now that I’m constantly in the kitchen baking, I rarely eat any batter – for cookies or anything else. Part of it, I have to confess, is a fear of raw eggs. I probably wouldn’t care if I was ignorant to the fact that there were eggs in a specific batter, but if I know it, I’m a lot less likely to eat it. I kinda feel ashamed admitting this, because it does make me feel a little silly, but that’s me. So it’s out there in the open now; all you bowl-lickers can go ahead and make fun of me.
There’s another reason why I try not to eat batter while I’m baking… it’s pretty much always delicious. I mean, even stuff that doesn’t turn out delicious once it’s baked is delicious while it’s raw. It’s an unfair truth about baking. :(
But here’s the point: I’ve eaten cookie dough before, which means I know what it tastes like when you cream together butter and brown sugar. It tastes dang near perfect. And that’s why you’re gonna love these cookies.
These cookies came about because I’m a sucker for cheap finds at the baking store, and a 99 cent pumpkin cookie cutter falls under the category of one of my fun and cheap impulse buys. I didn’t actually know what I’d be doing with it, I just knew that it’s fall and I could use it somehow. So I made sugar cookies, but with a few twists. A little bit of pumpkin just seemed appropriate and makes them oh-so-soft. Cinnamon adds a great sweet and spicy appeal. And swapping regular sugar with brown sugar is pretty much the game-changer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always liked brown sugar 10 times more, and believe me, it’s the way to go here.
There’s one more game-changer though, one that I wasn’t planning but decided on last minute (literally – after the cookies were out of the oven and right before photographing them). They tasted perfect – soft, sweet, everything you’d want in a sugar cookie but with more depth of flavor – but they looked… boring. And unfortunately I can’t photograph taste. So, I whipped up a Brown Sugar Frosting. I was planning on just adding some decoration, but my cookie decorating skills are not very skilled at all. Decoration becomes filling, cookies become sandwich cookies, and the problem is solved. And guess what? The frosting made these already yummy cookies about 10 times more heavenly. And you know what that frosting tastes like? Brown sugar and butter. Creamed together. Unbaked cookie nirvana.
Pumpkin Brown Sugar Sandwich Cookies → dangerously good.
Pumpkin, cinnamon, and brown sugar put a spin on the traditional sugar cookie, making a perfect sweet treat for fall. Sandwich a layer of rich brown sugar frosting between two soft and chewy cookies and you've got a to-die-for holiday dessert!
- 12 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (3 cups, spoon and sweep) (plus extra for rolling cookie dough)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 5/8 ounces brown sugar (3/4 cup, packed)
- 8 ounces butter, softened and cubed (1 cup/2 sticks)
- 1 egg
- 2 ounces canned pumpkin (1/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sprinkles, for decoration (optional)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 5/8 ounces brown sugar (1/4 cup, loosely packed)
- 2 ounces butter, softened (4 tablespoons/1/2 stick)
- 4 ounces confectioner's sugar (1 cup)
- Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor, pulsing together until evenly combined. Add cubed butter and pulse in until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add egg, canned pumpkin, and vanilla extract and pulse until a dough forms.
- Shape the dough into a rough rectangle and wrapped in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Liberally flour a surface for rolling out the dough. Coat the dough with a generous amount of flour as well. Cover the dough with a large sheet of parchment paper and roll out, adding more flour to the rolling surface and dough as needed in the process, to a rectangular shape 1/8" thick (the rectangle doesn't have to be perfect). Cut the rolled dough into shapes using cookie cutter of choice, transferring cut cookies to two prepared baking sheets. While rolling and cutting the dough, return to the fridge or freezer to chill if it gets too soft. On the other hand, if the dough cracks after chilling, let it soften a bit before continuing. I found it helpful to place the dough in the freezer for a few minutes after rolling, before cutting and moving to the baking sheet.
- Once you've cut as many cookies as possible with the rolled-out dough, clump the leftover scraps in a ball, chill if needed, and reroll/cut shapes until all of the dough has been used up.
- Once all cookies have been cut and moved to the prepared baking sheets, top with sprinkles (if desired). Bake in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes, flipping and rotating sheets halfway through the baking time, until the cookies have puffed up and look and feel set on top. They shouldn't brown at all. Allow to cool before adding frosting.
- Microwave milk in a heat-safe container for about 20 seconds, until warm. Add brown sugar and stir in until completely melted.
- Add the brown sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the softened butter. Using the beater attachment, beat on high speed until lighter in color and fluffier in texture. Add confectioner's sugar, mixing in slowly at first and increasing speed to high once it begins to get incorporated into mixture, beat until you have a soft, light frosting.
- Use an icing spatula to spread a thin layer of frosting onto the tops of half of the cookies. Top each frosted half with another cookie.
- Store cookies in an airtight container. Enjoy!