Friday, October 13, 2023

Pumpkin and Honey Cookies

Round pumpkin sugar cookie topped with a powdered sugar/honey icing, with fall-colored sprinkles. Photographed on a wire cooling rack

For those of you who read this blog with any regularity, you likely know that I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin. The flavor is fine, but I find that when I use pumpkin in baking it makes things gummy, and that’s a texture that I don’t like. I came across pumpkin spice spread and thought that it was similar to apple butter, so I figured I could use it in a recipe. This recipe was perfect, and as it contained a small amount of the spread, I wasn’t concerned it would be gummy.

These cookies were originally for Rosh Hashanah, as they contained apple and honey. I do love baking with apple butter, but I figured pumpkin would be just as nice. You could likely use any jam or preservative, and that would change the taste of the cookies, but I think it would be interesting! The pumpkin flavor, or any other flavor that you choose to use, would be very subtle.

I found the dough to these cookies to be quite dry, so I ended up adding an egg yolk to help bind the dough together. The original recipe called for the dough to be refrigerated for an hour, but I’m not sure that’s necessary, as usually dough is chilled to reduce stickiness. These baked up nicely, and the icing is simple. I increased the quantities for the icing as I was running out as I topped the cookies. As I said, the flavor of these cookies is subtle, although the honey adds a lovely sweetness. No matter what, they are the picture perfect fall cookie.

Pumpkin and Honey Cookies
¾ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup pumpkin spice spread
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Egg, if required

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2-4 tablespoon water
Colored sprinkles

In a large mixer bowl, beat the shortening, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until combined. Add the pumpkin spread, cinnamon and vanilla and stir to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt. If the dough seems too dry, mix in an egg yolk or part of an egg to help the dough bind together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Shape the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the dough with the palm of your hand to about ½” thick.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are set and slightly browned on the bottom. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, make the icing: in a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, honey and 2 tablespoons of water. If the icing is too thick to spread, add additional water until it is spreadable.

Spread a small amount of icing on each cookie and top with colored sprinkles.

Recipe from The Monday Box

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