Pumpkin cookies with orange icing are unbelievably soft and pillowy with a sweet, delicious icing that hardens on top. These addictive cookies are perfect for fall!
The kiddos have a long fall break weekend, and we are kicking it off today with some apple picking.
We go to a pumpkin patch each fall, but this is our first family trip to an apple orchard. I can’t wait!
The weather is looking a little iffy, but we’ll make it work. And then I’ll have a busy weekend of finding ways to use all the apples! (Homemade slow cooker apple butter is a definite must. And I’ll be gifting some to my dad, who loves the stuff. After that, we shall see… 🍎❤️)
But let’s move on to today’s recipe.
It’s a little mini pumpkin week here on Family Food on the Table.
Earlier this week I shared Pumpkin Rice Krispies, which are a really cute and festive snack idea for fall and Halloween. (Not just for kids either; adults love them, too!)
Today, we’re doing pumpkin in a different way with these pumpkin cookies with orange icing.
This is a recipe I got from a coworker at my old job probably 15 years ago. She brought them in every fall, at least once, and we all adored them.
They are unbelievably soft and pillowy and just sorta melt in your mouth. The cookies have just the right touch of pumpkin flavor too – it’s present, but mild.
That orange icing is killer, too, and just complements the pumpkin cookie so perfectly. Those flavors are just made for each other.
They are irresistible in the dangerous sort-of way! It’s definitely one of my favorite things to take to fall get togethers or parties – or when the neighbor kids are around – so that I don’t just sit there and eat them all myself!
OK, let’s get to baking.
Now, I’ve got some notes and tips coming up below on how to make pumpkin cookies. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making pumpkin cookies:
- Flour: I’ve only ever made these with all-purpose flour but you could try them with white wheat flour or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flours if you like.
- Shortening: I don’t normally use it either, but you really need to get some for this recipe. Bonus – you’ll have it on hand and ready to go for all your Christmas cookie needs.
- Pumpkin: You will need a little less than a full can of pure pumpkin puree for this recipe. Save the rest to use for overnight oats or another recipe.
- Size: These cookies are meant to be small. You’ll just need a small rounded spoonful of batter for each one – basically a heaping tablespoon or so.
- OJ concentrate: The icing recipe calls for frozen, thawed orange juice concentrate and just a tablespoon. It might be okay to substitute orange juice (though it’s not as sweet), but I haven’t tried that.
Tip on the icing: It should be very thick. It should not drizzle off of your spoon, it should drop in large dollops because it’s so thick.
We are not drizzling it over the cookies, we’re putting a small amount on top and letting the icing harden on the cookies, without running over the edges.
I’ve listed in the recipe card to start with just a small amount of milk to help the icing come together so it stays thick.
If you add too much milk and it seems too thin, just add in more powdered sugar until it firms up.
Also to note, the yield here can vary, depending on how big you make your cookies, but I usually get 40-42 cookies.
Any extras should be stored in a covered container at room temperature. They’ll be good for up to a week.
It helps to layer them with wax paper in between, if you are stacking them, because the icing can stick to the bottom of another cookie and then they fall apart. Still delicious, but not quite as pretty.
I really hope you give these a try. I think they will be a new favorite in your house, as they’ve been a long-time favorite in ours.
If you do make them, please leave me a comment below or tag me on Instagram – I love seeing and hearing about your creations!
For the cookies:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the orange icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk of choice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up. OK to skip and just use ungreased baking sheets if you don’t have any.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In a medium bowl, beat the sugar, shortening and butter with a mixer on medium low speed (or use a stand mixer), until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla to the bowl with the butter mixture and beat until well incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, stirring with a spoon to incorporate with each addition. The cookie dough will be thick.
- Spoon the cookie dough onto the baking sheet, using about a spoonful or a heaping tablespoon for each cookie. The cookies are meant to be small.
- Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until puffed on top and lightly browned on bottom.
- Let the cookies cool completely before topping with the icing.
- To make the orange icing: Combine the powdered sugar, orange juice concentrate and 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix well and add another 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of milk, as needed, but go easy. The frosting should be very thick - you should not be able to drizzle it off of your spoon.
- Once the cookies are cooled, add about a teaspoon of the icing to the top of each cookie and carefully spread out with a spoon. The icing should be thick enough that it doesn’t run off the cookies, it just hardens on top.
- Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week. It helps to layer the cookies between wax paper so they don’t stick together or pull the icing off of the other cookies.
Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 112Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 57mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g