I asked her whether she had ever tried pumpkin cookies. She wagged her head "no". I hadn't either until I encountered this recipe. I told her that if she was a purveyor of fine things pumpkin, she must give these a whirl.
As with many other food items I've written about in The Newfangled Country Gardener, this recipe for Easy Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese-Pecan Frosting had secured a place of honor in my fall recipe binder but had remained there, untried, for several years. Well, this was my year!
I loved everything about this recipe—especially the close-to-Thanksgivingy smell that invades the kitchen when these delectable little cookies are baking. I also love the tip that was provided at the end of the recipe (which appeared in my Kroger grocery circular some years back): the fact that you can substitute fresh pureed or canned pumpkin puree for half the oil in many brownie, muffin, and sweet-bread recipes.
Considering that at the outdoor market yesterday I brought home six mini pumpkins and one large one, I'll have pumpkin puree to substitute for oil in recipes for a very, very long time.
I plan to give a tray of these to a neighbor at Thanksgiving, take some to my kids on an upcoming visit, and put a few on my Thanksgiving table for our family. They are wonderful!
Easy Pumpkin Cookies
1 box spice cake mix
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree (or 1 cup canned pumpkin)
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel (cream-cheese substitute) cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl stir together all ingredients until well blended. Drop by the teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets; press down cookie batter with a fork that has been dipped in sugar substitute. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on rack. While they cool, make cream cheese frosting by beating cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until the mixture is creamy. Gradually add sugar and salt; beat until blended. Stir in vanilla. When cookies are cool, frost with Cream Cheese-Pecan Frosting. Sprinkle on chopped pecans. Makes 3 dozen cookies.