I have made these cookies every fall for the last couple of years and they never fail to be crowd-pleasers. I am very biased since I love anything pumpkin-y and vanilla-y, but these cookies are definitely in my Top Ten Best Cookies. You can make the cookies ahead of time and then make the icing on the day you intend to serve them. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
adapted from Martha Stewart's original recipe here
2 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I use organic cultured butter)
2 ¼ cups packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces) (I roast pumpkin, then puree)
¾ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Pure Bourbon Vanilla from Trader Joe's)
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (I use unbleached, organic powdered sugar)
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
3. Using small ice cream scoop, drop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
4. Make icing: Put confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add milk and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more milk, a little at a time. Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.