November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Walnut Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing + Improv Challenge

These cookies are a must for me each fall, including Thanksgiving.  They are good enough to make twice a season, if you ask me.  I made them a few weeks ago to have them prepared for the Improv Cooking Challenge and I'll be making them again for Thanksgiving. 

A big thank-you shout-out needs to go to Kristen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  She picked up the Improv Challenge, graciously offering to put the time and effort into hosting, and now I can continue joining in on the link-up!

November's ingredients?  Pumpkin and Cream Cheese
There's a super simple recipe for pumpkin cookies out there.  Something about a cake mix and a can of pumpkin and everyone bragging about how easy it is to make.  

That's great.  Really, it is.  For a bake sale, if you're short on time, etc.  I'm certainly not against cake mixes.

But that cake mix pumpkin cookie cannot hold a pumpkin candle to the real thing.  THIS is the real thing. 

If you want to impress people and make them hate you at the same time (those are the emotions most people convey as they're over-eating, right?), make these cookies.  I've taken them places, I've eaten them by the handful, and they've impressed people from PA to Alaska.

Can your cake mix cookie do that??

Oh, and I've discovered the secret to PERFECT cream cheese frosting.

Buy the 8 oz. whipped cream cheese in the tub instead of the block.  They cost the same at my store.  The whipped version blends up in seconds with the butter and powdered sugar.  No lumps!

Pumpkin Walnut Cookies
makes 3 dozen

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. freshly grated lemon peel

2 1/2 cups flour
3 t. baking POWDER
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t. ginger

1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add in the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon peel.  Mix well.

Mix all of the dry ingredients, minus the walnuts, together in a bowl (sifting is suggested, but I usually don't).  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in three batches while mixing at a low speed and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Stir in the walnuts.

Dollop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes.  They should be just starting to brown when you pull them out.

Cool before frosting.

Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting
This will make more than enough for this amount of cookies.  Consider doubling the cookie recipe or halving the frosting recipe.  I halved the frosting recipe.

1 tub of whipped cream cheese (8 oz.)
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 t. vanilla
about 3 cups powdered sugar (I don't like giving exact numbers on the sugar.  You know the consistency you want.)
1 T. meringue powder (Optional, but will help the frosting harden.  Found in the wedding aisle at Wal-Mart)

Cream the butter and cream cheese together, using a hand mixer or the whisk on a stand mixer.  Add the vanilla.  Then, add the sugar until you reach the consistency you want.  Add the meringue powder last.

Frost the cookies as soon as they're cool and refrigerate any leftover frosting.

Also being shared at:
Sweet Treats Thursday
Friday Food
Sweets for Saturday
Sweet Tooth Friday
Coffee and Conversation Thursday
Seasonal Inspiration 
Strut Your Stuff Saturday 
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
A Themed Baker's Sunday


  1. I'm not a huge fan of boxed mixes simply because of all the extra preservatives in them. I cheat and use them sometimes, but like you, I always prefer the real deal!

  2. I have tried the box mix with the pumpkin to make muffins but didn't like the taste at all. My oldest son asked for boxed mix cupcakes for his birthday but then when I made them, no one really liked them. I haven't bought boxed mixes in so long, and now I know why. Filled with yucky stuff. So much nicer and tastier to make things from scratch. Your cookies look tempting and tasty. Bookmarking for future reference. :) Best wishes, Tammy

  3. Hello fellow Improv blogger. Those cookies like so wonderful. Soft and delicious. Come visit us. We have a pumpkin velvet cake.

  4. These cookies sound simply delish, and with any recipe... From Scratch, yes most often it takes a little more time.. but, that little more time shows it's made with love & that you can not get in any box.

  5. Your cookies sound wonderful and I'll bet so much better than the ones from a mix.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Improv Cooking Challenge recipe: Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  6. These look so good - thanks for sharing!

  7. Delicious! I'll have to try these for sure. And thanks for the whipped cream cheese trick. Awesome!

  8. These look absolutely wonderful! I'll have to try your cream cheese frosting! Sounds delicious!

  9. What a great idea to use the whipped cream cheese! Those cookies look really great.

  10. Who wouldn't want those on their dessert table on Thanksgiving day!!?? Thanks so much for linking up!!

  11. Hey! Great Thanksgiving treat!
    Come to A Themed Baker's Sunday where this week's theme is Thanksgiving treats. Be sure to vote on the side bar for next week's theme as well! Happy Holidays!

    Cupcake Apothecary

  12. Your homemade cookies do sound better than the cake mix cookies. And thanks for the tip on buying the whipped cream cheese to prevent lumps! Everything about this is on point. Great pick for the challenge :)

  13. These cookies sound fabulous! The cream cheese frosting sounds like an amazing way to top them off. Great tip on the cream cheese!! What a perfect choice for this month's challenge!!


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