I cannot get enough of these Pumpkin Spice Jack-O-Lantern Cookies. These cookies are packed with pumpkin flavor and sandwiches between two soft, melt-in-your-mouth vanilla sugar cookies. The sugar cookies are not overly sweet, which balances perfectly with the pumpkin spice buttercream and of course the pumpkin pie filling that adds the perfect punch of pumpkin. These cookies are perfect for the season.
- Butter – Creaming the butter and confectioner’s sugar is the first step in making the sugar cookies. This step, while it may not seem like it does much, is one of the most important steps in this recipe. It is the base for our sugar cookies and will impact the end results overall shape and texture of each cookie. Having room temperature butter will give you the best results – cold butter will not combine as easy. Creaming the butter and confectioner’s sugar creates tiny air pockets throughout the mixture which will give the cookie a light, tender texture.
- Egg – Use room temperature eggs – I promise it makes a difference. It takes about 20 minutes for an egg to come to room temperature, otherwise you can place it in lukewarm water fro about 5-10 minutes to speed up the process. Room temperature ingredients combine together so much easier and will give you a better textured end result. The egg in our sugar cookies not only help bind our ingredients together, but the egg will also help to hydrate the ingredients to create a cohesive dough. This will lead to the soft, slightly crisp, chewy texture in our cookies.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – We use confectioner’s sugar in both the sugar cookies and in the buttercream. Starting with the sugar cookies, the confectioner’s sugar seems to raise a lot of eyebrows and people tend to ask “why not granulated sugar?”. Confectioner’s sugar helps to make these cookies extremely tender and soft. These cookies almost lean towards the flavor and texture of shortbread than traditional sugar cookies. The confectioner’s sugar in the buttercream of course helps to make our buttercream smooth and voluminous. Otherwise it’d be a butter, vanilla cream…I’d rather have a regular buttercream with confectioner’s sugar.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – Pumpkin pie spice typically contains cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. These spices together not only smell incredible but they have all the warm toasty flavors of the season. Adding these spices to buttercream pairs so perfectly with these sugar cookies and adds the perfect amount of pumpkin kick in each bite.
- Pumpkin Puree – The pumpkin pie filling is optional in this recipe, but really takes these cookies to the next level. With the different textures of the cookie, the buttercream and then this pumpkin pie filling made from pumpkin puree really just are matches made in heaven.
Do I Need To Chill Cookie Dough?
This recipe really relies on our handy dandy freezers and fridges. Keeping the dough cold and firm will allow us to work with it easier and not lose the shape and integrity of the dough. After rolling out each color of dough, be sure to follow each step accordingly to ensure that our dough stays nice and cold.
Another bonus to chilling dough, and this goes for most cookie dough recipes, AND not to get too nerdy BUT chilling the dough solidifies the fats in butter, or whatever fat you’re using, in the dough. When the cookies bake, these solid fats take longer to melt, which which will help keep our shape of our cookies perfect and will give us a more tender texture.
Coloring Our Pumpkin Spice Jack-O-Lantern Cookie Dough
I wanted two different shades of orange for my pumpkins. You can make as many shades as you want or as little as you want. I will always recommend Americolor Food Gel. A little goes a long way and gives you the most vibrant, beautiful colors. Click here for the link.
This step is optional, but adding Jack-O-Lantern faces to these cookies really takes them to the next level and is sure to “wow” a crowd. I use edible markers that I purchase from amazon. You can find them here. if you’re worried you’re not an artist, you can either skip this step and keep the cookies as they are, super cute festive fall pumpkins, OR you can google different pumpkin faces and practice on paper a few times before taking to the cookies.
More Pumpkin Recipes…
I thrive this time of year, give me pumpkin everything, colder weather, sweaters, and Christmas right around the corner. I hope you enjoy some more of my Pumpkin Recipes like my Pillsbury Pumpkin Cupcakes, the most delicious Pumpkin Banana Bread Muffins With A Cream Cheese Filling, these copycat Pillsbury Pumpkin Sugar Cookies, or Harry Potter Cupcakes.