Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Inspired by Fall: Pumpkin Cookie Cups

I know it's fall when there's a change in air, when the leaves start to change, and when my husband turns on the TV during dinner. There's only one reason he would watch TV at the dinner table - FOOTBALL. Yes, I know fall is here because the sound backdrop in our house is referee whistles, cheering and players grunting. Our Sundays are planned around what time the Vikings are playing.

While my husband loves fall because of football, I love fall because of pumpkin. I get to plug in my Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Wallflower from Bath and Body Works, drink pumpkin lattes from Caribou and bake pumpkin bread, bars, and muffins.

I recently had an idea for a cookie with pumpkin. I was inspired by a recipe I found in my clippings for a Pumpkin Dip (very much like this recipe from Libby's). It's made with canned pumpkin, cream cheese, powdered sugar and spices. It's perfect for dipping ginger snaps, graham crackers or apple slices. I thought it would be great to incorporate it into a cookie somehow and thought of cookie cups. I've made cookie cups before, where you bake the cookies in a muffin tin and then press them into cups right out of the oven. Filled with this pumpkin-cream cheese mixture it would be delicious. So, it should be easy right?

Well, the cookie part was pretty easy. I didn't have any trouble. I decided to use my mom's Nutmeg Sugar Cookie recipe as the base. I figured it would work great since it is a more firm cookie and the cups would hold their shape. It did work great, so now I had to figure out how to make the pumpkin filling. I thought I would make half a batch of the Pumpkin Dip and be good to go. Not so fast! It turns out the the dip was waaaay too runny for the cookie cups. It's great for dipping, not so much for filling. So I had to start over. I ended up using a lot less cream cheese and pumpkin than originally anticipated. I wanted a frosting-like texture, so I used frosting recipes as guidelines. Only 1/3 cup pumpkin was needed. It's pretty amazing that only that little amount of pumpkin gives that much flavor, but it does. I tasted it before adding the spices and sure enough, it's pumpkiny!

Here is my original recipe. Enjoy these cookies and enjoy the fall season!

Dianne's Pumpkin Cookie Cups
(This is not a low-FODMAP recipe)
makes approx. 32 cookies

Cookie Cups:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk

Pumpkin Filling:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
3 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
Optional decoration:
ground cinnamon or chopped nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease mini-muffin pan(s).
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg (optional) and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and milk and mix until combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until dough comes together.
  4. Roll dough into 1 Tablespoon-size balls and place a ball into each cup of muffin tin. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until edges start to turn a golden-brown. Remove from oven and let sit 1 minute. Using the back of a rounded teaspoon measure, press a well into each cookie. Let cookies cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack. It helps to give the cookies a little twist as you lift them out. Cool completely.
  5. To make the filling, mix the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the pumpkin and mix until smooth. Continue mixing while adding the remaining confectioners' sugar. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Spoon or decoratively pipe the pumpkin mixture into each cookie cup. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon or chopped nuts for decoration if desired.
Making cookie cups


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  2. How did you get that brown crust on the outside of the cookie cups?

    1. I used a non-stick cooking spray on the mini muffin pan. I think this helps to brown the cookies.

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  5. I want to try this recipe but am wondering if I use "Betty Crocker pumpkin spice cookie mix" instead..will it overpower the taste of the cookie as a whole?

    Thank you!

    1. That would be a lot of pumpkin spice flavor, but if you like that, then go for it!