Something pumpkin-esque

A few posts back, a Casual Baker reader wondered aloud whether there was something pumpkin-esque on the way.

Dear student,
I have good news.

Almost immediately after I said there would be no pumpkin on the horizon, the wheels were set in motion to make me a liar. First, my mom arrived with a box of five squash—a sugar pumpkin among them. Hmmm.

Then someone tweeted a list of Hallowe'en-inspired recipes—Legendary Pumpkin Cookies among them. Within hours, said pumpkin was roasting in the oven.

Sarah of In Praise of Leftovers said it best: "These cookies are like little cakes." With their toasted nuts and hint of fall spices, they're a bit like a frosted version of my all-time favourite, the unfortunately named Boiled Raisin Cookie.

Now where's the fire and hot apple cider?

Maple-Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon maple extract (1/2 teaspoon vanilla in the original)
1 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant and lightly toasted. Remove from oven, chop coarsely and set aside. Line the baking sheet with parchment and set it aside too.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and pumpkin puree. Add the egg and mix well. The batter looks somewhat unappetizing at this point, but forge ahead.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add 1 cup of the toasted pecans and stir to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once and stir just until combined.

Drop by tablespoons onto prepared sheet(s). Bake until barely golden (about 10-12 minutes). They should be soft in the centre, but not gooey. Frost the cookies while they are still warm, but not hot.

For the frosting, combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and cool slightly. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.

Use a knife to spread about 1 teaspoon of icing on each cookie, sprinkle immediately with the leftover chopped pecans, and repeat. If the frosting stiffens before you're done, gently re-heat over low heat just until it's spreadable again.

Source: In Praise of Leftovers' family recipe for Legendary Pumpkin Cookies, with a maple twist on the vanilla frosting.