Typically, I associate all pumpkin goodies with some sort of fluffy cream cheese frosting. This was until recently, when a craving for pumpkin cookies struck but alas, no cream cheese in my fridge. I was far too lazy to go to the store just for cream cheese, so I knew I needed to find a suitable substitute. I found a recipe that involved browned butter frosting, and I was instantly intrigued.
What exactly is browned butter? It involves melting butter just past its melting point, which allows the milk solids to turn brown, and creates a lovely nutty aroma. It really kicks up the flavor of the butter, and works well in baked goods, as well as finishing off veggie or pasta dishes. Here is a great post on how to brown butter.
These cookies were incredible, and I did not miss the cream cheese frosting one bit. The cookies themselves are soft and moist, with a nice pumpkin flavor. The rich buttercream flavor of the frosting balances the spicy cookie perfectly. I took these into work (to prevent myself from eating every last cookie), and they were a huge hit. I tried to avoid walking by the break room so I wouldn’t be tempted, but I definitely gave in a time or two.
Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting
Yields: About 3.5 dozen cookies
For the cookies:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
For the frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 Tbsp skim milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer set to medium speed. Beat in the pumpkin and eggs until well mixed. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.
To make the frosting, combine the powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk in a medium bowl and set aside. In 1-quart saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until light brown. Pour the browned butter over powdered sugar mixture, and beat on low speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Gradually add just enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon milk to make frosting creamy and spreadable. Generously frost the cooled cookies.