There’s a sweet little cafe in downtown San Carlos that serves the most amazing treats. My instincts tell me that originally it started out as a cupcake shop, but has slowly transitioned to a cafe that serves savory and sweet edibles, including cupcakes. The proprietor was smart to name her shop something broad enough to ride the cupcake trend without pigeonholing her brand and ultimately limiting the success of her shop.
Last Saturday I popped in with my daughter on a mission to bring home their amazing maple-glazed oat scones, but also walked out with a pumpkin spice brown sugar cookie. Divine. Soft and cake-like with a swirl of vanilla-spiked brown sugar frosting. Here’s my version.
Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Maple Frosting
These are best served the same day, but can be stored for up to three days in an airtight container. Pumpkin spice consists of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Because I’m crazy for spices, I like to mix my own. If you have this blend on hand, feel free to substitute 2 tablespoons of it in place of the individual spices in the recipe below.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tbsp. maple syrup
Cinnamon for dusting
1. In a bowl, sift together first seven ingredients; set aside. In another mixing bowl, beat butter using a hand-held mixer or standing mixer until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add sugars and beat again for another minute. Add egg and beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated. On low speed, add vanilla and pumpkin puree and combine. Add flour-spice mixture and mix until batter forms, about one more minute.
2. Refrigerate batter for at least 15 minutes. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to half a day.
3. Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove batter from refrigerator and, using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto lined cookie sheet. Each sheet should fit 12 cookies. Dip fingers in water and smooth the tops of each cookie to flatten so that each cookie measures about 1/4″ x 2 1/2″.
4. Bake cookies, one sheet pan at a time in the center of the oven, for 15 minutes. Remove cookies from pan and place on wire rack to cool.
5. To prepare frosting, sift sugar into a mixing bowl to remove any lumps. Add butter and whip on high; slowly add syrup. Whip until frosting is fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. When cookies are cool, spread frosting on cookies and dust lightly with cinnamon.