winter spice cookies with pumpkin cream

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a food blogger potluck hosted by CC of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High. I wanted to make a little dessert to go along with some pesto pasta salad that I made and I decided I wanted to make sandwich cookies – with pumpkin filling!

Except… well. The cookies didn’t come out as planned.

And neither did the pumpkin filling.

But, not wanting to waste my efforts and deciding that the cookies still actually tasted okay, I just went with it. And called them cookies with pumpkin dip. I let people assemble the cookies themselves since my pumpkin filling was way too loose to stay together in the cookie (hence, I called it “dip” instead).

The cookies have similar spices to pumpkin pie – so you could easily use pumpkin pie spice instead or adjust to your liking. The recipe is from a cookbook I got in a reddit gift exchange called One Girl Cookies. It originally calls for twice as much ginger with just a little cinnamon, but I love cinnamon, so I switched up the flavors a little bit.

The first thing that went wrong is that I rolled out the dough too thick. I haven’t rolled out cookies in forever, and for some reason I couldn’t remember what an 1/8th of an inch looks like. The cookies ended up puffing up and getting way too thick for cookie sandwiches, and I ended up splitting them open with a knife to make them sandwich cookie worthy.

The second mistake? Too much pumpkin in my filling. I could have “fixed” it with more powdered sugar, but it already tasted super sweet to me so I didn’t want to go that route. I added about 4 or 5 spoonfuls of pumpkin which was too much, so I adjusted my recipe below to 3 tablespoons, which should be about enough (though test it after two if you want a more cookie sandwich filling rather than a dip).

All in all though, the cookies were still pretty tasty. The cookies have a gingerbread-like flavor and spice and are a bit crunchy on the outside and softer in the middle (especially if you make a boo-boo and don’t roll them out thin enough like I did!).

With a few adjustments and following the directions a bit better, I think these would have been perfect. But, they were still a pretty tasty “mistake” cookie which luckily everyone seemed to enjoy anyway! I bet I could have said I meant to do a dip on purpose, but I’m a little too honest for my own good sometimes.

Winter Spice Cookies
(adapted from One Girl Cookies)

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pumpkin Filling

1/4 cup cream cheese (room temperature)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons of pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)

1. Combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2. Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.

3. With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and then 1/4 cup of water to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix for 30 seconds, scrape the bowl down and repeat this step one more time (another 1/3 of the flour and another 1/4 cup of water). Add remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined (some of it will not be fully mixed in).

4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until all flour has been incorporated into the dough – about 30 seconds. Divide dough in half; cover second half in plastic wrap and set aside.

5. Use a sheet of wax or parchment paper on a work surface and put your dough on top. Flatten dough slightly and top dough with a second sheet of wax paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out between the wax paper to about 1/8 inch thickness (which is pretty thin!). Repeat with the other half of the dough. Transfer the dough (still smooshed between the wax paper) to a baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes (I chilled it in the freezer for 15 minutes).

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Remove dough from the fridge and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. I just used a knife to cut squares. Reserve any scraps of dough to reroll for more cookies.

8. Bake cookies for 16-18 minutes, until a dark golden brown around the edges. Let cool.

9. For the filling, combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes – until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix until incorporated. Add confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time – mix for 1 minute on medium speed until incorporated. Mix together on low speed for another 2 minutes until smooth.

10. Assemble cookies with a dallop of pumpkin filling – or, set out as a dip!

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