October 27, 2008

Until recently, the most Halloweenish things to happen to me this fall had been (1) a Sunday afternoon with a pumpkin that ended in gobs of roasty orange puree and quite a few baked goods and (2) an unfortunate walk home from the market after dark involving a jet black cat prancing across the sidewalk directly in front of us. Beyond that, I couldn’t get all that into the spirit. We had no costumes, no parties and, in our fourth floor condo, we’d surely have no trick-or-treaters.

But, then I got an e-mail from a few food blogging friends. They were planning a mini-Halloween event and wanted to know if I wanted in. Ever since, I’ve been dreaming up the perfect Halloween treat to bake (in the end, I settled on these iced pumpkin-walnut cookies, drizzled with cream cheese icing) and the Halloween spirit has taken hold.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

We now have a party on Friday (thank you, Brynn) and costumes planned (sadly, my brilliant idea to dress in black and white and red (all over) and tell people we were dressed as “The Punchline” was deemed “too high concept”). My office has even gotten in the spirit: Friday has been declared a Jeans Day (a Very Big Deal, in the halls of a law firm) and I have added myself to a list of associates who have agreed to offer treats in their offices on Friday afternoon for trick-or-treating lawyers.

But, best of all, we get to do some virtual trick-or-treating right now! You see: you’ve visited my blog (we’ll call it knocking on my door, shall we?), collected a treat (these cookies) and now it’s time to scamper on down the block to these lovely ladies’ blogs (click on the photos to take you there), where you’ll fill your goodie bag with even more treats:

Sue's Butternut Squash Cupcakes

Sue's Butternut Squash Cupcakes

Tiffany's Bewitched Caramel Apples

Tiffany's Bewitched Caramel Apples

Amy's Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bars

Amy's Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bars

Before you leave, though, let me tell you about these cookies, because they’re really lovely. First, they’re lightly (and naturally) orange—the color of the hour—and drizzled with a zig-zag of cream cheese icing. They’re also crisp on the outside, with a nice, chewy interior that’s studded with chopped toasted walnuts. Finally, they are gently sweet and intensely warm, thanks to the very generous dose of fall’s favorite spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and cloves. Really, I wish I could actually give you a little bag full of the cookies, but the recipe will have to do for now.

Now, run along, trick-or-treat away. Sue, Tiffany and Amy are expecting you!

Iced Pumpkin-Walnut Cookies
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

  • For the cookies:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts For the glaze:
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp. milk, plus more as needed

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the cookies, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium-low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the brown and granulated sugars, increase the speed to medium and beat until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the pumpkin mixture in two additions, beating well after each addition and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the walnuts.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared pan, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the pan, then transfer them to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

To make the glaze, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and the 2 1/2 tsp. milk and beat until smooth, adding more milk as needed. The glaze should be thick but pourable.

Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cookies. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Makes 36 cookies.

16 Responses to “Trick-or-Treat”

  1. eggsonsunday Says:

    Yummy yummy! Love the white icing against the very autumny orange cookies…they look and sound delicious! Happy (early) Halloween! 🙂 -Amy

  2. Tiffany Says:

    They look delicious, and I love your beautifu photos. I can relate to the sad feeling of having no trick-or-treaters; we live in a condo too. Ah well, the virtual trick-or-treating will have to do this year!

  3. Brynn Says:

    Ooh! I love the idea of these. I can’t get enough of the “spicy” cookies…chewy molasses, crispy gingersnaps, etc. I am sure that I would devour these pumpkin guys. And cream cheese icing doesn’t hurt, either. See you Friday…can’t wait to see what costume you come up with!!

  4. ovenhaven Says:

    I love the new blog layout! And that drizzle of icing is perfection 🙂

  5. sue bette Says:

    I am also in a condo – but I am kind of relieved, I think that makes me the person who shuts all their lights off and bunkers down : (
    These look like a perfect treat to bring into work, fun, festive, and easy to transport. I love the zig-zag icing finish.

  6. Emily Says:

    Ohhh… so excited. I made your pumpkin chocolate chip bread just last night, although there is scant evidence of it today. So good. I am definitely going to try these cookies (and Amy’s bars, too!)

  7. Amy: Thanks! I thought about throwing some dark chocolate chips in along with the walnuts, but in the end decided against it. I guess I’ll just have to try your bars to get the pumpkin-chocolate fix!

    Tiffany: You know, we lived in a garden apartment (!) before this and we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters there either. Sigh.

    Brynn: Oh, no! Have I raised expectations? Shoot. Let’s be honest: we’re all excited to see what you and Corey dream up this year. See you Friday!

    sue bette: I can’t wait to try your cupcakes! Any reason to use more butternut squash …

    Emily: Yay, so glad you liked it! I was worried after the almond poppy seed flop. See you Friday!

  8. Julia Says:

    I’ve got a sugar pumpkin just waiting for me to turn it into puree and further into some sweet seasonal baked goods – i might try these cookies or your pumpkin chocolate chip bread!

  9. ingrid Says:

    Trick or Treat!

    How fun! Thank you for the lovely treat. I’ll need at least five cookies please as my (3)babies will want one also and none of us share very well. Okay, I don’t share well and I don’t want to split up my two cookies between the four of us. It’s okay. They know Mama don’t share her dessert! LOL!

    Anyway, hope you have a Scary-licious Halloween! Glad you were able to find the “spirit”!

  10. Dawn in CA Says:

    What fun! Thanks for the links to the other bloggers’ “houses” — I did visit to pick up my treats. And about these cookies — YUM. I am actually glad you didn’t add chocolate. As much as I looove chocolate in almost any form, pumpkin and walnut together strike me as a much yummier combination. Call me old- fashioned. I’ll try these out this weekend.

  11. Betsy Says:

    Yum – these look great! I may just have to bake them on Friday while waiting to see if anyone comes to our little-cottage-in-the-woods door.

  12. Robin Says:

    Ohhhh, I really want one right now. And I’m going to pout without it. 😉

  13. Julia: I envy you and your pumpkin! Have fun …

    ingrid: I don’t share well either. : )

    Dawn in CA: I hope you do! Let us know what you think.

    Betsy: That sounds like a lovely Halloween, actually.

    Robin: I know from experience that pouting is a very effective method. : )

  14. Tracy Says:

    This look really nice and sound great. By the way you have been tagged on my site.

  15. Carly Says:

    Delish! I made these cookies and the pumpkin chocolate chip bread over the weekend to rave reviews. Thanks for making look like I know what I am doing in the kitchen…

  16. Tracy: Thanks!

    Carly: Yay! I’m so glad you liked the recipes!

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