Fall has been in full swing for about a month now, and I’ve resisted the urge to make Halloween- or harvest-themed cookies, so I decided this past weekend was high time that changed. I love looking at and eating cutout cookies, but I absolutely hate rolling them out. While I think I like decorating them, the amount of swear words flying around my apartment during the process really suggests otherwise. Still, I attempt them from time to time. I bought some new cookie cutters (the skull cookie cutter is similar to these) a month ago that I’ve been dying to use, and pumpkin spice cream cheese recently appeared in the cold section of my grocery store, so the time seemed right.
I based these cookies on this recipe for White Velvet Cutouts on Allrecipes. The original recipe is excellent, and you should try it as written, too. I use it to make snowflake cookies for Christmas which are quite a hit. The cookies hold their shape well during baking, and they taste good plain and decorated. They’re also easy to roll (as far as rolling cookie dough goes), so that’s another plus. Just be sure to refrigerate them overnight and keep the dough cold while you work, and you’re sure to have nicely-shaped, delicious cookies in no time!
If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice and don’t want to buy it, you can make your own by following this recipe. I used the Wilton recipe for royal icing for decorating, but this recipe is good if you’re only looking to glaze your cookies and/or can’t use egg whites. Sprinkling the cookies with decorating sugar or sprinkles before they’re baked also works nicely.
You will need the following ingredients:
For the cookies:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 oz. pumpkin spice cream cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk (here’s a tutorial on separating eggs)
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar or all-purpose flour for dusting
- royal icing for decorating (optional)
- colored sugar for decorating (optional)
For baking ambiance:
- I decided to dust off some Red Hot Chili Peppers this weekend after remembering that I did, in fact, own some of their albums. It added a good dose of energy, which is important when you’re attacking a cold chunk of cookie dough with a rolling pin. The occasional somber song also helped to lower my blood pressure when said evil chunk of dough proved to be a major frustration.
Now let’s make some pumpkin cookies!
In a small bowl, stir together the flour and pumpkin pie spice.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until it looks fluffy.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla to the creamed butter, cream cheese, and sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth.
Stir in the spiced flour until a dough forms.
Separate the dough into two portions, form them into flat discs, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap (or put them in resealable plastic bags). Refrigerate the dough overnight. If you can’t wait a whole night, be sure to refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours. Otherwise, it will be difficult to work with and your cookies may spread, which kind of defeats the purpose.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Sprinkle your work surface with powdered sugar or flour (I prefer powdered sugar over flour because adding too much flour to your dough can make the cookies tough). Roll out one of your dough discs until it is just under ¼” thick. Be sure to rotate the dough as you roll it to prevent sticking. Cut the dough into whatever shapes you want using cookie cutters or a knife and transfer the cookies to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (do not use butter). If you are using decorating sugar without frosting, add it now so it will stick.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown.
Leave the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheets, then remove them to cooling racks to cool completely.
When your cookies are fully cooled, decorate them with your icing of choice or eat them plain (they’re delicious either way).
You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Pumpkin Spice Cutout Cookies