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Pumpkin Spice Roll-out Sugar Cookies. | Life's a Batch

Pumpkin Spice Roll-out Sugar Cookies.

I know it’s the wrong season now, but chalk this up as another entry in the “Never-On-Time” series of posts. πŸ˜‰

I first started dreaming of a pumpkin-flavored sugar cookie last year (Fall 2010). I did a bit of researching, but it seemed that putting moist canned pumpkin into a cookie caused the dough to be too soft for traditional roll-outs. I didn’t have time to practice last year, so my idea was pushed to the back burner instead.

THIS YEAR, however, I put my thinking cap on & approached the idea in a new direction. I had made some dog biscuits & cookies for a friend last February, and I learned something in the process. The dog biscuits called for pumpkin, but when I made the dough, I thought to myself, “This doesn’t smell like pumpkin at all!”

I recalled how, every fall, my pumpkin pies don’t “smell like pumpkin” either until I add some spices. In fact, I don’t think canned pumpkin alone has much of a flavor (fresh is different, of course). However, if you wave a tin of “Pumpkin Pie Spice” in front of my nose, I’m practically drooling with anticipation of the pumpkin-y goodness ahead.

Using that knowledge as my guideline, my Pumpkin Spice dough was born! πŸ™‚

Mini Pumpkin cookies.

And even though there isn’t any actual pumpkin in the dough, I promise your nose will be fooled while these babies are baking! The aroma is absolutely magnificent!

I tweaked my usual sugar cookie dough in a few ways. Instead of all-purpose flour, I decided to use whole wheat flour. The nutty flavor you get from this switch is a PERFECT complement to the spices. If you want a milder flavor, feel free to stick with all-purpose flour as usual.

Additionally, I traded out my granulated white sugar for light brown sugar. I nixed dark brown sugar as an option, deciding the extra moisture from the molasses might be problematic for spreading, and I even split the light brown sugar with organic turbinado sugar as well. The turbinado sugar is the same light brown color, but it is drier, and provides flecks of sweet *crunch* in the cookie, too.

Aren’t these cookies beautiful?!

Pumpkin Spice Sugar cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Sugar Cookies
(recipe by Nicole Cleghorn)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar**
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour**


Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light & fluffy (about 3-4 minutes on medium speed). Add in the turbinado sugar, and cream for an extra minute or so. Add the baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; mix well.

Add the egg & milk; beat well. Add the flour, mixing until well-combined. The dough should be soft & not sticky. Turn out onto sheets of waxed paper & roll. Cut out shapes, and transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat liners. Freeze sheets for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 365Β°. Remove cookies from freezer and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to have a hint of brown. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate with royal icing, if desired. These are FABULOUS plain, too!

** Substitutions:

  • You can substitute regular granulated sugar for the turbinado sugar. You’ll lose those little bits of “crunch,” but the end result is just as tasty. Alternately, you can also use just the brown sugar, but you’ll need to increase it to 1-1/4 cups total.
  • You can use regular all-purpose flour with great results as well. It is not quite as dense as whole wheat flour, so make sure you change the amount to about 3-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour instead.


Mini Pumpkin cookies.

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54 comments on “Pumpkin Spice Roll-out Sugar Cookies.

  1. Your recipe sounds great and the cookies looks fabulous. I added homemade pumpkin pie spice to my Fall sugar cookies and they tasted great (and smelled wonderful baking) but I never changed up the flour and sugars as you did. If these are anything like your chocolate chip cookies than I know you have a winner on your hands πŸ™‚

  2. Teresa on said:

    This look amazing but what is turbinado sugar? Ive never heard of it.

    • Nicole on said:

      Here’s a link for more information:


      Hope that helps! Of course, you could always just use brown sugar
      entirely, but I like the little crunch from the turbinado sugar. πŸ™‚

      • Hi πŸ™‚ when you say that we can use brown sugar entirely…does that mean that we would use 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar? Instead of 3/4?

        • Nicole on said:

          Yes, Hilly. I’ve done it several times both ways now, and you can easily substitute all brown sugar (the full 1-1/4 cups) if you can’t find the turbinado sugar. It’s a very soft, very sweet cookie. πŸ™‚

  3. Samantha on said:

    I die. I need to eat these everyday.
    I LOVE you sweet, sweet Nicole.
    Without you I dwell in pumpkin-spice-less suburbia.
    Thanks so much for sharing your AWESOME recipe.

    Mmmmmm, off to eat more and forget all about swimsuit season πŸ˜‰

    • Nicole on said:

      Oh girl, you kill me. πŸ˜€ I love that you loved them so much, and even cuter, that you used them to make Pumpkin Scone decorated cookies – just genius!

  4. These look AMAZING!! And I LOVE that you made them at least a little healthier with the whole wheat flour. Its August and I am going to have to give these a try. Yum! If I could eat pumpkin spiced things all year long I would be one happy girl!

    • Nicole on said:

      Thank you, Dana! I do hope you enjoy them, and I definitely think the whole wheat flour adds an amazing, nutty taste that just wouldn’t be the same with regular flour. πŸ™‚

  5. Samantha on said:

    I dream about these cookies. I want to eat them everyday!

  6. Melissa on said:

    Would you be willing to share your frosting recipe? Cookies look amazing thanks for sharing:o) Melissa

    • Nicole on said:

      Melissa, I sure would! In fact, I even have a tutorial blog post written, including my royal icing recipe. You can find that here: http://lifesabatch.com/?p=676

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  8. Carol | a cup of mascarpone on said:

    These are so adorable! Just love them! Also like the fact, that they were made with whole wheat flour. Thanks for your research creating a crisp cookie that tastes like pumpkin!

  9. I am a seriously lover of anything pumpkin spice! I tried making these today, but the dough was super sticky and i ended up just rolling them into balls and flattening with a fork. What do you think i did wrong? I even tried adding more flour, but it was a no go…
    Your cookies look beautiful!!!

    • oops i meant serious lover…lol

    • Nicole on said:

      Karen, my first guess would’ve been to add just a bit more flour, too. Perhaps work with a colder butter, or try refrigerating the dough for a bit before rolling out? (I don’t ever do that myself, but I know lots of cookiers in more humid locations sometimes have to adjust recipes in that way.) I can tell you that I always-always-always roll out my dough between sheets of waxed paper, so I never even notice a “sticky” feel, either.

      Hope that helps!

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  11. We really enjoyed making these for fall, and ate them all up in only a couple days. The next batch we decorated with apples and used apple pie spice and 1 tbsp of Cider for the aroma. Thanks for the great recipe! One Question- What icing recipe did you use to get the design in the photo? I’d like to try it.

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks, Kim – I’m glad to hear you enjoyed them so much! The apple version sounds super-yummy as well, and I can’t wait to try YOUR version now! πŸ˜€

      For my icing, I just used my standard royal icing recipe. You can find the link to my recipe here: http://lifesabatch.com/?p=676

      As for the decorating, I used a bit thicker than normal flood, and I simply piped the middle section first, let that dry for about 20 minutes, and then added the two side sections. That gives you a bit of dimension without everything running together, and it is SO EASY! πŸ™‚

  12. How many cookies does this recipe yield? Thanks!

    • Nicole on said:

      Katie, I used a mini pumpkin cutter, and therefore my yield was much higher than usual. I got almost exactly 100 minis out of this batch, but I would estimate about 30 regular “medium-sized” cookies normally.

  13. I made these today along with the royal icing. I’ve never decorated cookies, let alone with royal icing. I understand how you did the sections but my problem was with the icing. It was too thick to start with and wouldn’t even flood. I painstakingly used a toothpick to assist in the flooding and they just looked like poop! LOL! I’m sure it’s much easier so what would you do differently? If I could upload a photo, I would.

    • Nicole on said:

      Sandy, definitely thin your icing down a bit more next time, to a true “flood” consistency (similar to shampoo). Then it just slides right into place! πŸ™‚

  14. …and about how long should it take to ice these cookies, including the wait for the middle section to dry?

    • Nicole on said:

      I’d say about an hour to an hour-and-a-half (depending on your speed, which I realize is also dependent upon your skill). Then let them all dry for at least 8 hours once all sections are flooded.

  15. Mirissa on said:

    These look great! I’m going to try to make them tomorrow and I’m so excited!! I was hoping for a little frosting advice. How did you make the creases on the body of the pumpkin?

    • Nicole on said:

      Hi Mirissa! I simply flooded the middle section first, let it dry for about 20 minutes, and then I flooded each of the side sections. Doing this allows the middle to form a bit of a “crust,” and the icing won’t all run together. Does that make sense?

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  19. Melissa on said:

    These look so yummy!

  20. Jana M. Stankus on said:

    Hi Nichole,
    I am ready to make these cookies!!!! I have 1 question. It doesn’t say how thick to roll out the cookie dough. I have recipes that say 1/8″ thick and others that say 1/4″ thick. I don’t want them to break but I don’t want problems cooking them either. Any assistance will be GREATLY appreciated. I decided not to ice them (this time). Maybe next time. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Nicole on said:

      Hi Jana! I usually roll my cookies between 1/4″ and 3/8″ thick. I think these cookies might have been closer to the 1/4″ thickness because they were minis. Even without icing, I love these cookies! πŸ™‚

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  22. Tiffany on said:

    Hi Nicole,

    I was just wondering if I can freeze these like normal sugar cookies before decorating as I will need them for later but would like to get a jump start. How long do you think they will keep fresh with or without freezing?

    Thanks a bunch!


    • Nicole on said:

      Tiffany, you sure can! Just be sure that they are sealed nice & tight before putting in the freezer, and then be sure to let the container come to complete room temperature before opening (so you don’t expose the cookies to condensation!). Without freezing, I would recommend about 4-7 days; however, I would again keep them tightly sealed in a Tupperware or similar to keep them from becoming dried out while you are waiting to decorate them.

      Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

  23. Today at Target, I bought a container of Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Carmel Apple frosting. I read that someone had made apple cookies and I thought…hmmm why not try this frosting on those cookies. I get in the mood to bake in the Fall, so I will be making the pumpkin cookies, also. πŸ™‚

  24. I made these cookies for a family Thanksgiving, and everybody oudnt stop bragging about them to me! They thought they I baught them from a store they were so pretty and tasted so yummy! I was sceptacle about making them with whole wheat flour…but I was pleasantly surprised! Thanks for the yummy recipe, going to make them again tomorrow!

  25. Brenlynwin on said:

    LOVE this recipe! I’ve made it twice now with half wheat / half white. I love how the raw sugar gives that flavor & crunch! Thank you so much for sharing! Helped make this a great AUTUMN! =)

  26. Claudia on said:

    BEST COOKIES EVER! The dough is SO easy to work with and the taste is just heavenly! Or to quote my daughter: “NOM NOM NOM!”

  27. Franki on said:

    Perfect for sending to my son who loves pumpkin pie!!
    Thank you for you inspiration!

  28. Anne@Have a Cookie! on said:

    I like how you add turbinado sugar to the recipe. I can’t wait until the weather cools off to try it!

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I’m Nicole, and I’m glad you’ve stopped by my little corner of the web! I’m a former Air Force wife whose passions are baking, cookie-making, and photo-taking… all to the benefit of my loves – my family! C’mon in to…read more.


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