Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Last week I talked to Martha Stewart.  The Martha Stewart.  You know, the one with the TV shows, magazines, kitchen and home products, the empire, really.  The one I’ve talked about here more than once and have made more than a few of her recipes, which somehow always turn out.  The one I idolize and am sure is one of the biggest reasons why I love baking and making everything from scratch.  Yeah, that Martha Stewart.

I follow her on Twitter and occasionally Tweet her, hoping desperately for a response that never comes.  Sometimes she Tweets that she is live on her Sirius radio show and is taking questions, along with the phone number.  I have and love (seriously love) Sirius radio, but I don’t listen to it when I’m home, so I didn’t really know how this whole thing worked.  Every time I’d see the Tweets, I’d say maybe another day out of fear or lack of time and move on.  This particular day I’d already made a few very, very important phone calls and saw her Tweets at just the right time.  This was the day I was going to give it a try.

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Really, I thought that’s all it would be.  A try.  My days of trying to win contests from local radio stations had taught me busy signals were the norm, and this was a national show from (say it with me) Martha Stewart.  What chance did little old me have of getting through?  Except I did.  A guy answered, asked my name and location, my question, and put me on hold.  I was in, just like that.  OMG!

While on hold, the radio show played.  Each time Martha was wrapping up a call, my heart raced, wondering if I would be next.  I waited about 30 minutes, never knowing when or if my turn would come.  My heart practically beat out of my chest, my hands shook, I burned every calorie eaten the previous week without lifting a finger.  It was torture.  Then my time came.

I told Martha about my blog, including the name.  She brought it up and looked at it, seeming to think the name and tagline were cute.  I asked her for some advice of how to grow my blog, since it often seems like an impossible task.  She told me calling in to shows like that would probably help (not much, unfortunately), and that I should try to connect with local magazines and newspapers and use social media.  I love and appreciate her advice, but it was merely speaking with her that made my day year.  I always hoped I would have a moment to talk with Martha, impress her, but never thought it would actually come.  I’m not sure if I impressed her, but I certainly hope I did.  She seems like such a nice person, and I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity.  It turns out maybe dreams do come true, so now if the universe could just get working on those other dreams I have that would be wonderful.

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

These Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting are a dream come true, and I’d like to think Martha would like them, particularly because they’re made with more homemade pumpkin puree.  And yes, the canned stuff will still work, but I highly recommend trying to make your own puree.  The cookies are super soft and moist with that wonderful pumpkin flavor enhanced by some spices and crunchy pecans.  I made them huge, because I only like huge cookies.  The original recipe called for 60 cookies (they must be so small they’re invisible) and I got 18.  Feel free to make them whatever size you like, just make sure to watch the baking time accordingly.

It’s the penuche frosting that really makes these cookies.  It’s sweet, but not too sweet and never buttery, with a complex caramel flavor that really sings and is one of the best frostings ever.  Paired with the cookie, it’s insane.  These make for a wonderful, easy to make, yet very impressive treat for fall that will make your day, even if not as much as talking to Martha Stewart.

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

5.0 from 3 reviews
Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 to 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Make the cookies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment, or bake in one batch at a time.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together sugars and butter until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add vanilla and egg and mix until once again light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add to butter mixture. Mix until just combined. Add pecans and mix to distribute. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto baking sheets, about 6 large cookies to a sheet, as they will spread.
  4. Bake for about 14 minutes, until cookies are brown around the edges and slightly soft to the touch, rotating halfway through if necessary. I bake 1 sheet per oven at a time, but do what works best in your oven. The other trays can rest while 1 is baking if necessary. Cool cookies completely on sheets.
  5. Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, continuing to stir. Cool for about 10 minutes before adding milk and stirring to combine. Then add confectioners’ sugar in ½ cup increments, mixing in between. Continue adding confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is quite thick, yet still spreadable. I added 2 ½ cups to achieve this. Immediately after frosting is ready, frost cookies or it will harden.
  6. Cookies may be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.
Recipe adapted from Pillsbury


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  1. These are wonderful!

  2. You did great talking to Martha. I think she liked your blog name. At least she called up your blog and read your tagline on the radio. These cookies are so good. They have great spices and are so moist. Love them.

    • Thanks! It was awesome that she saw my blog. I keep hoping maybe she’ll visit again. Glad you liked the cookies 🙂

  3. How great that you got to talk to Martha and even got some good advice. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Your cookies are a perfect fall treat.

  4. What an exciting experience! I love Martha. And these cookies look quite tasty.

    • It was definitely one of the most exciting moments of my life. I still kind of can’t believe it actually happened. These cookies are excellent!

  5. SO freaking cool about Martha Laura! Way to go! 🙂 You’re one lucky duck!

  6. Good for you hun!!! That’s amazinggggg that you got to talk to Martha!

  7. Goodness gracious, you lucky bug. Maybe I’ll go make these pumpkin cookies and keep my fingers crossed (James Franco is teaching in my department this quarter–his mailbox is right next to mine, so maybe I’ll have some celebrity luck too!).

    • Totally make the pumpkin cookies and camp out at your mailbox. Study there, eat there. It would be too cool to meet James Franco; he seems like an interesting guy. Keep me posted on any encounters!

  8. Thank you for introducing a new baking term into my vocabulary! Penuche! Fun to say. And pumpkin cookies are so awesome plain–these must be mind-blowing with penuche frosting 🙂

    • Penuche is awesome. I’ve had penuche fudge, and it is fabulous! The frosting is so yummy alone, and with the cookies, it’s just amazing!

  9. How cool is it that you got to talk to Martha! 🙂 Awesome! BTW, these cookies look great! 🙂

  10. Great recipe.

  11. I was listening to you talk to Martha and that is what brought me to your blog! Love it and your delicious recipes!

    • Thank you so much, Jan! I really appreciate that you visited my blog after listening; I hope you’ll visit often. Thanks also for your kind words about my blog. You made my day 🙂

  12. Oh wow. You talked to Martha Stewart – I am impressed and a little jealous! I love cookies with frosting slathered all over them so I’d probably eat an entire batch of these. If you figure out the secret to how to grow your blog, please share it!

    I was reading your About page – I’m drawn to novel writing as well. Have you done/are you doing Nanowrimo this year? 🙂

    • Thanks for visiting, Li 🙂 I am trying just about everything to grow my blog and it’s just not working. When I figure it out, I will be sure to share. I have never heard of Nanowrimo, but I will have to check it out.

  13. Can half and half be used instead of milk? And can the frosting be refrigerated and thawed?

    • Hi Maggie, Half and half can absolutely be used instead of milk. However, the frosting cannot be refrigerated and thawed. It will become very hard even if left at room temperature for more than a few minutes. It’s very quick to put together though. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you make them 🙂

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