Scott's Parable Christian Bookstore in Red Deer makes the BEST pumpkin cookies with brown sugar, caramel icing on them. It's a perfect rest stop during the drive back and forth between Edmonton and Calgary. A drive I've been doing about once a month.
Red Deer lies smack dab at the half way point of the 3 1/2 hour drive. As you walk in you're greeted by the spicy aroma of freshly made cookies drifting suggestively from the small cafe in the back of the store. It's really hard to resist the temptation of a cookie (or two) and a cup of tea for the remainder of the drive.
After many samples (strictly for scientific taste analysis) I decided these tasty sensations should be reproducible in my own kitchen. The recipes that follow are the result of my Sunday afternoon experiment.
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup mashed pumpkin (just the pumpkin puree, not the pie filling)
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream butter and sugar together and beat in eggs. Mix in vanilla and pumpkin. Add the rest of the dry ingredients including the nuts and mix together well. Grease a cookie sheet and drop the dough by tablespoons onto the pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Once these are cooled mix up the icing. (Do not make the icing ahead of time as it hardens quickly)
BROWN SUGAR CANDY ICING
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
Mix these ingredients in a pot on the stove and bring to a bubbling boil. Stir constantly and boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from stove, add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup icing sugar. The icing will be runny at this point - this is normal.
Beat with a hand mixer until icing takes on a thicker spreading consistency (it will take a while, keep beating it). You can either dip the cookies into the icing or use a spoon to ice them. If the icing thickens too quickly add a little cream to it to thin it out again.
Hint: This icing is good as a caramel fudge, too. Double the recipe and pour the remainder into small pan. Cut into squares and...YUM!