Say hello to the cookie of the season, and between me and you, I think melt-in-your-mouth would be a major understatement! These little pumpkin gems are cake-like cookies (think cupcake tops) filled with warm spices, a top-secret ingredient, and topped with Baileys cream cheese frosting!
I know, I died a little too!
So it turns out there’s about a million pumpkin cookie recipes floating around out there, but they always seemed to be lacking a little something to me. There were a few I liked, but none I really wanted to commit too. Um, are we still talking about cookies, or did we just switch to dating?
But cookies, these cookies evoke commitment! It turns out that the magic ingredient ingredient, aside from the booze (we’ll get to that in a minute) is espresso powder. How did I not think of it sooner? It’s one of the most beloved ingredients in my kitchen. I swear, I sprinkle that in recipes and you’d never even know. It’s just one of those “make lots of things taste better” kind of ingredients.
The first big tip when making these is to add the espresso powder with the butter and sugar, and let it mix and mingle and do its thing. Once you finish making the cookie batter and taste it, you’ll get a hint of it, but you don’t really get a strong coffee taste once the cookies are baked. You’ll know something is in there beside the usual suspects like cinnamon and nutmeg, but it’s not pronounced. What it does is deepen the flavors already happening, add additional depth and warmth to the situation, and pretty much feel like a hug.
I’m thinking of delving into the greeting card business next. Thoughts?
Now that I’m letting all my deep- dark secrets out, I feel like I should also tell you that I do not like PSLs. I know, it’s kind of like breaking some code, but I just don’t think they’re anything to write home about.
Now pumpkin coffee, that’s something to write home about, and these cookies are my ode to pumpkin coffee.
Because that’s how I roll.
You know I love the Baileys, especially in baked goods, and especially in and very possibly with these cookies 🙂 Coffee and pumpkin is a no-brainer, but adding a dash, okay more like a splash, of silky Baileys to the cream cheese frosting is the icing on the cake, I mean cookie!
You’re going to slather on a good dollop of frosting, sit back, relax and bask in one of those all is right in the world moments. If you want to zhush these gems up even more, sprinkle them with additional cinnamon, or espresso powder, or go crazy and add both. I also like garnishing them with a few chocolate covered espresso beans when serving at a party so guests are aware there’s coffee floating around in there.
Please make these this weekend, or today. It’s a fantastic excuse to break out the good stuff, even on a Tuesday! I’ve also got some extra tips & tricks in the notes so make sure to give them a read before you dive in.
Happy baking! xo
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 ounces (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- Light pinch of salt
- 2 - 3 cups powdered sugar (see notes)
- 4 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar, and espresso powder on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add egg followed by vanilla bean paste, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Add pumpkin.
- Mix in dry ingredients until combined.
- Place heaping tablespoons of cookie batter 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. I used a cookie scoop yielding 1 ounce portions of batter.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add salt and powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, so you don't have a sugar shower. I suggest starting with 2 cups of powdered sugar, adding the Baileys and then adjust to your taste.
- Add Baileys and continue mixing until well incorporated, about 3 minutes.
- Adjust frosting to your taste ( I usually end up using about 2 & 1/4 cups powdered sugar) and frost cookies.
- Sprinkle with additional cinnamon and/or espresso powder, and serve immediately.
I use a cookie scoop (small ice cream scoop) yielding 1 ounce portions to scoop cookies.
Be aware that bake time will vary depending on the size of the cookies.
Store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. I found they tend to dry out a smidge in the fridge.
If you want to make these ahead, I suggest baking the cookies, storing them in a container and frosting them the next day before serving.
When making the frosting, the amount of powdered sugar you add will depend on how sweet you want it and how thick you want the frosting to be. I usually end up using about 2 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar. For these cookies, I prefer a softer frosting that just kind of drapes over the cookie and let's the baileys shine.
Alcohol can be omitted and I would suggest adding 2 Tablespoons heavy cream in place. You can add a dash of espresso powder or cinnamon to the frosting if you'd like.