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Best Cookie Recipes: Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting Recipe
Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting Recipe
This Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Frosting recipe is my new favorite thing. Unlike the rest of the pumpkin-obsessed world, I have never been all that crazy about it. Sure, I’ll eat it if it is there, but I don’t go out of my way to track it down. Until this recipe for soft pumpkin cookies, that is. This is fall in a cookie. Comforting and homey.

Don’t let the word “penuche” throw you. According to, it’s a type of fudge! You pronounce penuche like [puhnoo-chee]. Exactly how it looks, don’t you think? It’s supposedly a regional thing, popular in places like the southern United States and the New England states. Now in Indiana, too, after all of you get yours hands on this one! Penuche is typically made with brown sugar, cream or milk, butter, and nuts.

Although there aren’t any nuts in the easy to make boiled frosting, the rest of it fits that description perfectly, especially if you choose to include nuts in the cookie dough itself, which is listed as an option. It is prepared much like the fudge recipes in that, if you noticed my mention of it above, it is a boiled frosting. It is just a brown sugar frosting that perfectly complements these delicious pumpkin beauties.

These are a lovely pumpkin cookie. Use a cookie dough scoop to guarantee a uniform appearance. It is one of my most treasured kitchen gadgets and so much easier than using to teaspoons to dole out the dough. In case you are curious (Amazon Affiliate link ahead, and please, take a moment to see how I use Amazon Wishlists to support local), this is the exact cookie dough scoop I own. It is OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop. Think beyond cookie dough. I use this scoop for things like meatballs and no bake cookie dough balls and anything else that I want to have a uniform appearance (and maybe don’t want to have to use my hands).

My husband, Jeremy, and I can’t stop eating these delectable pumpkin cookies. We can’t! Someone take them away! They are so soft and have just enough pumpkin flavor to make me almost ready to welcome in fall. Almost. Okay, not really. I hate saying goodbye to flip-flops, backyard cookouts, front porch swings, and visiting all kinds of parks in the state…but I guess I will get over it eventually.

The only change I made to this awesome recipe from (Amazon Affiliate link) Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook (which you absolutely must track down and buy because it is always my go to choice for amazing cookie recipes) is to use pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon only because I was out of cinnamon. How did I manage to do use it all up and not notice? Does anyone else go through mass amounts of cinnamon too? Or am I the only one? Just the same, I think I might just keep the substitution. We love the way they turned out–and so did our two boys.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Best Cookie Recipes: Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes

Yield: 5 Dozen Cookies

Serving Size: 1 Cookie



Best Cookie Recipes: Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

From PIllsbury's Best Cookies Cookbook. A wonderful, WONDERFUL cookbook! Add it to your "must get" list!


  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Butter or Margarine, Softened
  • 1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon (I subbed in Pumpkin Pie Spice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cups Chopped Nuts (Optional)
  • Frosting:
  • 3 Tablespoons Margarine or Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Cups Powdered Sugar


  1. 350* oven.
  2. Cream Sugars and Butter.
  3. Add Pumpkin, Egg, and Vanilla Extract. Mix well.
  4. Throw in Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, and Salt. Mix well.
  5. Stir in Nuts, if using.
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls (I used 1 1/2 Tablespoon cookie scoop size) onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake 350* for 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  8. Remove from sheets and cool.
  9. In medium saucepan, combine Brown Sugar and 3 Tablespoons Butter.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until it has thickened slightly. Stir constantly.
  12. Cool 10 minutes.
  13. Add Milk and beat until smooth.
  14. Beat in Powdered Sugar until frosting has reached a suitable spreading consistency. Frost on cooled cookies.


I subbed in Pumpkin Pie Spice for the Cinnamon with great results! I do not use the nuts, either.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of little More than a website, little Indiana is a PBS segment on the state-wide program "The Weekly Special," a bi-weekly column in a local newspaper, and soon to be a book! Look for "little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" published by Indiana University Press in early 2016--just in time for Indiana's BIG 200th Birthday Celebration! Jessica Nunemaker is happy to speak about small towns, creating community, or Indiana tourism at your next event, large or small.

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One comment

  1. Wow! Your delicious fall cookies look so yummy.

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