Lovejoy Baker's Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Portland has its fair share of bakeries turning out tasty treats, and one of those is a bakery that I go to so often they probably recognize me by now as I order my large latte and Lovejoy Deluxe breakfast sandwich (if you’re not a vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free-whatever-person and you haven’t tried this sandwich, go.eat it.now.) Lovejoy Bakers opened about three years ago, around the same time that we moved to Portland (coincidence, I think not!), and they always have these pumpkin spice cookies with brown butter icing in the fall.

Now I don’t know why we’re only supposed to eat pumpkin-y desserts in the fall, when a can of pumpkin puree will last several years if stored properly, so what if I want one (or five) of these cookies in February? Or June? Or if my friends think mine taste better than the bakery’s, even though I’ve only slightly changed their recipe? So if you don’t happen to be in the mood to roast a few pie pumpkins to make your own puree (and I don’t blame you; I insist on making many recipes from scratch, but canned pumpkin is one area I skimp on because I think the quality is just fine), stockpile a bunch of cans of pumpkin puree so you can enjoy these cookies anytime of year.

Pumpkin Spice Cookie:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark, but light is fine too)

1 egg

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1 cup Pumpkin puree

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon table salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup toasted walnut pieces

1 cup Currants

Brown Butter Icing:

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Cookie instructions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl using a hand-held mixer), cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the egg, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree.

In a second bowl, combine the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour (pllllleeeease lightly spoon your flour into your measuring cup and then level it off so you don’t end up with too much flour and dry cookies and blame it all on me), baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and sift them into the wet ingredients.

Stir in the toasted walnuts and the currants.

Use an ice cream/cookie scoop that is about 2 inches in diameter. Level off each scoop so that your cookies are all the same size, and then bake 15-20 minutes at 350F, until the edges and bottoms are brown and the middles are cooked through.

Icinginstructions:

In a medium-sized stainless steel saucepan, melt the butter until the milk solids start to turn brown- there should be little flecks of brown at the bottom of the pan when you swirl the butter around the pan. I recommend not using a saucepan with a dark Teflon-coated bottom, otherwise it will be very difficult to tell when the butter has transformed into brown butter or if it has turned into burnt, gross butter.

(brown butter is in the white ramekin)

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the powered sugar to remove any lumps, then slowly whisk in the heavy cream until it is a thick icing, and then whisk in the kosher salt, vanilla extract and brown butter a little at a time until thoroughly combined. Trust me, if you just dump everything all together, you’ll probably end up with brown-butter-with-powdered-sugar-lump-icing, which is not so pretty, though still tasty.

Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the icing while it is still warm, and cool on a rack until the icing has firmed up. I store the finished cookies in the refrigerator, just because I get paranoid about cream icings sitting around at room temperature and possibly not being safe to eat.  This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies.