There are lots of ingredients Saucy will bake with but one of them will never, ever be... pumpkin. She loves the idea of pumpkins and the look of pumpkins, but the taste - not so much. It's just a thing. Maybe it's the slimy parts of the Jack-o'lantern... or maybe it's the texture of pumpkin pie, but it just won't happen.
And before you mention your beloved pumpkin-spiced-chai-coffee-tea-latte-spiced beverage, no. Just no. Pumpkin, ugh.
These are the only pumpkin-related baked goods that will come out of the kitchen. Behold, painted white pumpkin cookies. They're painted to look like pumpkins but they have no pumpkin in them, just mostly sugar and butter... so they're pretty amazing and perfect.
These cookies are rolled thick and bake up sturdy but soft. They're heavily frosted with a cream cheese mixture that hardens perfectly. If you want to paint them, Saucy suggests spreading the frosting fairly thickly across the full, cooled cookie. Using a small paint brush, lightly brush strokes of food colouring paste that has been thinned with a little bit of water across the top. You can do this by dabbing a bit of food colour onto a plate and just sprinkling with a few drops of water. Drag the brush through the water and paste, swirling it a bit. Transfer the "paint" directly to the frosting on the cookie before it dries. You can use the brush to push the frosting around a little bit and add more colour as you go. It creates a really lovely, artistic effect. Before the frosting hardens, sprinkle generously with coarse sanding sugar.
The "white pumpkin" effect was reached by painting the pumpkin bodies with thinned black food colouring gel and the stems were painted with thinned green and black mixed - so do all of the pumpkin bodies first, then use the same brush dabbed with black and add green so the stems aren't too bright.
Thick Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla using the whisk attachment on stand mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time - beating well until mixture multiplies and is light and fluffy.
Sift together dry ingredients. Slowly add dry to wet - you can keep your wire whisk attachment on (no need to switch to paddle) as this is a very soft, pliable dough.
Roll thickly - about 1/4 inch - on a lightly floured surface. Cut pumpkin shape with a cookie cutter or use a knife and template.
Bake at 400 degrees F about 8 minutes.
8 ounces (one package) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
5 cups sifted icing sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Slowly add the icing sugar. Add vanilla, then milk, a half teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired thickness. Adding more milk will make a thinner frosting for the cookies that will "spread" as it dries.
For the cookies above, Saucy was scant on the milk, she likes a thicker, gooier frosting.
This frosting recipe covers two to three batches of cookies as baked above.
After decorating, leave cookies out to harden the frosting for several hours or overnight. These stack up beautifully on trays and look adorable in cellophane gift bags.