The pumpkin puree lends a lightness to the texture and gives it enough moisture to stave off the dryness that tends to plague traditional black-and-whites.
I find buttermilk powder to be a very useful pantry staple and good substitute for buttermilk in baking. If you'd prefer to use fresh buttermilk you can substitute 3/4 buttermilk for the water and buttermilk powder used here.
I used Trader Joe's pumpkin pie spice here, which includes cardamon and lemon peel in addition to the traditional cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
The frosting recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
- Active time: 1 1/2 hours
- Total time:2 hours
- For the Cookies
- 3 cups (13.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice blend
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 3/4 cup (5 1/3 ounces) light-brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree (one can)
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- For the Frosting:
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 2 ounces high quality unsweetened chocolate
- 3 tablespoons Dutch cocoa
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, buttermilk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Alternate adding flour mixture and pumpkin puree until combined and thoroughly blended. Slowly add in water and vanilla mixing until well combined. Add egg and mix until just combined.
Scoop batter by the heaping tablespoonful and drop on parchment paper then use the back of the spoon to smooth into a slightly flatten perfect circle about 2 inches in diameter. Space cookies about 2 inches apart (I comfortably got 9 cookies on each large baking sheet). Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges and are springy to the touch. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While whisking briskly, in a large, heat safe bowl (or the bowl of a double boiler) slowly add boiling water to confectioners sugar until you have a slightly thick frosting. Flip the cookies so you are frosting on the flat bottom side and frost half of each cookie with the vanilla frosting. Set bowl with remaining frosting over a pan of water and bring it to a simmer. Add in the chocolate while whisking briskly until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well combined. If needed, whisk in boiling water by the teaspoonful so the chocolate frosting is the same thickness and consistency as the vanilla frosting. Frost remaining cookie halves with chocolate frosting. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes to set frosting. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.