Recipe: Soft and Easy (Lofthouse-Style) Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe: Soft and Easy (Lofthouse-Style) Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Kelli Foster
Oct 4, 2018
(Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani)

If you've ever had a Lofthouse cookie, you surely wouldn't forget it. They're the thick, puffed-up sugar cookies with a soft texture, a generous blanket of frosting, and a shower of sprinkles over top, sold in plastic clamshells at the grocery store. They're also our inspiration for these easy-as-can-be pumpkin cookies. They start with a smart buy from the baking aisle, and finish with a sweet, spiced flavor, crackly top, super-soft center, and, of course, frosting.

And to make these fall treats as easy and effortless as possible, we're calling for just five ingredients and a single mixing bowl. Ready to get baking?

Start with a Box of Cake Mix for the Easiest Pumpkin Cookies

The next time you're walking down the grocery store baking aisle, remember that cake mix isn't just for cakes. It's the baking staple that brings these cookies together with just a handful of ingredients and a single bowl. It also makes for sweet, ultra-tender, buttery cookies that are totally reminiscent of classic Lofthouse sugar cookies. For these cookies, you'll want to stick with yellow cake mix (avoid white), because yellow will give the cookies more of an orange-y hue.

All the Ways to Use Up Leftover Pumpkin Purée

You'll notice that the recipe calls for just a small amount of pumpkin purée. And if you're wondering whether you should open a whole can just for a few tablespoons, the answer is a resounding yes! This is the amount that leaves the cookies with the absolute best texture and most irresistibly soft center. Use this as an opportunity to double down on pumpkin with another favorite recipe. Or, you can always freeze the purée for later!

(Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani)

Soft and Easy (Lofthouse-Style) Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 18 cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes to 15 minutes ; cooking time: 9 minutes to 11 minutes

  • For the cookies:
  • 1 box

    yellow cake mix (about 15.25 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon

    pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling

  • 2 tablespoons

    pumpkin purée

  • 1/3 cup

    canola oil

  • 2

    large eggs

  • For the frosting:
  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups

    powdered sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • Seasonal sprinkles (optional)

Make the cookies:

Place the cake mix and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl and whisk to combine and break up any lumps. Add the pumpkin purée, oil, and eggs, and mix with a wooden spoon or an electric hand mixer on medium speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated without overmixing, about 1 minute. The dough will be sticky, but firm. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough. Roll into a ball in the palm of your hands and place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies are light golden-brown on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes more. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a flat spatula to transfer to them to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Make the frosting:

Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until combined, about 20 seconds. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until the frosting starts to come together into lumps. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 30 seconds.

Generously spread the frosting onto the cooled cookies. Sprinkle with extra pumpkin pie spice or sprinkles.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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