A sweet and tangy cranberry cream cheese frosting tops these easy pumpkin cookies combining two essential fall flavors into one amazing cookie!
So this recipe is based on something I had in a restaurant on a work trip. It was amazing, and cool and different and it only took me two years to try to replicate it at home. Because that’s the kind of operational excellence I roll with, hehe.
I wanted to make it as simple as possible. Easy, but still impressive, that’s my jam. Now if you have a favorite pumpkin bar/cookie/cake recipe, absolutely sub that in. I tried the pumpkin cake recipe where you mix the spice cake cake mix and a can of pumpkin together to see if that would be an easy option, but I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. Mine turned out about the height and consistency of a newspaper. This cranberry frosting is delicious, but even it can’t save a newspaper cake. But, luckily, I was browsing the local Walmart and came across a Betty Crocker’s pumpkin cookie mix. Yes!
Pumpkin Cookies with Cranberry Frosting How -to
Prepare the pumpkin cookies per package directions. Now whenever they say don’t melt the butter in the instructions, they mean it. Otherwise the cookies spread out crazy. They’re still edible, they’re just more pancake cookies than cookie cookies, if you know what I mean. I was super happy with this cookie mix and am going back for a few more bags. It was simple, a great pumpkin flavor and it avoided my main complaint with a lot of pumpkin cookies I’ve tasted: they get like sticky moist in two seconds. This kept a little crispness from the oven, but was a soft and flavorful cookie. Definitely a win! For cookie prep, I also have fantastic luck with a silicone baking mat and an Air Bake cookie pan.
Next up: Make the cranberry frosting
Grab 1 lb. powdered sugar, 1 block of cream cheese softened (so never in my life have I ever remembered to set out the cream cheese. I gave mine a spin in the ol’ microwave to soften it up and that worked just fine) Beat the cream cheese and the powdered sugar until mixed. Add in about 1/4 cup of whole cranberry jelly and mix it all up. I think the traditional cranberry jelly would be fine, but I like that this whole berry version you’ll see pictured below because it had bits and pieces of cranberry in it and made it more interesting. All about those interesting cookies, you know? 😉
Time to frost the pumpkin cookies!
Because I knew I wanted a pretty thick dollop of cranberry frosting on each cookie, I let the pumpkin cookies cool completely and popped the frosting in the fridge for a few minutes before starting to frost so it would spread a little but stay put. Now I like to get really literal with my holiday treats and I wanted people to not second guess that this was a cranberry frosting. So after using the whole cranberry jelly, I did add a few drops of red food coloring to get a pretty pink frosting color. Hey, I like pink frosting, what can I say?
I kept these pumpkin cookies in the fridge because of the cream cheese element in the cranberry frosting. Plus I think the icing gets thick and delicious when it’s cold! (P.S. Grab the free printable you see in the pic above here!)
These cookies are perfect to shake up the Thanksgiving dessert table or just fun make and take. I will say the warm flavors of the pumpkin cookie really complement the tangy sweetness of the cranberry frosting for a great flavor combo. Looking for a few more fall make and takes? Check out Caramel Apple Chex Mix!
If you’re ready to start assembling your Christmas cookie plan, I’d love for you to check out my Christmas Cookie ebook. All delicious and all easy — every recipe is a cookie that starts with mix. 🙂
- 1 Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix, prepared
- 1 lb. of powdered sugar
- 1 block of cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce (I used Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce)
- Red food coloring (optional)
- Prepare the cookies per package directions and let cool completely
- Mix the powdered sugar and cream cheese until blended
- Add in the cranberry sauce and mix until blended
- Add in the food coloring if desired to make it a little more pink
- Pop the frosting in the fridge for about 15 minutes
- Keep the cookies in the fridge
Tools I used to make Easy Pumpkin Cookies with Cranberry Frosting