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Pumpkin Cookies for a Little Pumpkin

December 5, 2014


A country store near us offers a few homemade goodies like bread, cookies, and brownies wrapped as singles which go great with morning coffee. I treat myself sometimes while stopping nearby to unload my recyclables.

One day earlier this fall, the store had delectable pumpkin cookies available that were soft like my grandmother’s sugar cookies. The cookie immediately brought back memories of dunking those cookies with grandpa and grandma in their kitchen; they lived in quarters attached to ours. My grandma and grandpa were always old to me, in their high seventies when I was born, so having coffee (filled half with milk) and savoring cookies with them is one of my strong, wonderful memories.

P1040557Grandpa and Grandma Miller in their later years.

I hope my grandsons will soon love coming to grandma and grandpa’s for cookies and other goodies, right? Cookies and grandma go together.

My second grandson was celebrating his first birthday the day before Thanksgiving (an adventure I shared here earlier) and before they arrived, I scoured my cookbooks for a pumpkin cookie recipe, to no avail. I turned to online resources and soon fell over more than I could ever use, and all pretty basic.

The recipe I chose makes cookies that are not terribly rich, have some Vitamin A value with all that pumpkin in them, and only use a cup and a half of sugar (while most cookie recipes call for two). I made some without frosting for the about-to-be-one-year-old. Surely his mother would not object??


Wrong. Sweets would be withheld until the big birthday—the actual day when James could first sink his teeth into his very own birthday cake, with frosting.

It’s an interesting turning of tables when your children tell you what to do, or rather what you can and cannot do with your grandchildren. Okay, the parents rule.

So I bided my time, obeyed the rules, and on the day after his birthday, when his parents were busily packing up all their stuff to go home, his mother says, “Okay, now you can give him the cookie, Mom.”

We sit at the end of my long dining room table, just the boy and me (doesn’t being one year old qualify you to no longer be called a baby?). I don’t stuff him into his high chair, just hold him on my lap, and break off a piece of the soft cookie and hand it to him. He puts it in his mouth. I wonder what goes through his little-boy head. There is no turning away, no batting my hand back. He chews it slowly. He has been eating all sorts of good-for-you food starting soon after six months: bananas, broccoli, potatoes, even avocado, squash and zucchini, and then graduating to meats in things like chili, spaghetti, sloppy-joes, chicken (he has six teeth). I break off another piece; he uses his newly acquired pincher skill to take the next chunk with his index finger and thumb, and put it in his mouth himself. We sit there, grandma and boy, his parents scurrying with the tasks at hand so they can get on the road. He does not squirm, whine, or try to get down. It is magic. (I confess I was copying the “small boy” style of stories I have come to enjoy from Sharon Clymer Landis over at “Color My Soul” blog. I’ll try not to copy her too much.)

Here is the magic-making recipe. Perhaps you are like I am and sometimes have an extra cup of pumpkin left over after a holiday, from making pumpkin pie or other treat. This is perfect to use up any extra pumpkin you have leftover.


This plaque for my kitchen arrived on my own birthday, a few days later, from a dear sister. How did she know?

Soft Pumpkin Cookies (Adapted from )

2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

*If your family likes nutmeg, you can add it; I left it out for those in my family who don’t like it.

Bake 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees until edges are firm. Remove from pan and cool.
Makes about 3-4 dozen.

Glaze-type frosting**

2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine and beat together. Drizzle glaze over cookies.

**These cookies are perfectly good without frosting, too, as James enjoyed. I’m reminded of Doris Janzen Longacre’s (author of More with Less Cookbook) famous poem “Life is Too Short” where she says “Life is too short too ice cakes. Cakes are good without frosting.”

What magical moments have you enjoyed with a child recently? Or longer ago?

Have your kids told you to rein back in treating their kids? Or, do you wish you could tell your mom or dad NOT to do something?

I would also be interested in hearing of any great pumpkin cookie recipes you have found or use.

P1060674James and Grandma enjoying a favorite old book, Puppies.


From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

  1. Loved this story even before finding my name near the end. Feel free to copy that style anytime and I’ll be delighted to read! There can never be too many ‘small boy’ stories. The recipe sounds fabulous!

    • Funny thing, I had daughters and learned to love “little girl” stories. I would say the recipe is quite ordinary, but they feel wholesome and I love the way they stay soft, even after a week (in Tupperware of course). But maybe that is another definition of fabulous (not fancy, not rich in ingredients, but wholesome as fabulous!) Thx for the comment. It was great to see you last evening.

  2. Your devotion to tradition touches the grandma heart in me, Melodie. You had me at that description of coffee made with half milk. Our grandson Owen asks for “mocha” when we are together. That’s mostly hot chocolate with a shot of coffee in it. He only gets it from us. His parents tolerate it. Just like the sign in your kitchen. 🙂

  3. Um, mocha sounds great too. 🙂 So far James is only getting water from a cup; we’ll have to work on the “adult” beverages.

  4. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    Once again I enjoyed your story of treats from Grandmas’s kitchen

    Our days for little grandchildren are now at a stage where the eldest of the them is 28 and the youngest just turned16 but we did have some fun times and good memories when they were all younger.

    Now three of the eight grandaughters are married and we have 6 great grandsons , 3 of which live about 5 minutes away.

    Although I seldom bake these days I do have little treats for the boys when they come over, their favorite now being chocolate covered ice cream on a stick .

    The oldest knows where Nana keeps them and if I ask the parents first , then I can ask the boys if they would like one.
    Of course the answer goes without saying.

    As there is a new baby brother in that family , I made a dinner to send over last week and tucked in a box of the Ice cream treats and some bite size cupcakes for them (not homemade though) which I think were a bigger hit with the boys than the dinner.

    You have lots of fun days ahead with your little boys

    • I think chocolate covered ice cream on a stick works awesomely! So sweet to send a dinner for the family, of course. Love your little reflections.

  5. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    These ice cream chocolate treats have been such a hit that I now watch for them to be on sale and I stock up on them inmy freezer.
    My Bigboy, Aka .. Poppa, also likes them and he like to have a little treat in the evening while he is watching hisTV programs.

  6. You’ve assembled the very best: pumpkin recipe, plaque and most of all, Li’l Punkin! In a few hours we will be “spoiling” our grandkids with pizza and Christmas tree decorating. The latter is subterfuge: Actually they will be helping US!

  7. That sounds like an awesome Friday night! Go! This year, we’ll have to protect the little pumpkins from the dangers of the Christmas tree, but oh well. Have a great time!

  8. What a sweet story. Your moment of sharing that cookie with him sounds so special. No doubt he’s always going to remember “cookies with grandma”!

    • Thanks for your comment! Great to hear from someone new. It was a great bonding moment: we get too few times with our grandkids but try to make them special. I want to check out your blog/gifts!

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