These chewy jack-o-lantern pumpkin cookies will remind you of the Little Debbie Pumpkin Delight Cookies from your childhood. The molasses cookie filled with scratch-made pumpkin butter tastes even more delicious than the original, and they are also fun to make!
I don’t know about you, but there are a few Little Debbie treats that are so nostalgic for me. I love a good Oatmeal Cream Pie or Christmas Tree Cakes around Christmas. Honestly, though, Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights bring me back to my childhood like no other for some reason.
However, I have no idea why I’m immediately transported back to my childhood when I eat a pumpkin delight. I can only recall one memory of having them. I was in my elementary school cafeteria for lunch, and I remember there being a Little Debbie Pumpkin Delight cookie, still in it’s wrapper, on my lunch tray. Maybe I was really hungry that day, or maybe it’s because my mom never bought Little Debbie treats. Whatever it was, it left a lasting impression.
What I do know is that to this day when I see this little pumpkin cookie looking at me, it makes me smile. So that’s what I set out to do last week. I knew I could create and even more delicious tasting cookie, so I did. The molasses cookie is chewy and perfectly spiced. The homemade pumpkin butter is sweet and oh so pumpkiny. I may have enjoyed created the shape of the cookies a little too much, but I have a feeling these will become a new fall tradition in our house now. So instead of buying a box of Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights, make these Jack-O-Lantern cookies. The flavor is mind-blowingly delicious and sure to bring a smile to whomever you share one with.
F.A.Q.S and Troubleshooting for Jack-O-Lantern Cookies
- 15 oz. can pumpkin puree not pie filling
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ginger
- ¾ cup apple juice
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 12 TBS butter melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- In a small sauce pan, combine pumpkin, sugar, and spices. Whisk together until spices are evenly distributed. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk 1 tsp. cornstarch with the apple juice. Make sure the cornstarch is fully dissolved.
- Add the juice mixture to the pumpkin and whisk together. Cook over low heat and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, and then remove from the stove and let it cool.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine melted butter and sugar together until it becomes thick and pale in color. Add in the egg and molasses and continue to mix for 1 minute.
- Add in your dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Don’t over mix in this step. Once you can’t see any more flour, stop mixing.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll your cookie dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using your desired shape (see F.A.Q.s for what I used for this step), cut out your pumpkin shape. Using a sharp knife, cut eyes and a mouth out of 1/2 of the shapes and leave the rest of the pumpkin shapes face free.
- Spoon a little more than 1/2 of a tablespoon of the pumpkin butter onto each face free cookie, right in the center. Then place a jack-o-lantern cookie shape directly on top. The butter will spread a little. Seal the side of the cookie together by lightly pressing it together. This doesn’t have to be hard or smashed together tightly. Just a light press will do.
- Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Let cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before placing on a cookie rack to cool completely. Store in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.