Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

These Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are absolutely amazing!  Deliciously soft and full of pumpkin fall flavor!  Bound to become a family favorite!

These Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are absolutely amazing! Deliciously soft and full of pumpkin fall flavor! Bound to become a family favorite!


This week marked the five year anniversary of Elliot’s death.

What is so weird/tricky/frustrating/maddening about grief is that you don’t really know how or when it will strike.  Four years ago when we should have been celebrating Elliot’s first birthday, everyone was bracing for us to struggle through September 9th, the first anniversary of his death.  But it was September 1st, when we should have been taking pictures of him shoving cake in his mouth that really floored me.

These Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are absolutely amazing! Deliciously soft and full of pumpkin fall flavor! Bound to become a family favorite!

And this year while I was really anticipating Elliot’s birthday to be rough, it was the anniversary of his death that was hard.

I have never really talked about his death publicly.  Probably because we had to make the unbearable decision to take him off life support, and I know that that is controversial.  We did so with a lot of counsel from his doctors.  And when I say counsel, I mean I asked them what they would do if it was their own child and watched their eyes fill with tears at the mere thought.  They made it very clear to us that our options were very limited, and were so kind in helping us come to a decision.

I will never forget watching Gavin say goodbye to Elliot . . . though he didn’t entirely understand what that meant.

I will never forget Elliot squeezing my finger and second guessing myself and having his nurses reassure me that this was common in patients with only lower brain functioning.

And I will never forget Nathan and I promising Elliot that we would never look at this life as a tragedy.  So many people have asked me how I possibly made it through losing a child, and honestly the answer to that question is a work in progress.  But what I come back to over and over and over is that moment when I was holding him and he was taking his last breaths and he was all unhooked from machines and I was promising him that I would not let his death be a black mark on my life.

These Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are absolutely amazing! Deliciously soft and full of pumpkin fall flavor! Bound to become a family favorite!

Just before school started this fall, and I promise this relates, Quinn drew a picture of me with something giant.  I asked her what it was and she said it was me . . . sad because I missed her because she was at school and with a giant sandwich.

She gets me.  I’m an emotional eater.  Lol!

So . . . . I made these cookies on the anniversary of Elliot’s death this year.  The foundation of these cookies are these sugar cookies that I made 7.2 million times while my mom was dying.  They are my ultimate comfort food.  Scratch that.  The cookie dough for these cookies is my ultimate comfort food.

I had had a conversation with Cathy just a few days before making these cookies and she mentioned these cookies, and the ratio she used of pumpkin and eggs to make the perfect cookie.  She was dead on!  I used it for these cookies and it resulted in what might be the best damn cookie I’ve ever eaten.  I’m not kidding.

So I’m not going to say that these cookies fixed the anniversary of Elliot’s death.  But if I’m being 100% honest, they totally did make it a little easier.

These Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are absolutely amazing! Deliciously soft and full of pumpkin fall flavor! Bound to become a family favorite!


Pumpkin Sugar Cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar + more for rolling
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 14 TBSPS butter (1 3/4 stick) at room temperature
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin puree


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. With your mixer on medium, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the egg yolk, then vanilla, then pumpkin until well combined.
  4. Slowly mix in the flour mixture until well combined, with your mixer set to low. Scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and refrigerate the cookie dough for 20 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough into one inch sized balls. Roll in sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or silicon mat and press down slightly. Space the cookies about two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. (I baked mine in three batches)
  8. Let cool on the pan for about two minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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These Pumpkin Sugar Cookies are absolutely amazing!  Deliciously soft and full of pumpkin fall flavor!  Bound to become a family favorite!


  1. rachelle says

    September must be such an emotional time for you-so much good and sad to remember. Thinking of you!
    on a lighter note. these cookies look awesome. And you make baking good cookies look easy!

  2. says

    Lisa, I’ve said this before, but I’m bowled over by your strength. You just made me tear up. I am sending you all the positive feelings and emotional support I’ve got your way right now.
    Mir recently posted…Apple Cider DonutsMy Profile

  3. Amy says

    Hi Lisa,
    Just wanted to say thank you for posting a delicious cookie recipe. Now that I know the sentiment behind it, makes it sound even better. I lost my sister in law/friend 6yrs ago on 9/15. This time of year is always shaded for my brother/family. Jen always loved to bake for her 3 beautiful sons. I will definitely be making these cookies for them!!! Xoxo Amy

  4. Amanda says

    Made these today and they are some of the best cookies I have ever had or made. I will be making these again. Thank you for the amazing recipe.

  5. lol spinster says

    Now, I can’t bake at all and usually end up with kitchen disasters, but these came out perfect!!! Sooooo delicious and easy to make. Thanks for the great recipe!??

  6. ROSANA LEITE says

    Amei as receitas e vou fazê-las hoje mesmo, obrigado. Beijos


    Loved the recipes and I will do them today, thank you. kisses

    Brasilia / Brazil

  7. Natasha says

    your story touched my heart
    I wasn’t expecting to cry when I opened up this recipe but I’m sitting here with my sleeping 15 month old and I just couldn’t imagine. Your strength is incredible.
    I’m going to make these this afternoon xo

  8. says

    These are AMAZING. I stuffed them with carmel and did not use the sugar for an outside coat. Wonderful recipe…I will be using it as the fall continues on! xx

  9. Lindsey says

    Tonight marks three months since I delivered my stillborn daughter. Lately I’ve thrown myself into cooking as a distraction and I’m looking forward to using this recipe tomorrow. Thank you for sharing your story. XOXO

    • says

      Lindsey, oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that there aren’t words that I can say that will make it better. Just know that I have been where you are now and it does get easier. Please reach out to me whenever you want! And I think that baking is a GREAT distraction. One I’ve used many times.

  10. Stephanie says

    These cookies sound amazing!! Going to make them now. Your story breaks my heart, I can’t imagine what you have went through and still continue to go through everyday. You will be in my prayers.

  11. Lisa says

    You are a strong person to share with others. As your words go out they are received with compassion while helping us all. Thank you. Lisa B

  12. Gloria says

    Seeing that I’m reading this a year later, I hope that this year was somehow better for you and your family. 🙂
    My neighbour gave us a pumpkin the other day, and I’ve been wondering what to do with it. You used puréed pumpkin. Was the pumpkin cooked beforehand? How would you purée raw pumpkin?

    • says

      Thank you Gloria! I used canned pumpkin and what I have heard from professional cooks is that there is virtually no difference between fresh and canned pumpkin. But! If you want to cook it, cut it in half, discard the seeds, place it on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper) and bake at 350 for about an hour or until it is fork tender. Pull out the the inside of the pumpkin and smoosh it with a fork. Discard the skins. You’ll have a lot left.

  13. Melissa says

    Thank you for sharing your story. Today my son and I made “Elliott’s Cookies” with he and other children taken far too soon in our thoughts. I am sorry for your loss.

  14. Mandie says

    As a fellow loss mom I appreciate this post so much. I’m going to make these cookies soon and I’ll think of you and Elliot and my son Joe jr. as I make them with my girls. It was 2 years in August for me and this year birthday was much harder than death day, and I figured it was going to be the other way around. <3

    • says

      Mandie, I’m so sorry for your loss. I always want to give other moms who have lost kiddos a GIANT hug. So please consider this a giant virtual hug. I hate that you are a member of this club with me, but I’m happy to have other members who get it.

  15. Cheryl says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I just finished making them and even tried a few “variations”. I added some mini chocolate chips to some for my chocolate loving grandkids and on others I added some pumpkin pie spice (Cinnamon would work too) to the sugar when coating them.

  16. says

    These cookies are absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for the delicious recipe- they were a huge hit at a friends gathering that I went to last night. My husband isn’t a huge fan of pumpkin and I lost count of how many cookies he ate. He raved about them! The only thing I did a tiny bit different was that I rolled them in a cinnamon sugar mixture instead of just sugar. I’m a sucker for cinnamon! Thank you so much.

    And thank you for sharing your story. Such a beautiful post. <3

  17. Karen Howard says

    Alright That’s it. I have to sign up for your emails! Too much good stuff here -I’m a total Foodie-can you tell?

  18. Kim says

    Mine didn’t have much pumpkin taste, and I’m not sure how to adjust a ratio by adding more pumpkin … any ideas? They were great otherwise!!!!

  19. Laura says

    Stumbled upon your recipe and blog while searching for a quick pumpkin cookie recipe. My husband and I read about your beautiful Elliot while these baked. I will be driving these cookies over to a fellow mom friend with a brand new baby girl instead of eating them all like we planned. A very small act of kindness, but done with your sweet boy on my mind and heart.

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