How realistic are your expectations of yourself? Hmmm. Do you over plan and underdeliver? Uh-huh. Are you met with the feeling of failure when you don’t live up to your expectations? Uh-huh, yes. How many hours are allotted in your day to complete these expected tasks? Hmmm. Do your expectations exceed or fit within that given timeframe? Ugh, you got me there.
These Swig Pumpkin Cookies were on my list to-make last year. You know, October 2018. Here we are on the last day of October 2019, after a whole lotta cookie testing, and the cookie in my head finally slid out of the oven and onto the blog. Just in time. Expectation barely met after completely underdelivering last year. Hmmmph.
Last year, when I chose to continue blogging, I had to majorly readjust expectations of myself. I was always overpromising, to myself and others, and underdelivering, meeting failure around every corner. Now, these were tiny, not life-altering failures, but they felt huge at the time, especially after a pile-up.
Here’s what happened. Somewhere along the way, I took my blinders off, pulled my head up, and saw that my peers were moving at a pace much faster than me. So I started sprinting, in my green pointy-toed flats. Hey, wait for me. And I got tired really fast.
My book club reads two books, probably more, to my barely one. My friends develop four times as many recipes as I do in a year. Other friends decorate a whole house in a year, which took me five. Kev sleeps an average of 1.5 hours less than me a day. That’s over 10 hours a week. The tick and the tock of my clock is slow. And I’m slowly, in true fashion, learning this about myself, coming to terms with it, and adjusting my expectations to meet this reality. Because that failure I thought I was meeting, it was just disguised as an unrealistic, poor expectation.
These Swig Pumpkin Cookies are anything but. You can go ahead and set your expectations high here.
So what does Swig even mean? It’s a soda shop in Utah that makes the most delicious sugar cookies with frosting, unlike any sugar cookie to ever hit your mouth. You can see my version here, which led to this chocolate version. Last year, after eating the limited-time-only pumpkin cookies from D’Amico, a cafe in Minneapolis, I thought, “I’ll turn this into a Swig-style cookie,” which yields a dry dough, producing a large disk of a crispy-on-the-top, cracks-around-the-edges, and soft-in-the-middle kind of cookie. Turns out, the addition of pumpkin puree to the dough really changes the DNA of the cookie, taking it in to the slightly, oh so slightly, cakey category. I guess you could say Swig and D’Amico had a baby and it tastes like this. Amazing.
Laden with cinnamon, spice, and everything nice, these lightly sweetened cookies get scooped onto the cookie sheet, then lightly pressed into a thick disk, before getting a generous sprinkle of sugar, which helps the cookie to crispen on top while protecting its soft center just beneath the surface.
They come out of the oven beautifully round and full. You could eat them like this, though they are on the under sweetened side, a hallmark trait of a Swig cookie.
But a swoop of cream cheese frosting, left to set overnight, softening the cookie further, takes this pumpkin spiced cookie to the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, but not overly so. For natural sprinkles, just add roughly chopped pepita seeds. As you sink your teeth into this melt-in-your-mouth Swig Pumpkin Cookie, adjust your expectations to make time for the good stuff. Because it’s true what they say, good things take time. And I need lots of it.
Slightly cakey, exceptionally delicious Swig Pumpkin Cookies laden with cinnamon, spice, and everything nice, including a swoop of cream cheese frosting. These are best made a day in advance for all the flavors to soften, absorb, and meld into each other.
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature 3/4 c. pure cane sugar, plus more for sprinkling 1/2 c. pumpkin puree* 1/4 c. neutral oil (like grapeseed) 1 large egg
2 1/2 c. all purpose unbleached flour 1/2 c. powdered sugar 1 scant tbsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Cream Cheese Frosting
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature 3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar 1 1/2 tsp. heavy cream
splash of pure vanilla extract pinch of kosher salt
2 tbsp. raw pepita seeds
Make the cookies. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Set aside.
Begin mixing the wet ingredients. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar over medium speed until evenly combined and the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl until evenly combined. Set aside.
To the wet mixture, add in the pumpkin and mix again on medium to combine. The mixture will look seperated. Scrape down sides and add in the oil, mixing until smooth and emulsified over medium speed. Add in the egg and mix until combined.
With the mixer on low speed add in the flour in 3 or so increments, mixing until nearly combined but not completely. We don’t want to overmix this dough and create a tough cookie. Finish mixing the dough by hand, folding with a spatula until just combined.
Using a 2oz. spring release scoop (4 tablespoons), scoop 7 cookies evenly spaced on a baking sheet at a time. Sprinkle each with a little sugar and gently press the dough into a thick disk, about 2 1/2″ in diameter, patting in the imperfections. This will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. Repeat on all cookies then give them another sprinkle before heading into the oven.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, watching carefully. The cookies are ready when puffed and slightly soft to the touch, neither gooey or hard. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment), cream together the butter and cream cheese until evenly combined. Add in the remaining frosting ingredients, and mix over medium-low speed at first to give the crumbly mixture time to come together. Then mix on medium-high until fluffy and pale. To make a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar. For a thinner frosting, add more heavy cream.
Apply the frosting to the cookies with an offset spatula or butter knife, adding a scoop to the middle of each cookie, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Gently press the frosting out to the edge, leaving enough finger space to hold the cookie. To create the swoop, bring your spatula in to create a crust on your frosting, angling the spatula slightly down and pull in a circular motion, pulling up at the end of the swoop.
Roughly chop the pepita seeds and use as sprinkles. Cookies are best served the next day. Store in a single layer, covered but not airtight, making sure nothing is touching the frosting. Eat within 4 days of making.