Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing

A small batch of Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing are a delicious way to welcome Fall!  This is an easy recipe for a classic sugar cookie cutout that is flavored with pumpkin pie spice.  Then the charming pumpkin shaped cookies are decorated with maple syrup royal icing.  Who says everything has to taste like pumpkin for Fall!?

Fall sugar cookies shaped like pumpkins with maple royal icing

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Sugar cookies aren’t just for decorated Christmas cookies!  But I think we knew that.  When you think about the little sugar cookie, they are the perfect base cookie that you can flavor any way you like.  

Enter Pumpkin Pie Spice.  Whoever came up with this delicious concoction should be awarded.  But I suppose creating the spice combo is award enough.  For the sake of giving you the spice ratio’s and a Wiki link – here is a little history on the spice.

Pumpkin spice generally consists of the following ground spices.  Should you want to make up your own batch:

  • Cinnamon – the primary and base spice
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Allspice

I have also been know to add a little ground Cardamom.  Because, well, I like Cardamom.

I highly recommend making your own batch of pumpkin pie spice.  Chances are you may already have each of these spices in your pantry.  Especially if you like to bake up pies and treats for the holiday’s.  This gives you the chance to be a little heavy or light handed on a particular spice.  Plus, it saves money.  Which is good.

And now that we have the basis for pumpkin pie spice, why not throw some in a cookie recipe!?  This is a great way to get the cozy flavors of fall, and there is no pumpkin puree to be found in this recipe.  Wink.

Pumpkin sugar cookie cut outs

Small Batch Sugar Cookie Cutouts

A little insight on my thoughts on sugar cookies – I didn’t always like them.  It was the blah flavor, the tedious task of rolling and decorating, and there always seemed to be a thousand leftover cookies hanging around.  

Now that I have a year of blogging and baking under my belt, I feel differently about the classic sugar cookie.  Why?  Well …

  1. Sugar cookies can be flavored – hence, this recipe.
  2. Cutting out the sugar cookie doesn’t have to be time consuming – I’m learning to appreciate the simplicity of one cookie cutout per batch of sugar cookies.
  3. I now have a small batch recipe for sugar cookies – So no more thousands of cookies laying around.
  4. Decorating can be fun – if you take your time and plan ahead – Full disclosure, I am not a professional cookie decorator.  Nor do I aspire to be.  Which is what helped me.  I love the elaborate designs I see on Pinterest, and I’m happy to accept that will probably never be me! 

Small Batch Cookie Recipe

Let’s elaborate on #3 – a small batch of sugar cookies. 

First things first – With this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing, I was able to get 10 ‘regular’ size cookies, plus 6 (give or take a couple) ‘small’ cutout cookies.  The number of cookies you can get out of this recipe depends on:

  1. How thick you roll your cookie dough
  2. The size (and shape) of your cookie cutout

All that said, a dozen or so decorated sugar cookies is a decent amount for sharing.  And I’ve said it before, so I’m going to say it again – small batch baking is AWESOME to make multiple desserts or a variety of dessert flavors (like this one!) and options for one gathering.  And you won’t have a mountain of leftovers (or guilt for eating all of them)!

Not to mention, a small batch of cookies is much more realistic if there are only two of you in the house.  🙂

A pumpkin shaped sugar cookie with maple royal icing

Maple Royal Icing

As a reminder, I am not a professional or seasoned cookie decorator.  And my recipe for Maple Royal Icing may be indicative of that.  In the sense that there is a little bit of artistry when it comes to making royal icing:

  • Consistency / texture – The consistency of the icing should be easy enough to pipe borders, and loose enough to ‘flood’ in between the borders.  For this recipe – I’ve left that up to you.  Seeing as I only did one color and my design is not that elaborate on these cookies.  
  • Ingredients – Some recipes call for egg whites or meringue powder, milk or water.  And I’ve even seen some with glycerin – so the icing doesn’t set to hard.  This recipe – we’re using powdered sugar, pure maple syrup, and a little milk.  That’s it.
  • Mixing techniques – I’ve seen recipes where you mix the icing in the stand mixer for x amount of time, until peaks form, the icing is glossy, etc. etc.  This recipe – We are just going to mix with a whisk until everything is combined.  From there, you can add more powdered sugar or milk to get to your desired consistency. 

I relate the consistency I used to decorate these pumpkin cookies to that of Elmer’s Glue.

I have great respect for the artists that I see on Pinterest, and their amazing cookies.  And yes – I may add some of the above to my next recipe for decorated Christmas cookies.  But for this recipe, what I have developed works beautifully.

Tips For Making Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

  • Bring the butter to room temp – Simply said – it is easier to mix when it is not chilled solid.
  • Chill the cookie dough – Yes – I’ve seen the searches for cookie recipes that do not need to be chilled.  This recipe is not one of them.  The cookies have butter.  Butter melts.  And if it melts too fast while baking, the cookies will spread. 

Chilling the dough helps to keep the shape of the cookie.  I even go so far to say chill before rolling the dough and after the cookies have been cut out, before baking.

  • Flavor the cookies to your taste – If you want a bigger punch of pumpkin spice, add a little more.  Or less, if you want it to be very subtle.  You can also add more flavored extracts (i.e. Maple) to match the flavor of your icing.  Now, that’s fancy!
  • Allow the cookies to chill before decorating – Royal icing and warm cookies are not a good combo.  And can lead to an aggravating cookie decorating session.  

That seems like a lot for a Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing.  So I will end it by wishing you all a wonderful Fall season! 🙂

More Small Batch Cookie Recipes

Decorated sugar cookies with maple royal icing
Fall sugar cookies shaped like pumpkins
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

A small batch of Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing are a delicious way to welcome Fall!  This is an easy recipe for a classic sugar cookie cutout that is flavored with pumpkin pie spice.  Then the charming pumpkin shaped cookies are decorated with maple syrup royal icing.  Who says everything has to taste like pumpkin for Fall!?
Prep10 mins
Cook10 mins
Chill Time30 mins
Total50 mins
Servings: 1 Dozen (see notes)
Author: Erin | Butter and Bliss


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Maple Royal Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk, any kind


  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Use a hand held mixer and beat on medium-high speed until the butter is creamy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt over the top of the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough forms and no flour streaks remain. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Wrap completely in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350o degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Lightly flour your work surface roll the chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. If you want thicker cookies, don't roll the dough so thin.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out your shapes, and place the cookies at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Re-roll any scraps to cut into more cookies. I don't recommend re-rolling the dough more than twice.
  • I recommend baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time. While the first batch is baking, refrigerate the other baking sheet of cookies. If the cookies feel as though they got too warm while rolling and cutting, place both baking sheets in the refrigerator to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until the edges turn slightly golden. If you want crispier cookies, bake for a couple minutes longer. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cookies are cool, make the royal icing and decorate the cookies!

Maple Royal Icing

  • In a small mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar and maple syrup. Whisk together until the powdered sugar is moist. Add a teaspoon of milk at a time to get to your desired icing/decorating consistency.


  • The number of cookies in your batch will depend on how thick you roll out your cookie dough, and the size of your cookie cutters.
  • I recommend refrigerating the cut-out cookies before baking.  This helps them not spread too much.
  • I also recommend baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time.  For an even bake and not having to worry about rotating baking sheets in the middle of baking.
  • For a crispier cookie, bake for a couple of extra minutes.   
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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