This little cake-like pumpkin cookie is a fall family favorite! The original recipe came from my next door neighbor growing up. She would be delighted, but certainly not surprised, that this remains a beloved recipe passed between neighborhoods and generations. Here's my favorite version with tweaks I've made over the years to further deepen the flavor. Glazed or unglazed, it's a perfect treat.
Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl.
Add egg and mix well.
Add in pumpkin and vanilla. Mix well, scraping the bowl as needed. The mixture may look like it is separating, but don't worry. It will come together into a nice smooth batter when the dry ingredients are added.
Add dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in ½ cup of the chopped nuts by hand.
Using a small ice cream scoop, about 1½ Tbsp, scoop batter onto parchment lined baking sheets, allowing about 2 inches in between each cookie. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. Unlike many other cookies, they should be set and the top should feel like the top of a baked muffin or cake. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk and butter. Heat to a gentle boil, whisking constantly for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
Working quickly so the glaze doesn't set up, use a spoon to spread a small amount on top of each cookie. Sprinkle some chopped nuts, if using, on top of the wet glaze. Keeps well for days in a sealed container and also freezes well. Enjoy!