Pumpkin Almond Cookies for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Yesterday my six-year-old son asked me if next year we could please get some “gory” and “really scary” Halloween decorations.

Apparently our current decorations are “cute.”

The truth is, I love “cute!” Gory and scary . . . not so much.  For me Halloween is simply a fun part of fall — it’s harvest time, it’s pumpkin time!

How cute are these pumpkin cookies!?

Adorable for Halloween. . . .

And perfect for Thanksgiving, too!

And of course they’re incredibly tasty!

Last year I went a little out of my Halloween comfort zone and added a spider to my treat  — remember my Spooky Spider Chocolate Truffles?  Spider and all, somehow they were still cute!

P.S. If your’re wondering, our decorations consist of outdoor candy corn lights, a few hanging bats, a couple of (smiling) Frankenstein window decals, and a big spider web with a big spider!  And yes, of course I said we can get more gory next year, (not that I really wanted to. ;-)).

Pumpkin Almond Cookies

Prep Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Active Work Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Makes 4-1/2 dozen


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1-1/4 cup pumpkin purée

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon sea salt

1-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

A drop of orange food coloring if desired

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sliced almonds

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter with the powdered sugar. Mix for about a minute or so, until it's a bit lighter and very smooth.
  3. Add in the pumpkin, vanilla, almond meal, salt, and spices. Mix until smooth. At this point, you can add a tiny bit of orange food coloring if desired. (I used about a very small bit for the cookies in the images you see here, just to brighten them slightly.)
  4. Fold in the flour and mix only until it's evenly incorporated.
  5. Shape dough into approximately 1-1/2 tablespoon-sized balls. Gently roll each one between the palms of your hands to create a smooth, even surface. Place them on one of the prepared baking sheets as you go, fairly close together. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the cookie batter balls are firm, at least 3 hours, and ideally overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Remove the the baking sheet from the refrigerator and then use the back of a small knife to make several vertical lines in around each ball, all coming together at the top center. Add them to the other prepared baking sheet as you go, being sure there's about an inch between each one.
  8. Bake in the preheated 350 degree F oven until bottoms are slightly golden and the cookies are solid, about 15 minutes.
  9. While the cookies are still quite warm, insert a few of the sliced almonds to the top of each "pumpkin," where the lines meet, to form the "stem." Try to find slices with the almond skin for the outsides of the stems.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets.


If you can find honey roasted, sliced almonds, even better! They are available at Trader Joe's.


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  1. says

    Oh my gosh, I love these! This is the perfect recipe to make with the kids. Speaking of which, our decorations are “cute” too… Last year we added a few tombstones but I just can’t get myself to go much gorier than that. : )

  2. Marg says

    Look gorgeous but please elaborate on “powdered” sugar. This means different things in different places. Do you mean granulated sugar, icing sugar, confectioners sugar, fruit sugar?
    Many thanks

    • valentina says

      Hi there — it’s Confectioners sugar. And good point, I’ll make it more clear in the recipe. Thanks & enjoy!

    • valentina says

      I think they should be fine — once they’ve cooled make sure they’re in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark place. You can also freeze them — they will loose a bit of moisture, but will still be good. (If you do freeze them, they should also be in a very tightly sealed container — and take them out to defrost about 2 hours before serving.) :-) Enjoy!

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