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We are coming up on an amazing time of year. The time for treats. Well, if you are like me, it is always the time for treats but this season in particular, we are clad in big sweaters and here in Colorado, it is snowy and getting pretty chilly outside with some nice days tossed in there sporadically but the time has come to put those Christmas movies on and bake and I even have a couple of shirts for it.
One of the first items on the baking docket this season are the crowd pleasing and utterly divine (as well as customizable) pop tarts. Because it is the season of the pumpkin, we are going to start out with pumpkin pie filled pop tarts that will thrill your crowd!
We are going to make our own sugar cookie dough from scratch and that really does work best. I have tried store bought cookies before and the problem with them is that they spread which is not what you want with these. You want them to hold their shape so from scratch cookies are best, especially for this.
Lucky for you, I have a recipe for from scratch soft cookies that are something of a mix between sugar cookies and shortbread cookies that are perfect for cut-outs. They hold their shape beautifully (do not skip the chill step of this recipe or you will have spreading) and taste great!
Let’s get started.
Here is what you will need for the cookies:
- 2 and 1/4 cups leveled all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter (room temperature is important)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large room temperature egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Here is what you will need for the filling:
- 1 13 ounce container marshmallow fluff
- 1 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
Here is what you will need for the royal icing:
- 1.5 tablespoons meringue powder
- 2 cups sifted (do not skip this step) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
First, we have start with the dough.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and together together and set aside.
Using your mixer, fitted with the paddle attachement, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy and creamy, approximately 2.5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again until all combined.
Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients into the mixing bowl on low speed and beat until just combined. Do not overbeat or your dough will be tough and chewy.
Separate dough into two portions and place one on a cookie sheet fitted with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Flour the dough and your rolling pin and roll it our onto the baking mat until desired thickness, around 1/4 of an inch.
Do the same with the second half of the dough. Cover dough securely with plastic wrap. Chill all dough for a minimum of one hour. Dough can be chilled overnight.
Prior to taking your cookies out of the refrigerator prepare the filling.
On medium low heat, combine canned pumpkin, marshmallow fluff, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and corn starch in medium saucepan. Continue to stir until mixture has melted, combined and slightly thickened. Turn off heat and leave to cool.
Once cooled, when you are ready to bake your dough, grab your cookie cutter and remove one part of the dough. Large cookie cutters work best. Using your cutter, cut out your dough into the desired shapes. Continue rolling out the dough using flour when needed until all dough is used. Repeat process with second half of your dough.
It is important that your cookies aren’t too thick since they will be stacked with another cookie sandwiched with filling.
Preheat oven t
Place cookies about two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with baking spray.
Take cooled filling and place between 1 and 2 tablespoons, depending on the size of your cookie, into the center of the dough. You don’t want to overfill your tarts and have filling spilling out the sides.
Take a second cookie and place it on top of the filling and first cookie. Lightly press down and take a fork to secure and seal the two cookies together. Crimp the sides all the way around, dip the fork in flour if dough sticks to the tines.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Decorate the cooled cookies with royal icing or my easy glaze icing. Feel free to tint either icing with gel food coloring. See post above for recommended decorating tools. No need to cover the decorated cookies as you wait for the icing to set. If it’s helpful, decorate the cookies directly on a baking sheet so you can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help speed up the icing setting.
- Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Once the icing has set, these cookies are great for gifting or for sending. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.