Pumpkin Ricotta Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Click HERE for the recipe!

I don’t know about you, but after the tomato bruschetta, sausage calzones, and pumpkin pasta… I’m ready for something SWEET.


Sorry to yell. I can’t help myself.

These cookies are the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I may have said that before. I will probably say it again.

But seriously. These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth AMAZING!!!

Hence all the yelling.

I’ll try to remain calm.

These pumpkin cookies made with ricotta are guaranteed to satisfy your craving for something saccharine. They are like a cookie and cake rolled into one.

Something else sweet that I must share before going on: My little sweeties.

Introducing… Rachel and Emily Shortcake!

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And, of course, my baby boy… world-class eater and sweet to boot!


Back to the edible sweets.

The topping for these cookies includes toasted pecans that I could eat by the dozen, and a frosting I could eat (and have eaten) with a spoon. It is made with butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.

I said they were sweet. Not low fat. Not low calorie.

Actually the cookie itself is much better for you than your average, run-of-the-mill cookie. Using pumpkin and ricotta means less butter in the dough. But when you top them off with the frosting and pecans, they no longer can be classified as a “good for you” cookie. If cookies can indeed ever be called that at all.

I would argue that they are good for your happiness. Not for your health.

There are some alternatives to the frosting. They’re not as much fun, but they are less fattening. A dusting of powdered sugar will give you the sweetness you desire without all the calories and fat. Leaving the toppings off all together is another option. However, you must promise me you’ll try at least ONE with the frosting and pecan topper.

Be forewarned. One can turn into five quicker than you can say “FROSTING”!!!

What’s the difference between frosting and icing anyways?

Just to be sure I stay especially off topic, I’d like to explore this question before moving on.

Originally when I typed out this recipe I entitled it “Pumpkin Ricotta Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing“. I wasn’t sure this was the correct term. So, I did some research. I found assurance from The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections. Yes. There is actually such a thing. I gave you the link to the book if you need proof. This dictionary ultimately says that “the term icing is interchangeable with the term frosting”.

I almost moved on at this point, but I still wasn’t completely convinced that I’d chosen the best term for my recipe. Finally, I landed on a source that I feel has it right.

You can tell me what you think. Email me. Comment. Agree or disagree. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this very important issue.

The other source I came across is this: Everything You Pretend to Know About Food and Are Afraid Someone Will Ask. The title made me laugh out loud. This book devotes an entire section to the subject of Frosting vs. Icing.

It reads as follows:

 “Often used interchangeably, frosting and icing are in fact different. Frosting tends to be thick and gooey, with a      cream or butter base. It is slathered on cake layers, or applied in fluffy waves. Icing is thinner, sometimes with simply a sugar base, and creates a glaze on cakes and pastry, such as the kind you find on coffee cakes.”

I decided I agree. And thus the name of this recipe now uses the word Frosting in place of Icing. And I am satisfied.

Ahhhh (deep sigh). Now I feel I can move on with the post.

I started with the wet ingredients.


First the butter and the sugars. Beat the heck out of ’em.

Go ahead. Get out your frustrations. You have 3 minutes.




Okay not done. But I did think about just spreading this on a graham cracker and calling it a day. My kitchen would have  been less messy.

Now for our ‘R’ ingredient. RICOTTA.


Now for the pretty pumpkin. I love fall. I love Thanksgiving. And I really love pumpkin.


Now some pure vanilla extract. Use the good stuff.


More beating.

Go ahead. Go to town.


One egg at a time.

More beating.




Now for the dry ingredients.



Baking powder.



Don’t forget this. It really adds warmth to the cookies. I love that smell.


A touch of salt to bring out all the flavors and to balance that sweetness a bit.


Sifted all together. Nice and smooth.

Did I mention I made a mess of my kitchen while making these? Try as I might, I am not the neatest baker in the world.


The dry ingredients get added to the wet ingredients in three additions.

Start your beater on low or you’ll have a messier kitchen than I did.


This time around it’s not about getting all your frustrations out.

Only beat the mixture until each addition of dry ingredients is just incorporated with the wet ones. Scrape down the sides when they’re all added.

Then give it one last quick stir.


Line a couple of rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the cookies onto the sheets. Each one should be about one and a half tablespoons or slightly more. You’ll get about fifty cookies out of this recipe.


I put twelve on each baking sheet and baked them in batches.


The cookies need to bake in a 375°F oven for 13-14 minutes.

If the bottoms of the cookies are just lightly browned they are done.

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After baking they need to be allowed to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. Then you can transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before adding the topping.

While the cookies are baking make the FROSTING.

Like I said… cream cheese, butter.




And confectioner’s sugar.


Be sure to start with room temperature butter and cream cheese. It makes all the difference.


SMOOTH. This would be delicious spread on a graham cracker, too.

I think I might be craving graham crackers.

If you have actual piping bags and tips, it’s time to make good use of them. If not, grab a zip top bag and you’re in business. Fill the bag. Get all the air out. Zip it closed. Snip the tip of one of the corners. Squeeze the frosting toward the snipped corner.

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You could also just use a spoon and smear the tops of each cookie with a dollop of the frosting.

But if you have the time that decorative squiggle line is so pretty.

Top each cookie with a toasted pecan. I just toasted them in the oven before I started baking the cookies.  Eight, maybe ten minutes. Stir them once along the way. They’re toasted. Let them cool completely before using them.

I toasted more than I thought I’d need just to be extra sure I’d have one for each cookie and a handful for snacking, too. I can’t resist popping them in my mouth when they’re all fragrant and toasty like that.


They give the cookies that touch of crunch that they need. And they look pretty.

Here is the powdered sugar topping option:


They are actually very tasty this way too.


Oh yum.


Sighs of happiness.


Swoons of sweetness.


Shouts of thanksgiving!

I’m having a hard time not being able to have one right now. I might just have to head to my kitchen to make another batch.

I think I would if it wasn’t already so late. And if I wasn’t out of pumpkin. Darn.


Holy cow. Maybe I will just run to the store and stay up late. They’re decadent. They’re totally worth it.

I love pumpkin! I love Thanksgiving!! I’m thankful for these cookies!!!

I’m excited. Time for bed.

Almost forgot! You can click HERE for your recipe.

love you lots, jenna

3 thoughts on “Pumpkin Ricotta Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Hi Jenna, WOW I was surfing the net. my hubby LOVES ricotta cookies. so he went one step further & wanted pumpkin in it. So I will get your recipe & check it out for the hubby. Since he’s just had three heart attacks I want to make him a treat, making them a sugar free cookie.
    Thanx for posting ur recipe. P.J.

    • Dear P.J.,
      I was elated to read your comment. I’m so happy you found what your husband had a hankering for! I’ve had other ricotta cookies before too and have loved them… during the Thanksgiving season I was putting pumpkin into everything so I thought… why not ricotta cookies?! Let me know how they turn out sugar-free. I’ll get your recipe if they’re yummy. I like to give my girls treats with low (or no) sugar instead of the super sweet stuff from time to time. They don’t hold their sugar too well (haha). So good to hear from you. Love, Jenna

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