These Meltaway Cookies with Pumpkin Pie Buttercream are easy, fun, beyond delicious and perfect for gifting with free printable gift labels!
Do you know about Meltaway Cookies? These soft, buttery sweet treats could also be called Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies because that's what they literally do! They're super easy to make with just one bowl and no mixer and the Pumpkin Pie Buttercream filling takes them from fabulous to over-the-top extraordinary.
Meltaway cookies are similar to shortbread in that they both have a simple and similar ingredient list. Shortbread's cast of characters includes flour, sugar, butter and sometimes cornflour or cornstarch.
Meltaway cookies' ingredients are the same but, unlike shortbread, they also have a bit of baking powder. Neither shortbread or meltaway cookies contain eggs which is usually a classic cookie ingredient.
How to make Meltaway Cookies
If you've made any of our shortbread recipes, you'll find this recipe quite similar. Because we don't require a mixer, you want to start with very soft butter. You can let the butter sit out until it's soft or follow one of the easy tricks listed below under Café Tips.
Once the butter is soft, it's simply a matter of stirring in the other ingredients in the order given. Once everything's been added and the flour is incorporated give the dough a short chill in the fridge. Then scoop up the dough and roll each portion into a ball. Place the dough balls on a sheet pan and flatten each one lightly with a fork. Pop them in the oven till they're just beginning to turn golden at the edges.
These cookies are honestly so melt-in-your-mouth delicious, that you could stop at this point. Pour yourself a tall glass of milk or a cup of coffee and enjoy them just as they are. But, if you want to be a bit festive and fancy, the buttercream is easy to mix up and is so pretty! Again you'll be starting soft butter in a mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar, a drizzle of half and half and a splash of vanilla extra with the soft butter. A pinch of pumpkin pie spice makes these Meltaway Cookies SING with fabulous fall flavor!
A great gift to celebrate Fall and/or Thanksgiving
These festive cookies make a great gift and will bring lots of smiles to friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers... really anyone you chose to give them to. We're including some free printable labels (pictured below) with this recipe. If you'd like to receive them via email, just let us know in the comment section below this post.
We'll send you a PDF for the labels with instructions on how to use them as well as links for the boxes and ribbon shown in the pictures.
So pull some butter out of the fridge to soften and make a batch of these DELICIOUS Meltaway Cookies with Pumpkin Pie Buttercream. Whether you keep them for your own enjoyment, serve them to guests for a special fall treat or give them away, you'll be sure to hear rave reviews.
Café Tips for making these Meltaway Cookies with Pumpkin Pie Buttercream
- Because this recipe doesn't require a mixer, the butter needs to be nice and soft. You can let the butter sit out at room temperature, but if the air is chilly in your house, it won’t get soft enough. Here are some easy ways to soften butter:
- You can soften the butter in the microwave on power level 10%. It works like magic! You’ll need to experiment a bit with your microwave though, as they’re all different. Start with 1 minute. Add 20 to 30-second increments until you learn how long your microwave will take to get the butter nice and soft, but not melted.
- Another technique I often use to soften butter is to put it in the microwave for a few hours with the light on. To keep the light on in the microwave I put a folded paper towel in the door.
- Boil a cup of water in the microwave for 3-4 minutes and get things nice and steamy. Leave the water cup in the microwave, add the butter and close the door. The warmth from the steamy water will help to quickly soften the butter.
- Cutting the butter into small pieces helps it soften quicker.
- Place the hard butter on a small plate. Fill a bowl with hot water. Wait 5 minutes then discard the water. Put the warm bowl over the butter.
- Put the butter in the oven with the light turned on. This will take a few hours.
- The fastest way to soften butter is to put cold butter in the microwave for 10 seconds. Turn it to the opposite side and microwave for another 10 seconds. It might be ready at this point, but if it’s not completely soft, add one or two more 5-second stints.
- I use a retractable ice cream scoop to quickly scoop up these cookies. You can make the cookies any size you prefer but I like to make mine between 1-1½ tablespoons.
- Since these are sandwich cookies and need to be similar sizes, I like to use a kitchen scale to make sure my dough balls are all the same. You can also eyeball the scoops but the scale works well for me.
- I like to use cane sugar for sprinkling my cookies. Cane sugar is just slightly coarser (not as coarse as Turbinado or Demerara sugars) than regular granulated sugar so it doesn't sink into the dough as easily. Cane sugar can be found at most grocery stores in the baking aisle and online.
- Don't skip the cornstarch in these cookies. Cornstarch, according to Epicurious, "helps tenderize tough gluten, contributing to a softer cookie dough with a finer crumb after it’s been baked." I think it gives these Meltaway Cookies that signature melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- You can either spread the buttercream filling with a knife or you can scoop the buttercream into a pastry bag or ziplock bag and snip off a tiny corner. Then simply pipe the buttercream in a circular motion (nothing fancy) onto the flat side of half of the cookies. Gently press the remaining cookies over the buttercream to create pretty sandwich cookies!
Thought for the day:
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
- 12 tablespoons very soft butter not melted, I used salted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
- 4 tablespoons soft butter (I use salted)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 ½ tablespoons half and half
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- orange food color liquid or gel
Heat the oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium-large bowl stir the soft butter, vanilla and almost extract until nice and smooth. Add the baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Add the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Stir again until smooth and lump-free. Lastly add the flour and stir. At first the mixture will be quite shaggy. Keep stirring until the dough comes together and the flour is incorporated.
Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes then proceed with step 4.
Scoop up the dough into 1-1½ tablespoon scoops and roll with the palms of your hands into balls. Place the balls on the prepared sheet pans, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Press gently on each cookie with the back of a fork to flatten just a bit. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with sugar. (I like to use cane sugar which is just slightly coarser than regular granulated sugar.)
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies are a light golden brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with a bit more sugar. Cool on the sheet pan for 1 minute then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before filling.
Combine the soft butter, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, half and half and 1 cups of the powdered sugar in a medium size bowl. Stir with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon until well combined. Add the remaining powdered sugar and stir until nice and smooth. You want a smooth, spreadable icing. If it seems too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it's too thick add more half and half, a few drops at a time.
Add 2 drops orange food color. Stir until well combined. Add more, one drop at a time, stirring well after each addition, until desired color is achieved. You can also use orange gel food color. Add a bit on the tip of a toothpick, then stir and add more (with a clean toothpick) until desired color is achieved).
Spread a layer of the pumpkin buttercream on the flat side of half of the cookies, and then cover with the remaining cookies to make sandwiches. You can also place the buttercream in a pastry bag or ziplock bag. Snip a tiny corner off of the bag and pipe the buttercream onto the cookies.
Store the finished cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a cookie tin or container with a tight-fitting cover.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn't have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
The yield for this recipe depends on what size you make the cookies. I make mine 1-1½ tablespoons (about 25g each) and get 20 cookies which will yield 10 sandwich cookies.