Pumpkin Cookies for October!

Alisha Campbell, Woodside National Historic Site, ON

I love October. For me, it is associated with colours, spices and pumpkins! As a team member at Woodside National Historic Site, it also means a Victorian Thanksgiving celebration and yummy pumpkin cookies! If you come and visit us around that time of year, the childhood home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th and longest serving prime minister, will be decked out for a Victorian Thanksgiving celebration and the air filled with the delicious aroma of our pumpkin spice cookies. You will not be able to resist!

If you can’t visit us to try our delicious fall pumpkin and spice cookies, no worries! I will share the recipe with you today. Just like William Lyon Mackenzie King and his brothers and sisters, your little ones will probably love to have cookies such as these as a special fall treat. And who knows, they may become your favorite to mark the arrival of fall too!



  • 1 cup | 250 ml sugar
  • 1 cup | 250 ml shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup | 250 ml pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml vanilla
  • 2 cups | 500 ml flour
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml baking soda
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml baking powder
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml cinnamon
  • ½ tsp | 2,5 ml salt
  • 1 cup | 250 ml raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup | 250 ml chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


  • 1 cup | 250 ml brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp | 30 ml butter
  • 4 tbsp | 60 ml milk
  • 1 cup | 250 ml icing sugar



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F, or 190 °C.
  2. Cream together the sugar and shortening.
  3. Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla and beat well. Set aside.
  4. Sift and mix dry ingredients together and add to the sugar mixture.
  5. Add raisins and nuts, if desired.
  6. Drop by large spoonfuls (about 6.5 cm/2.5 inches, in size) onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Ensure to leave enough space between the cookies so that they don’t stick together. The mixture will make as many as 30 cookies, depending on their size.


  1. Combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Boil for 2 minutes. Note: If your little bakers have helped you thus far, keep in mind that this step should be done by an adult.
  2. Let cool.
  3. Add icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  4. Dip cookie tops in the icing. If the icing is too thick, thin it with a small amount of milk to loosen the consistency.
Ingredients for the recipe

Cookies mixture

Cookies on a baking plaque


Pumpkin cookies with icing on a plate

The original recipe comes from the book Pioneer Cooking in Ontario: Tested Recipes from Ontario’s Pioneer Villages and Historical Sites. NC Press Limited. Toronto, 1981.

For more heritage inspired recipes, visit the Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet page

Download this activity (PDF, 300 KB)

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