Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grandma Rohrer's Infamous Pumpkin Cookies

Warning!  I'm not going Betty Crocker on you all. These cookies are divine and they are delish! Nature will resume tomorrow;) Las Aventuras is a blog about travel, the critters, plants, and gardening in the desert.  But my personal challenge was to create a unique 12 day theme that builds up to the holiday season for many people.  For me, it gets me excited because I'll get to be home with my family again.  And there it is.....the adventure of family, food, and fun. And I'll be taking you all on some amazing treks while home! It's not about the gifts for me anymore (and it hasn't been that way for years now) as it is about being with family and doing crazy things together.....with a lot of laughter happening afterwards.  Today I'm going to share with you two very special things about my Grandma Rohrer.  I am still lucky to have one of my Grandparents alive while the other 3 have passed.   It was during this time of year that Grandma Rohrer made her famous pumpkin cookies.  Thankfully she taught me the recipe before she passed.  It took me a year to perfect the recipe but it was an adventure in the kitchen with a lot of pumpkin and date love.  I have the recipe below.  You will be a hit if you make these for your family.  I think it's the frosting that makes these cookies stand out from the rest.  But I'll let you be the judge of that:)  Grandma would come to our house with several large trays of pumpkin cookies and within an hour or two, all the cookies would be gone!!!  Sometimes she'd make them and hold them hostage at her house so that we would come and visit:)  Smart lady.

In college, broke and looking for ways to save money, I'd have a baking day where I would make loaves of bread and other pastries with my roomie.  It would never fail that after I made the frosting and covered the cookies, my roommate would eat all the frosting off the cookies.  Nasty!!!  One morning, I woke up to check on the cookies and put them in their containers and discovered that there wasn't any frosting on any of them!!!  The guilty party just laughed and said she had a sugar attack in the middle of the night.  Right.....:)
I was bored and wanted to dress up the pic a bit.  I don't even know what that thing is on top of my head.
The frosting thief!!

But here's the last memory of my Grandma Rohrer.  She made her pumpkin cookies and in a rare Christmas moment, my Grandmother's godchild came to visit from California.  It was a reunion that hadn't happened in years.  Although they wrote and practically spoke on the phone everyday to one another, they didn't get the chance to visit often in person.  So on Christmas Eve, I went outside to enjoy the snow falling.  Arizona can be a downer for this kind of event(if you like snow).  So I stepped outside into the cold Wisconsin air and looked inside my house all bundled up in my winter gear.  I ate one of the last pumpkin cookies my Grandmother made and watched as she, her two sons and spouses, godchild and grandchildren hung around the Christmas tree nibbling on Chex mix and sharing stories of the past and present.  I tried to memorize the picture as best I could looking into our house from outside.  As the eldest, I am the unofficial record keeper for my family. And the only one to move out of Wisconsin!  I got a little misty eyed watching it all, thinking, that it might be the last time that my Grandma would get to meet up with her Godchild...and it was.  It would also be the last time, I'd get to eat one of my Grandma's pumpkin cookies.  But because she took the time and taught me her secret to an excellent cookie, I can always celebrate her memory by making these wonderful treats.  PS.  The secret is in the dates!  It keeps the cookie moist.  The frosting makes you want more.  So here is my Grandma Rohrer's infamous pumpkin cookie recipe.  Hope you enjoy this little adventure in the kitchen!  If you dislike dates, you can substitute with walnuts, but it will make the cookie drier.

Grandma Rohrer's Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup of dates
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup shortening

Mix dry ingredients first or you'll have a difficult time stirring!  Then add wet ingredients like the pumpkin, shortening, etc.  If you have a mixer, it's a lot easier to do.  Pat out with spoon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Frost while still warm.  While baking, get your frosting mix ready.

Frosting recipe
3 tbs. butter
4 tbs. milk
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Boil this mixture for two minutes and let cool.  That's the key here if you've never made homemade frosting before.....IT MUST COOL before adding the powder sugar.  Sometimes I put the pot in the fridge for a quicker cool.   Once cool, beat in 1 cup(or so:) of powder sugar until stiff.  Add 3/4 tsp. vanilla.  Beat until creamy.  And frost cookies. Hope you enjoy a Rohrer family tradition.  Happy Holidays!


  1. The recipe sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing your special family memory and cookies with us!

    Your reflection pic is great!

  2. Oh my goodness, I absolutely LOVE pumpkin anything, and these sound just wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe here.
    Sending you wishes for a most beautiful Holiday.

  3. Matthew Robert Rohrer IDecember 23, 2011 at 3:32 AM

    There is it, you have released the information the kept this family in check. Forshame, did Bartles let James release the secret of there 3 dollar wine? I think not.

  4. Why thank you for your comment Matthew Robert Rohrer. This is what I have to say about your comment....releasing this recipe was a difficult decision, but I missed Grandma and thought...what if others could make her cookies?....then Grandma would be celebrated across the world and people would smile....and that made me smile. For my blogger friends, I should mention you can make the cookies as small or large as you like....but traditionally Grandma made the cookies smaller:)


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