A plate of pumpkin-spice cookies drizzled with brown-sugar icing.

Snacks & Treats

Delicious Victorian-Era Pumpkin-and-Spice Cookies with Brown Sugar Icing

Oct 11, 2017

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 celebrations 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 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

The ingredients laid out in bowls on a table.

How To


1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F (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.

Adding raisins and nuts into the mixture.
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. 

Mounds of raw cookie dough on a cookie sheet, ready to be baked.

Baked cookies on a tray.


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. Let cool.
2. Add icing sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Dip cookie tops in the icing. If the icing is too thick, thin it with a small amount of milk to loosen the consistency.

A cookie that has been half immersed in brown-sugar icing.

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, go to Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet page.


Article Author Club Parka, Parks Canada
Club Parka, Parks Canada

Club Parka is a Parks Canada program for preschoolers at national parks and historic sites across the country. Kids can take part in the program online, too!

Visit parkscanada.gc.ca/Parka to download activity pages and get to know Parka, the busy little beaver who helps kids explore the world around them.

You can watch Parka weekday mornings on CBC TV following each episode of Chirp.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.