Simple Kabocha Cookies

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Translated and adapted from パンプキンクッキー on

December is still kabocha season for Japan, and for me, it’s holiday-cut-out-cookie season. These are probably the easiest cut-out pumpkin/kabocha cookies I’ve ever made: four ingredients, no icing, and no refrigeration required for the dough. Since there isn’t much sugar, the flavor isn’t terribly sweet, which is a nice change of pace.

You will need a rolling pin (麺棒 めん棒 menbou) and a clean, flat surface like a cutting board to roll out the cookies.

Star-shaped kabocha cookies; the speckles are from the kabocha peel.

I used a star-shaped cookie cutter for that generic-winter-holiday feel, but you can also use this next Halloween! If you want the pumpkin cookies to be shaped like pumpkins but can’t find a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, buy an apple-shaped cookie cutter and lightly draw the segments of the pumpkin on with a knife.

Makes 16 apple-shaped cookies or about 40 small stars.

Click for the recipe

100 g kabocha (about 1/8 of a whole kabocha)
100 g butter* (softened)
50 g granulated sugar
200 g cake flour 薄力粉 (hakurikiko)


1. Preheat your oven to 180 C. If you have a Japanese-style moven, you can use the “cookie” (クッキー) setting without preheating it.
2. Prepare the kabocha. Cut the kabocha into small pieces (about 2 cm). Cut off the peel if you want pure orange cookies, or leave it on for speckled cookies. Place in a pot, and add enough water so that the kabocha is 1/2 to 3/4 covered. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for 10-20 minutes until the kabocha is very soft. (How long it takes will depend on how much there is and how small the pieces are.) Drain the remaining water, mash with a fork, and set aside.
3. Make the batter. In a bowl, beat the sugar and softened butter together until creamy and smooth. Add the mashed kabocha. Add the flour in two parts and stir well.
4. Roll out the dough. Make the dough into several balls. Lightly flour a cutting board, your hands, the rolling pin, and the dough. Roll the dough out evenly about 5mm thick.
5. Bake. If you’re using an apple-shaped cutter in place of a pumpkin-shaped one, lightly draw the segments of the pumpkin (or a jack-o-lantern face for Halloween). Place on a cookie sheet or cake pan. This cookies don’t expand or rise much, so you can place them closer together. For the moven, the cookie sheet or cake pan has to be able to rotate on the round ceramic plate. Press the cookie setting and let it run its course. For a regular oven, cook at 180 C for 20 minutes. If you used a particularly small shape, you may want to check it to through the window make sure it’s not getting too crispy.
6. Remove to a rack when done and let cool.


Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and prefers to use Japanese recipes to accommodate for the size of her kitchen. Her favorite cookbooks are The Joy of Cooking and Cook 1.0.


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