Megan Campbell and Danielle Gregori began a sweet family tradition.

Just after their grandpa, Clark, died, the Dickson City sisters wanted to cheer up their grandmother, Nancy, by baking Pumpkin Cookies together. Along with Campbell’s childhood best friend, Vanessa O’Boyle, the four made the sweet treat, and it became a yearly occasion.

The women didn’t get to continue the tradition during Campbell’s freshman year of college, but to surprise her and let her know she was thinking of her, her grandmother sent Campbell a big box of the Pumpkin Cookies to her New York City dorm.

“She was the most generous and caring person I’ve ever met,” Campbell said.
Even though their matriarch has since died, the recipe holds cherished memories for the family.

After featuring Sandi Graham’s Pumpkin Bars with Bailey’s Mascarpone Frosting last week, we’re on a pumpkin kick here at Local Flavor and couldn’t resist another autumnal treat featuring the sweet and spicy flavor.

That’s why Gregori, an account relationship specialist for The Sunday Times, and Campbell, a former videographer for The Sunday Times and Access, earned a $50 gift card to Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore, for St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, Scranton, through Local Flavor Gives Back’s Times-Shamrock Communications employees edition for their recipe.

The sisters top their cookies with a homemade vanilla glaze, but bakers can substitute an icing of their choice or forgo any topping. Gregori also advised that the cookies should be a little chewy, so bakers should keep an eye on the cookies while they’re in the oven.

“You don’t want them to burn or get too dark on the bottom,” she said. “They’re way better when they’re nice and soft.”

Gregori and Campbell hold fond memories of baking with their grandma, from making biscuits and breads to blueberry muffins and all different types of cookies. Grandma’s Peckville home always was a hub where she hosted a weekly Sunday dinner for the whole family, including the girls’ parents, Bob and Denise Campbell. New additions were welcome, too, and over the years Gregori’s husband, Doug, and Campbell’s boyfriend, Evan Collins, joined the group.
The family also went over every year to make press cookies for Christmas, a time when each person was assigned a specific job. The Christmas cookie-thon continues today, with the memory of Gregori and Campbell’s grandmother a part of it all.
“She really loved baking and just being together with all of us,” Gregori said. “That’s what made her happy.”


Megan Campbell and Danielle Gregori’s Pumpkin Cookies

For the cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl.
Beat sugar and butter in large mixing bowl until well-blended. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract and blend until smooth. Gradually add in flour mixture and combine.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes.
For glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies.