In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans and dates. (May omit dates and substitute chocolate chips if desired.)
Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until firm.
Meanwhile, for frosting, combine the butter, brown sugar and milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in maple flavoring and vanilla.
Cool slightly; beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to achieve spreading consistency. Remove cookies to wire racks; frost while warm.