These fun, easy twists start with a spiced pastry dough that's simple to make in the food processor. A couple of quick folds make this dough puffy and layered, a crisp contrast to the buttery spice filling and the creamy icing.
For the dough: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, spice and salt together to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter is about the size of peas. Add the ice water and pulse gently until the dough comes together. If the dough seems dry, add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until it does come together.
Immediately turn the dough out and form it into a 1-inch-thick disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and fold it into quarters. Immediately roll out the dough again to 1/2 inch thick and fold it into quarters again. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the filling: In a small bowl, stir the brown sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and melted butter together until combined.
When the dough is chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 14-by-10-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough in half crosswise to form two 7-by-10-inch rectangles. Spread the filling onto one rectangle in an even layer and gently top with the second rectangle. Carefully stretch the top layer of dough and press it around the filling, then pinch it to seal.
Cut the layered dough lengthwise into 18 equal strips. Holding a strip at either end, gently twist and then lay it on the prepared baking sheet, then press the ends down to secure them. Repeat with the remaining strips, leaving about 1/2 inch between each. Bake until the twists are deeply golden brown, 25 to 27 minutes. Let cool.
If desired, make the icing: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, cream and vanilla together in a small bowl to form a glaze that's thick but still drizzles. Add more cream as needed to achieve the right consistency, then drizzle the icing over the cooled twists. Let sit for 10 minutes to firm the glaze before serving.