Of all the sweet indulgences – ice cream, chocolate, doughnuts – the hardest for me to do without are baked goods. Baking is what got me into the kitchen in the first place, as a sweet-toothed kid with a mom who cooked brilliantly but baked only with Bisquick.
In my past five weeks of sugar/wheat/rice elimination, we’ve had three family birthdays on top of our usual activity, and even as I made treat after treat for everyone else – chocolate pie, pavlova, homemade pudding (to use up my egg yolks from pavlova-making), banana bread, pumpkin applesauce cake, apple cake, frosted birthday cake, chocolate chip cookie cake, cranberry cream scones, buttermilk cake – I never ate any of it.
But these soft, tender pumpkin cookies broke me down.
I have a beef with pumpkin products that are tinted orange but don’t taste anything like pumpkin. These pumpkin cookies are the real deal – soft and cakey, rich with pumpkin and generously spiced for a cinnamon tingle.
You don’t need the chocolate chips – without them, the cookies are a pure pumpkin delight, supermoist and melting in your mouth with the sweet taste of fall. But once you’ve had the counterpoint of chocolate, with its dark silky sweetness, it’s hard to go without it.
These are fast and easy cookies, no dough chilling, no waiting, just drop spoonfuls, bake and eat. Many pumpkin cookie recipes have frosting, but this is a pumpkin cookie that can stand alone, with or without the chocolate.
I researched a bunch of cookie recipes before modifying this one, cutting the butter in half and doubling the pumpkin. So go ahead and have the chocolate chips. And if you want to be extra tricky, use half whole wheat flour, and no one will even notice.
Like most cookies, we start with creaming butter, sugar and egg. You don’t need a mixer. People pay good money for this kind of arm workout. And honestly this isn’t a stiff dough, so you’re going to be fine.
Add a whole can of pumpkin puree, plus vanilla.
Mix in dry ingredients.
Chocolate chips if you like.
This cookie is cakey enough you can test it with a toothpick – because of the color, it can be hard to tell when edges are browning. You want to make sure these are cooked through, so an extra minute is better than not enough.
Of course I had to try with chocolate chips and without. Because I’m super dedicated to my craft here.
I’m not one to classify cookies as healthy, but given the relatively low butter and high pumpkin ratios, these are pretty wholesome. In fact, my husband says these don’t tip the scale for him like other indulgences do (he says my banana flaxseed chocolate chip muffins are like that too).
I’ve got one more week of elimination to go. And then I am going to town on these cookies.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
These pumpkin cookies are the real deal – soft and cakey, rich with pumpkin and generously spiced for a cinnamon tingle. Without chocolate chips, the cookies are a pure pumpkin delight, supermoist and melting in your mouth with the sweet taste of fall. But once you’ve had the counterpoint of chocolate, with its dark silky sweetness, it’s hard to go without it.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4 if using salted butter)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Use a fork or whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, combine softened butter with white and brown sugars. Use a fork or electric mixer to mix butter and sugar until well combined. Add egg and mix until light and fluffy.
- Add pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Add flour mixture 2-3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined. Mix in chocolate chips, if using.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until surface looks dry and toothpick tester comes out clean.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
- I’ve made these with 1/2 whole wheat flour, which the kids don’t even notice when chocolate chips are in the picture.
- Feel free to add other pumpkiny spices, eg cloves, ginger or allspice.
Here’s the link to a printable version.