These soft-baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are a delicious fall treat, so you’ll want to make a big batch to share. Each bite contains warm spices and gooey bursts of sweetness.
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When the end of the year hits, it’s time to start cooking with one of the biggest seasonal ingredients around. Pumpkins are so versatile for baking and making snacks like homemade pumpkin seeds. Their creamy consistency and neutral taste make them the ideal base for sauces and desserts.
For these treats, I’ve taken my classic pumpkin cookie recipe and added melty chocolate chips for a burst of bittersweet cocoa flavor. This version yields a cakey, soft-baked texture with a lightly crisp exterior. The moisture in the pumpkin puree and brown sugar helps keep the interior from drying out. Each cookie has bold spices that fill your kitchen with incredible aromas as they bake.
If you are in the mood to make the puree from scratch, go for it. Otherwise, a convenient alternative is using store-bought canned pumpkins. Make sure to purchase the unsweetened product, not the pumpkin pie filling, because that already contains spices and sweeteners that would overwhelm the taste.
Enhance the pumpkin flavor
Gourds alone have a mild and creamy taste with a very neutral squash-like flavor. Therefore, it tastes pretty bland on its own. I use five bold spices to enhance the pumpkin flavor; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves. You can buy a pre-made blend to save time or make a big jar of homemade pumpkin pie spice to use for other recipes throughout the fall season.
Create a soft texture
To make a soft, cakey cookie structure, it starts with creaming the butter and sugar together. I use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer to whip air into the fat until it’s light and fluffy. The granulated sugar and brown sugar not only sweeten the base but also push air into the butter.
When baked, the butter pockets thicken instead of spreading out and becoming chewy like classic chocolate chip cookies. I use three leavening agents; eggs, baking powder, and baking soda to give the batter extra lift.
Semi-sweet chocolate chips are my top choice for these pumpkin cookies. I like the balance of bitterness between cocoa and sugar. You can use other types of chocolate like dark 60% cacao or white chocolate if desired. Otherwise, use a combination for a variety in flavor and color.
Before baking, I recommend adding more chips on top of the dough, so there are melty pieces that pop out when fresh from the oven.
This is a sticky dough, similar to a thick pancake batter. It has a high ratio of fresh pumpkin puree and sugars, so it feels tackier. I measure out a few tablespoons and drop them on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. I find that it helps to dip your fingers in water, then lightly press down and shape them into a circle. They spread out and grow about three times their size, but should not be completely flat.
Bake at a moderate temperature of 350ºF (177ºC) until the tops are set and turn lightly golden brown. The top will be soft and spongy to the touch. The process is quick, about 14 minutes. I leave them on the pan to cool for 5 minutes, so the centers gently finish cooking. Don’t leave them on the tray too long as the excess moisture will make them soggy on the bottoms.
My family loves to eat them warm, but if you wait a little longer and let the outside cool, the exterior will have a nice slight crispiness. It’s delightful!
Serve this with
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can use solidified coconut oil instead of softened butter to cream with the sugars. Replace the egg with a flax egg for binding, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water and let it thicken for 10 minutes. The cookies will be slightly denser and nutty in flavor.
For a quick and convenient spice blend, use store-bought pumpkin pie spice. Each brand has different ratios of the main spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and sometimes cardamom). I like to make my own homemade spice blend to control the amounts better and adjust to your taste.
Use softened butter for a cakey texture
Make sure to use softened butter just below room temperature, between 65 to 67ºF (18 to 19ºC). This ensures that the needle-like beta prime fat crystals hold their shape during the creaming process with the sugars, and the batter can trap air. This process creates pockets of fat that, when baked, melt, but keep an open crumb that provides a cakey soft texture.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to 65 to 67ºF (18 to 19ºC)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350ºF (177ºC).
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), combine butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed (setting 8) until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and mix on low speed (setting 2) until combined, 30 seconds.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Mix on low speed (setting 2) until combined, 30 seconds.
- Gradually add the flour mixture at low speed (setting 2) until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix the cookie dough with a spatula to incorporate any pockets of flour.
- Stir in 1 ¼ cups of chocolate chips until just combined.
- Spoon two tablespoon-sized mounds of cookie dough onto the baking sheets, spaced 2-inches apart. Use fingers lightly dipped in water to spread the dough into a circle. The dough will have a sticky consistency. Use the remaining chocolate chips to add on top of each cookie. Repeat with remaining cookie dough, about 12 per baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges and centers are set, and the bottoms are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. If baking less than 12 cookies per sheet, reduce time to 12 to 14 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Storing: These cookies taste the best enjoyed the same day. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days or in the refrigerator for 7 days. The cookies will become cakier and softer when stored overnight.
- Freezing: Store in the freezer for up to 30 days. Defrost at room temperature before eating.
- Spice Substitute: Use 1 ¾ teaspoon of store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
- Make it Vegan: Use solidified coconut oil instead of butter. Make a flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons of water, let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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