These pumpkin spice cookies are soft, chewy and perfect for fall. They’re filled with flavor thanks to the pumpkin, vanilla extract, & fall spices. Then they’re rolled in cinnamon sugar for a delicious coating that’ll remind you of snickerdoodles.
Can you believe we’re already almost half way through September??? Have you been hopping on the fall bandwagon? Raking leaves & picking apples?
Last weekend I spent Saturday enjoying the sunshine (and getting a sunburn). Then Sunday arrived and fall came overnight. The air was crisp, the leaves were yellow & orange, baristas were in full force making pumpkin spice lattes, and everyone made the wardrobe transition from cutoffs to cable knit sweaters. Seriously, the fall-ness was in overdrive.
Now, when it comes to fall – I always feel like there’s 2 groups of people: the ones rejoicing and the ones dreading the end of summer. I typically fall into the latter, but I love fall because it’s the perfect excuse to get back in the kitchen and start baking. I’ve been slacking.
Plus, there’s so many delicious fall flavors for inspiration: pumpkin, apples, zucchini, sweet potato… pumpkin… maple…. pumpkin. Everything tastes warm, cozy & delicious.
So to start off the autumn inspired treats (even if you’re still lounging by the pool)- today we’re making pumpkin cookies. Soft, chewy, never cakey, pumpkin cookies that are filled with vanilla, spices and brown sugar goodness.
Think of them like pumpkin snickerdoodles. Or the fall cousin of soft & chewy ginger molasses cookies. Seriously, the flavor is off the hook.
So what makes these pumpkin spice cookies so delicious you ask????
First, we’re starting with real butter (not margarine or shortening) for the most flavor. Then we’re using a combo of brown sugar and white sugar. Whenever I can use brown sugar in baking, I almost always opt for it because it adds a delicious caramel undertone and creates super chewy cookies. A total win-win.
Then we’re adding lots of vanilla (no skimping here), and a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg & ground cloves. The star of the show is obviously pumpkin – but it’s the brown sugar, vanilla & spices really make it shine. It’s a fall party of flavors. And me & my cable knit sweaters, fall booties and plethora of scarves are joining in on the fun.
One of the really important things I wanted in these cookies was for them to be chewy & cookie-like in texture. We add a lot of moisture with the pumpkin, so we need to be careful. To combat the extra moisture/water added with the pumpkin – you’ll notice that there’s only 1 egg in the batter. And we’re using cornstarch and cream of tarter to keep them soft and chewy.
Then the cookie dough is chilled prior to baking, and we’ll form the dough into balls and roll them in cinnamon sugar. Could you honestly think of anything better???? The cinnamon sugar adds a delicious coating, extra cookie texture, and that perfect snickerdoodle-esque appearance. Seriously, the deliciousness factor of these pumpkin cookies is off the chain.
If you love pumpkin – make sure to try these favorites too:
- Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts – I could honestly eat these cake doughnuts for breakfast from September 1st – December 1st
- Pumpkin Cheesecake – An awesome alternative to pumpkin pie.
- Pumpkin Bread – I made this for Jay’s work and it was gone before noon….
What’s on your fall baking to-do list?
Pumpkin Spice Cookies
- 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¾ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoons ground cloves
- ¾ cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 and ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & ground cloves.
- In a separate large bowl beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low then beat in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin.
- Slowly add in the flour mixture. The dough will be very sticky.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- When ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line 2 cookie trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a small bowl whisked together the sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar coating.
- Form the dough into balls of about 1.5 tablespoons in size, then roll in the cinnamon sugar coating and flatten slightly
- Place the cookies on the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for about 8-10 minutes until the tops look just set.
These sound so good!! Is there a substitute for cream of tartar I can use??
If you don’t have any cream of tartar, I’d just leave it out.
You can use the same amount of lemon juice or vinegar as the cream of tartar.
What size can of pumpkin to use half of?
You’ll use 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin.
Can I substitute sour cream for something else
Hi Lucy – not quite sure what you mean here. There isn’t any sour cream in the recipe.
Hi. Thanks for this great recipe. It is absolutely delicious! However, mine did turn out a little on the “cakey” side…almost like a muffin top. Is it possible that I’ve done something wrong? Or maybe I made the cookies a little too big…any suggestions?
I’d try using 1-2 tablespoon less of flour next time and pressing the tops down a little before baking.
We enjoyed these cookies very much. It turned out a bit more cakey then we expected but delicious non the less! Thank you for sharing.
My 6-year-old daughter and I made these today. They turned out perfect (very soft). We used pumpkin filling because that’s all we had in the pantry. Baked them for 10 minutes. Delicious – thank you for sharing.
The cookies turned out great however, I did have to leave them in the oven for about 15 minutes. I think this may be a result of baking with a silicone mat. When left in the oven for only 10 minutes with the silicone mat there was a fine layer of raw batter. Thanks for the delicious recipe Fiona!
Can I substitute the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with pumpkin pie spice? If so how much should I use?
Yup – you’ll want to use 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice!
Can you use fresh pumpkin?
I’m always hesitant to use fresh pumpkin in these cookies because because the amount of moisture in the pumpkin can vary significantly and therefore lead to inconsistent or poor results.
Love them. Thank you so much for sharing; these will be a future holiday cookie plate star.
FYI: I used 1 Tbl Trader Joe pumpkin Spice in the dough & considered using it for the spiced sugar, but decided on cinnamon sugar as per the recipe. Delish. PS, used Saigon Cinnamon for superb warmth & flavor; because it was a new jar I used just 1 tsp & it was terrif.
I’m now off to experiment with sweet potato & persimmon versions. Thanks again.
Have a safe & sane holiday season!
I’m so glad you loved the cookies – and thanks so much for reporting back on the spices you used! Happy holidays!