Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Yes! Yes! YAAAAS! Welcome to the official start of fall on Sally’s Baking Addiction. With the actual actual first day of Fall this week, I figured now’s an appropriate time to open that first can of pumpkin. I can hear the can openers clicking this very second. Music to all our ears!
Though, admittedly, I’ve been working with pumpkin for awhile. Today’s pumpkin cookie recipe has been the bane of my existence this whole month! It’s no easy feat creating a NEW, chewy, exciting, flavorful, chewy, spiced, soft, did I mention chewy? and will my readers actually want to make these? pumpkin cookie. And while “brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies” may not sound revolutionary, they are by far one of the best cookie recipes to come out of my oven.
Totally the Fall 2016 cookie right here. ♥
Let’s jump right in it. I have some tips before you make this recipe.
Pumpkin is a strange ingredient when it comes to cookies. It’s fantastic in things like cakes, muffins, and breads because it’s so moist. Moist ingredients = moist baked goods. That’s a good thing! My repeating of the word “moist” may not be. But when it comes to cookies, too much moisture leaves you with a piece of cake in the shape of a cookie. Or worse! Orange cookies spread all over your baking sheet.
But there’s a way we can cheat the system, which brings me to my first tip: squeeze the pumpkin dry. Yup, this one is definitely in the weird zone. But measuring your pumpkin puree and then squeezing moisture out with a paper towel is a trick that WORKS. I understand how weird this is, but make sure you do it:
Look at the difference in this picture though.
Left: blotted the pumpkin. Denser and chewier.
Right: did not blot the pumpkin. Cakey.
So now that we’ve blotted the pumpkin like a bunch of crazies– what’s next?
My second tip: Another way to achieve a soft and chewy not-so-cakey pumpkin cookie is to leave out the egg. This was a total game changer for me back in 2013. Pumpkin acts like an egg in cookies– it’s awesome. Testing today’s pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe, however, proved that an egg– or at least part of an egg– is necessary though. The cookies were a little dry and crumbly without it, which is likely because of all the oats. So we’ll use just an egg yolk. That little extra fat is perfection.
My next tip: BROWN THAT BUTTER! Brown butter is a massively underused ingredient. It’s a 5 minute process and the result will pack extraordinary flavor into anything it touches. Not just regular flavor. Deep toffee-like, toasty, next level, caramel, nutty flavor that pairs oh-so-perfectly with pumpkin and its spices. I knew brown butter was the path to take when creating a pumpkin cookie for this Fall! Brown butter should always be the answer.
Here’s another tip: Make sure that you let the brown butter cool for about 5 minutes after browning it and before using it in the cookie dough. You don’t want the hot butter to cook the egg yolk! During that time you can blot the pumpkin (LOL).
And another tip: use a cookie scoop. The pumpkin cookie dough is more like a cross between cookie dough and cake batter. Datter? Bough? Whatever. A cookie scoop makes things a little more manageable. Once you scoop each, slightly flatten things out. The cookies don’t spread *too much* but they will spread a little if you flatten it out first. Just like this:
One last tip: ice the cookies!! This brown butter icing might just be the best part of the entire brown butter pumpkin cookie package. All you do is make sure you brown a little extra butter and reserve 1/4 cup for the icing. Whisk it with a little confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla. Boom! The brown butter icing will “set” on top of the cookie after a couple hours, making these cookies easy to transport wherever you go this Fall.
No dough chilling, no mixer required. That finished product? Brown sugared, brown buttered, perfectly pumpkin spiced, chewy edges, soft centers, brown buttery icing, and happy bellies. Excited to finally bring this recipe to you!
More pumpkin cookies:
- Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
- Cinnamon chip pumpkin cookies
- White chocolate pumpkin snickerdoodles
- Healthier pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (with updated photos!)
Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (170g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1 and 2/3 (208g) cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice1
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (228g) pumpkin puree (see note - not pumpkin pie filling and not the whole can)2
Brown Butter Glaze
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners' sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) milk
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Important before you begin! If topping the cookies with the brown butter icing, you can brown the butter for both the cookies AND the icing together. Once it is all browned, set 2 liquid ounces (1/4 volume cup) aside for the glaze. You can use it in step 8. The rest (about 8 liquid ounces) is for the cookies, used in step 5.
- Brown the butter: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning-- you'll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. See photo above for a visual. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Pour the slightly cooled brown butter into a large bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla extract until combined, then whisk in the pumpkin. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and sticky.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls (about 2 heaping Tbsp of dough each) and place 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the balls out-- see picture above-- as the cookies won't spread much unless you help out first!
- Bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned and set on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before icing.
- Make the icing: Whisk together the 1/4 cup of brown butter you reserved for the icing, along with the remaining icing ingredients until smooth. Dip the top of each cookie into the icing.
Make ahead tip: Iced cookies stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 6. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
Adapted from my favorite pumpkin oatmeal cookies. Aside from the brown butter and the icing, today's cookies are chewier with a little more pumpkin flavor.
Instead of icing (or in addition to!), you can add 1 heaping cup of chocolate chips to the cookie dough. Or 1 cup of chopped nuts, dried cranberries, raisins, white chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, etc.
- Instead of pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
- Squeeze as much of the moisture out of the pumpkin puree as you can before adding it to the cookie dough. I simply squeeze the puree with paper towels. See photo in the post for a visual. This will help produce a less cakey cookie. Less moisture is a good thing in these cookies!
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