These soft pumpkin cookies are thick and cakey with extra pumpkin spice flavor. The maple cream cheese icing is a delicious addition, but the cookies are just as wonderful plain. No cookie dough chilling required!
- 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) fresh or canned pumpkin puree
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 cup (170g; 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I use and recommend dark)
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, milk, or orange juice (see note)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Maple Cream Cheese Icing (Optional)
- 3 ounces (85g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
- pinch ground cinnamon (about 1/8 teaspoon)
- In this recipe, it’s best to use pumpkin that has had some moisture removed. Blot the pumpkin with paper towels to rid excess moisture. No need to squeeze it completely dry. I usually place it in a paper towel lined bowl and let the paper towel soak up some moisture. A clean kitchen towel works too, but the pumpkin can stain. After ridding some moisture, you’ll have a little less than 1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin– I usually have about 1 and 1/3 cups (315g). Using anywhere between 1.33 – 1.5 cups of pumpkin is fine. Set aside until step 4. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. It can be cold when you add it to the dough.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and ginger together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and blotted pumpkin and mix on high until combined. Mixture will look a little curdled– that’s ok.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then mix on low speed until combined. Dough is thick and sticky. Scoop or roll cookie dough, around 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, and place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake for 14-15 minutes or until edges appear set. The centers will look soft. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The longer the cookies cool, the better their flavor– I like them best on day 2!
- Optional Icing: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and a pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 teaspoon), then beat on low speed until smooth and creamy. Taste. Add more cinnamon if desired. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into icing or spread it onto each cookie with a knife.
- Cover leftover iced cookies tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Cookies without icing can be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: To make ahead, you can cover and chill the cookie dough for up to 48 hours. Bring to room temperature before shaping into balls and baking. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before shaping into balls and baking. You can also freeze the cookie dough balls for up to 3 months. It’s best to thaw the dough balls and bring to room temperature before baking. Iced cookies or cookies without icing freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
- Pumpkin: Do not use pumpkin pie filling; use pure pumpkin puree. While using fresh pumpkin puree is fine, I always have better results with canned. You’ll need a little less than 1 standard 15 ounce can. No matter if you use fresh or canned, blot the pumpkin as directed in step 1.
- Spices: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground allspice, and ground ginger. This is in addition to the cinnamon and ginger already called for in the recipe. I prefer these with extra ginger, but you can skip the additional 1/4 teaspoon if desired.
- Maple Syrup: The 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, milk, or orange juice are really just to help thin out the cookie dough. 2 teaspoons isn’t much, but it does help. I love using maple syrup, but milk or orange juice work too. Orange is excellent with pumpkin– see my pumpkin bread!
- Optional Add-Ins: Feel free to fold 1 and 1/2 cups of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried cranberries into the dough after you mix the wet and dry ingredients together.
Keywords: pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice, cookies