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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Given that, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, fall is upon us, I am much more inclined than usual to make things with pumpkin. I know other people are, too. The subtley sweet and easy spiceability of the squash make it practically the symbol of fall. I just love it any time, but certainly am aware of a higher level of acceptability as the year progresses.

Along with casseroles, cakes and pies, cookies seem like a good vehicle for pumpkin. Unfortunately, many pumpkin cookies are spongy and cakey and rubbery. The flavor is good, but you just don’t want to keep chewing them. Even if they are fine the day they come out of the oven, the next day they are dry and bland. Tempting, isn’t it?

These pumpkin cookies, fortunately, do not seem to have those problems. They are very soft and a bit chewy, but not cakey. They are moist and have a good pumpkin flavor. The whole cookie presents a slightly unusual, but excellent, combination of texture and flavors. Best of all, they retain all of these qualities, making them just as good (if not better) on the second day. I think that they are best with chocolate chips and a few nuts, but they work well with raisins and dried cranberries, too. I always like to add the optional pecans for crunch.

I recommend using freshly cooked, cooled and pureed pumpkin because I think that the extra moisture helps the cookie’s texture; canned pumpkin may result in an ever so slightly cakey cookie.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ½ cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

pinch nutmeg
½ cup butter, room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 c chocolate chips or raisins

½ – 1 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Whisk together flour, leavening, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars. Beat in egg, then vanilla, then pumpkin. Add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans, if using.
Drop by tablespoons and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350F. Bake them until they’re lightly browned at the edges, but not dark.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

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  • Rainey
    October 24, 2005

    Mmmm! I’m a pumpkin fan too and I just made the Gourmet Anniversary Cookbook Pumpkin-Apple Bread this weekend. I recommend it.

    If you’re of a mind to try a cakey pumpkin cookie with a spicier flavor as befits Fall I also recommend this recipe I got from a can of pumpkin 20ish years ago. It’s what began my love affair with pumpkin.

    Pumpkin Spice Cookies

    • ½ cup shortening
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 egg
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 2 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon ginger
    • 1 cup golden raisins
    • 1 cup nuts, chopped
    • 2 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, firmly packed

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    For Cookies, cream shortening. Gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs and pumpkin. Mix well. Set aside.

    Sift dry ingredients together. Add to pumpkin mixture. Add raisins and nuts.

    Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a flat-bottomed glass dipped in water every 2 or 3 cookies as needed. Bake about 15 minutes or until firm to touch. Remove cookies to cool on rack. Ice with Lemon Frosting when cool.

    For Lemon Frosting, combine the ingredients adding just enough milk for a spreading consistency. Makes 4 dozen

  • mari
    October 24, 2005

    As you know, I was just looking for a pumpkin cookie recipe. Today I find TWO! I’m going to give these a try. There really is something about this time of the year that makes me think of pumpkin and all those warm spices that go with it…

  • Nupur
    October 24, 2005

    They look wonderful, Nic! Can I ask if you use canned or fresh pumpkin puree? If canned, can you suggest a good brand?

  • Sara
    October 24, 2005

    Pumpkin and chocolate go so well together.

  • FoodNinja
    October 24, 2005

    This sounds like a great way to use up some left over pumkin I have Woot!

  • Emily
    October 24, 2005

    Your blog is my is my absolute favorite blog. I can’t believe you made these. I’ve made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (my own recipe) about ten times in the past month, since sweet potatoes and squash showed up at the farmer’s market. I guess great (baking) minds think alike : )

  • Nic
    October 24, 2005

    Rainey – That pumpkin-apple bread sounds good. I recently saw a recipe for a pumpkin-apple pie that I’d like to try, as well.

    Mari – You’re right – it’s just something about those spices.

    Nupur – I have made this with fresh pumpkin, canned pumpkin and pumpkin butter. They all change the consistency slightly (pupmkin butter is more wet, fresh is a bit firmer), but they all work beautifully. Libby’s is the brand of canned pumpkin I use most often as it is the easiest for me to find.

    Sara – I agree! But a lot of people I’ve given these to have been suprised (in a good way) by the combination.

    Templar – Leftover pumpkin is a good excuse in my book.

    Emily – Thanks for your kind words! I admit that I get a little pumpkin crazy this time of year. But that’s fine by me!

  • Niki
    October 24, 2005

    I’m actually planning a pumpkin cookie recipe very soon from a new book, in honour of you readers up north (and Halloween, which we don’t celebrate much, but you do!), but I’m a little concerned that we can’t get canned pumpkin, and I will need to use fresh. I’ve heard it retains too much water, and will alter the texture of the cookie. I suppose we’ll see.

  • Nic
    October 24, 2005

    It will only have too much water (in my experience, anyway), if you boil the pumpkin and puree it right away. Let it cool in a collander or roast it and it sould be fine. My canned pumpkin isn’t really much different from when I make fresh.

  • Jessica
    October 24, 2005

    Hi Nic, I saw your comment on someone’s blog (sorry, can’t remember which) about the off-flavors in Scharffen Berger chocolate. I agree! I bought truffles from their store and wasn’t a huge fan. Have you tried their unsweetened chocolate though? Alice M swears they’re the only unsweetened chocolate you can use as in double-chocolate “chip” cookies in her Cookies and Brownies book. I’ve always wanted to try the recipe but don’t want to spend $10 for the 9-oz. bar.

  • nadine
    October 25, 2005

    oh man. those would be yummmmmmmy! do you ever have nutritional information for you recipes?

  • michelle
    October 25, 2005

    Oh, these look delicious! As a huge fan of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, I think these cookies are a must try! Especially for a more cookie-like, less cake-like texture. How unique!

  • Nic
    October 25, 2005

    Jessica – I remember leaving that comment. I’m willing to try their unsweetened, esp. if Alice Medrich recommends it. But I’m not holding my breath. She worked out of Berkeley (where SB started) for many years, and I wouldn’t doubt if she developed a bias or a taste for it. On the other hand, using the chocolate in brownies or other cooked foods migh cover up the negative properties. I’ll keep my eyes out for it.

    Nadine – Sometimes I do calculate it, but not always. Chocolate chips aside, these have less fat than many recipes (compared to the amount of flour), but have more sugar. I’ll try to put it up sometime in the future, if I remember!

    Michelle – Cake-like is good, but cookie-like is even better in my book. I hope you like them!

  • Anonymous
    October 31, 2005

    I have been making a similar recipe for nearly 20 years now. It is a favorite of mine and all my friends and family. I get orders months before. I make them for all Fall parties and Winter get togethers. They keep forever in a cookie jar (if they last that long) and freeze beautifully. My recipe has more butter, more spices, and some oats. They are just TDF. I found a recipe on the Nestle website last week that had omitted all the spices except cinnamon, had more butter and more pumpkin and they were made into bars. They are too soft. Too much pumpkin makes for too soft cookie/bar.

    Your recipe sounds pretty good too. I’ll have to try it.


  • Anonymous
    November 22, 2005

    I made these cookies this weekend for my kids Thanksgiving feast at school. The flavor was great, but they were like cake! They were not of a cookie consistency at all. I had to throw them away and buy cookies at the store. Did I do something wrong? I was very disappointed, I even made two batches so there would be some left for the family.

  • Nic
    November 22, 2005

    Anonymous – They are very soft cookies. I’m sorry that you didn’t like the texture, but surely you didn’t have to throw them out if they tasted good!

  • Heather
    November 24, 2005

    Hey – hoping to make these tomorrow morning, and I noticed the directions call for adding vanilla, yet vanilla is not listed as one of the ingredients. Is the typo in the directions, or the list of ingredients? If I am to use vanilla, how much should I use? Thanks!

  • Mary
    October 15, 2007

    Can you please tell me the best way to store the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies? And how long will they keep?
    Thanks. Love your site!

  • Mary
    October 15, 2007

    can you pls tell me how to store these cookies and how long can they be stored?
    love your site!

  • elizabeth
    April 5, 2008

    Love this blog and have been excited to try this recipe. I must have done something wrong, though, because mine turned out like your typical pumpkin cookie– didn’t spread at all, fairly cake-like, even a little dry. The only change I made in the recipe was accidentally doubling the amount of cinnamon and cloves. Anyone else have this problem? I was really looking forward to finally making a REAL cookie with pumpkin.

  • Gaby
    December 21, 2008

    I am so glad I found this wonderful recipe! I roasted a pumpkin-like squash, cooled it, threw it in my food processor and made these delicious cookies for an office holiday party. I really enjoyed the flavor and texture. Yum! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • Zhanna
    September 24, 2010

    I made pumpkin cookies yesterday with a very similar recipe just like yours. And they turned out rubbery and gummy. Lots of flavor but awful texture. Just like you said, the kind that you just want to keep chewing on. So today I am doing more research on what I did wrong and find a better recipe but what I keep finding is that all of the pumpkin recipes are pretty much the same yet claim to be different. Yours claims to be different but from the looks of the ingredients, it’s the same and will probably turn out the same if I make it. Bottom line, I am craving for the perfect pumpkin cookie that is not too chewy and too cake. More of like a madeleine texture but with lots of pumpkin spice flavor. And sadly enough, a recipe like that is nowhere to be found. SHAME!

  • Elle
    October 31, 2012

    Made them as a Halloween treat this year and they were a winner for both, kids and adults. Thanks!

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