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Three brown, soft pumpkin cookies teeter on a glass jug full of milk. Pink background white marble surface. A silver rack has more cookies scattered on it. A green napkin is furled next to the glass of milk.
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Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

A pillowy-soft spiced pumpkin cookie is the perfect fall dessert. Freezer- and make-ahead friendly.
Course Dessert
Cuisine North American
Keyword cookies, pumpkin
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
chill time (for the dough, not you) 30 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 207kcal

Equipment

  • half sheet pan
  • electric mixer or stand mixer

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon* *or replace the individual spices with Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup, packed (165 grams) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (165 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 cup (230 grams) pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Instructions

Combine the Dry Ingredients

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom, and salt. Sift the dry mixture together two or three times.
    Set the bowl aside. 

Combine the Wet Ingredients

  • Add the butter, light brown and white sugars to a separate mixing bowl.
    Use an electric hand mixer or your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to blend together the fat and sugars on low speed for 1 minute.
    Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula. Mix again, this time on the second speed for 2 minutes. The will be smooth and creamed together, but not light and fluffy.
    Scrape down the bowl and beater once more. 
  • Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and the vanilla extract to the bowl with the sugars and butter.
    Blend the mixture together, just until the egg is beaten and the mixture is smooth and uniform. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater. 

Finish the Cookie Dough

  • Add half of the sifted flour-spice mixture to the bowl.
    Blend the flour into the pumpkin mixture for 30 seconds, or just until you can no longer distinguish it. Scrape down, both, the bowl and the beater.
    Add the remaining flour and blend, once more, on low. This time, only blending for 30 seconds.
    Stop the mixer and use the rubber spatula to finish mixing in the dry ingredients. Mix the dough just until the flour is no longer visible, but no longer than a minute. 

Chill the Dough from 30 minutes to 1 hour (or overnight)

  • The finished "dough" should have a very thick batter-like consistency, similar to thick peanut butter.
    Cover the bowl with plastic film or foil and chill it for as long as you can, but no longer than 2 days.  

Mix the Cinnamon-Sugar (up to a week ahead)

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and the cinnamon until the mixture is uniform.
    Store the cinnamon-sugar in a jar with an air-tight lid in the pantry for up to 6 months. Use as desired.

Roll, Coat, then Bake the Soft Pumpkin Cookies

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line two sheet pans with silicone baking mats, or parchment paper.
  • Use a portion scoop to scoop the dough, or grab a large, walnut-sized, pinch of the dough and roll it into a ball.
    Roll the ball of dough around in the cinnamon-sugar to coat it liberally. After coating it, roll the dough a bit more to press the sugar into the dough.
    Arrange 12 balls of dough on the lined sheet pan. 
  • Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven for 12 minutes.
    While the first batch is baking, roll and coat the remaining dough.
  • Once the cookies have finished baking, they should be puffed up, cracked slightly, and have a deep orange color.
    Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cookies to cool, on the pan, on top of a wire cooling rack for 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies after 2 minutes of cooling to the wire rack and allow them to cool for 10 minutes, or completely. 
    Bake and cool the remaining cookie dough the same way.
  • Store the cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature.
    Enjoy the cookies within 3 days of baking.

Notes

Freezing Instructions

To freeze the cookies prior to baking:
  • Scoop the cookie dough into balls, but don't roll the dough in the cinnamon-sugar.
  • Arrange all of the balls of dough on the one pan (no need to space them out since you're not baking them yet).
  • Freeze the dough-balls until solid, then transfer them to a freezer storage bag.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months and bake them as needed.
  • Allow the frozen cookies to thaw for 5 minutes so the cinnamon-sugar will adhere better.
  • Bake the dough in a pre-heated oven, adding an additional minute or two to account for baking from their semi-frozen state. 
To freeze the cookies post-baking:
  •  Allow the baked cookies to cool completely.
  • Transfer the cookies to a freezer storage bag and freeze for up to 6 months.
  • Thaw the cookies on the countertop in their bag, or reheat them in the microwave for 20 seconds to eat straight from the freezer. 

Make-Ahead Instructions

  • Prepare the cookie dough as instructed.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for up to two days. 
  • Roll, coat, and bake as instructed.
You can bake these cookies 3 days in advance. However, the longer they're stored after baking, the less tender the cookies will be. A quick zap in the microwave, or 10 seconds, will restore a freshly-baked taste to them. 

Nutrition

Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1669IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg