Soft Batch Pumpkin Cookies are tender little pumpkin spice cookies with a soft melting texture and a crisp sugar coating ~ think snickerdoodle meets pumpkin spice. Hello fall!
This soft pumpkin cookie is the best I’ve ever tasted.
That’s saying a lot from a pumpkin fanatic like me. And I admit it, I was one of those who shied away from pumpkin cookies, or any cookie labeled ‘cakey’ for that matter ~ but whoa, these soft melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies have totally changed my tune. I’m now completely on team cakey, at least when it comes to pumpkin cookies. (If the word cakey throws you, substitute fluffy!)
This meltingly tender pumpkin cookie speaks in whispers
There’s no frosting, sprinkles, or chips in these cookies, but somehow they’re irresistible. As you can imagine I’ve had to get pretty good at resisting cookies after 10 years of recipe development, but honestly I couldn’t stop eating these.
These pumpkin spice cookies are so good you need to add them to your holiday baking list.
Even if you’ve never included a pumpkin cookie in your holiday assortment before, I nominate this one to be your first…it’s got a snickerdoodle type appeal, and everyone responds to a little pumpkin spice. I’m guessing it’ll be a sleeper hit once the word gets around.
But holidays aside, this not too sweet recipe with a soft mouthfeel, and a hint of vanilla and spice make it the perfect candidate for pairing with a cup of coffee, tea, or milk. And don’t just grab one…better build yourself a little stack, you’re gonna want them.
Why this cookie works
I think the reason this cookie is so wonderful is that, first, the moist cake texture is just perfect. Second, the little sugar crust gives it a slight outer crunch to contrast with the soft interior. And third, the flavors (pumpkin, vanilla, spices) really linger on the palate to make it a super satisfying cookie.
Tips, troubleshooting, and pumpkin cookie questions
Be aware that if you change the recipe, even in a small way, the results will likely not be the same as mine. Cookies are sensitive creatures!
Definitely check your oven temp with an oven thermometer ~ you’ll need this inexpensive tool this season for all your baking. Cookies are so small that even tiny changes in temperature can make a big difference.
Don’t over bake these cookies, they’ll look puffed and slightly underdone when they’re ‘done’. They’ll cool to the perfect texture. Be sure to get yourself a good sturdy cookie sheet like this one. I find different cookie sheets yield surprisingly different results.
Scoop out your balls of dough for each cookie tray first, then do your rolling in sugar ~ this way you won’t get a bunch of extra sugar into the dough as you go back and forth with sugar coated hands.
Yes, the dough will be very soft, you’ll have to sprinkle it with sugar just to be able to roll it in your palms. But go with it, this soft dough is what makes the cookie so tender!
Use a 1 3/4 inch medium cookie scoop to portion out the dough. You can make the cookies smaller, but I don’t recommend making them any larger.
If your coating sugar gets little bits of dough in it, just sift it.
Variations on a pumpkin cookie theme
- Make these true pumpkin snickerdoodles by whisking a teaspoon or more of cinnamon into the coating sugar. You might even substitute pumpkin spice for the cinnamon.
- Fold in some mini chocolate chips.
- Frost these cookies with a simple cream cheese frosting.
Soft Batch Pumpkin Cookies
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (95 grams) shortening (I use Crisco butter flavor)
- 1 cup (210 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 extra large egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 heaping teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1/2 of a 15-ounce can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) This will be a SCANT cup.
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups (313 grams) all purpose flour (measure by fluffing, scooping, and leveling)
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Cream the butter and shortening with the sugar together until well combined. Beat in the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl well.
- Beat in the extract, spices, and pumpkin. Blend in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then add the flour and mix just until there is no dry flour left. Scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure everything is well combined.
- Use a 1 3/4 inch cookie scoop to portion out the dough and roll in the granulated sugar. I find it easiest to first shower the ball of dough with sugar and then roll it gently in my palms, adding more sugar as needed. More is better when it comes to the sugar coating, so be liberal.
- Place the balls of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart, and use the bottom of a small glass to press down ever so gently to flatten just a little.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, making sure not to over bake: you don't want to dry the cookies out. Be sure to check your oven's temperature with an oven thermometor to be sure. I sprinkle the cookies with a little more sugar just as they come out of the oven.
- Let the cookies sit for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet and then carefully remove them to a cooling rack. The cookies will be delicate at first, but will firm up as they cool. Makes about 30 cookies.
notes and variations
- If your dough is literally too wet to roll, even when you sprinkle it liberally with sugar, fold in a little more flour.
- I like to bake a test cookie or two before I commit a whole pan to the oven.