Soft Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

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  • If you have been looking for the best mix of sugar cookies + pumpkin pie, these pumpkin cookies are your answer. They will satisfy all of your pumpkin spice cravings in one soft sugar cookie.

    close up of pumpkin cookies tied with red twine

    Pumpkin Spice Everything

    Tis the season for everything pumpkin spice and I have one BIG gripe with the whole business. People assume that pumpkin spice means pumpkin and they are NOT the same thing.

    The spice mix is a simple blend of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Flavors and aromas that make you want to cuddle up by the fire and read a book. But the spice does not mean that pumpkin has anything to do with it.

    stack of pumpkin sugar cookies

    Pumpkin Cookies

    I have a few recipes that use the iconic pumpkin pie spice blend without coveted pumpkin, but not many. And that is why I didn’t just simply add the seasoning to plain sugar cookies.

    Nope, I made a pumpkin cookie first and then added the seasoning to really brighten those flavors. In case you didn’t know, plain pumpkin puree is actually pretty bland.

    close up of pumpkin sugar cookies

    But is does help to make the softest cookies ever! Cookies that taste like a dainty little pumpkin pie.

    Ingredients

    The list is pretty standard as far as cookies go with the exception of the puree and spice blend. Feel free to use store bought or easily make your own.

    • Flour– Provides structure to your cookies.
    • Baking powder– A leavening agent.
    • Kosher salt- Brightens other flavors, use a coarse salt and never iodized, which can lead to cookies tasting metallic.
    • Pumpkin pie spice– Adds that classic fall aroma and taste!
    • Unsalted butter– You can use salted but omit additional salt
    • Sugar– These are sugar cookies.
    • Light brown sugar– Adds a bit of molasses flavor.
    • Egg- Creates structure and stability.
    • Pumpkin puree– Adds flavor, moisture and color.
    • Vanilla extract- Adds flavor. You can also substitute almond.
    • Topping: Sugar, spice and everything nice!

    How to Make Pumpkin Cookies

    This process is also pretty standard, but I have a few tips for making the softest, fluffiest and best cookies ever.

    First, don’t skip on sifting together your dry ingredients. This helps them distribute evenly so you don’t end up with a single pocket of salt or one cookie that seems to bake higher than the others. It also prevents you from overmixing.

    Second, whip the butter and whip it good! Whipping butter introduces air to make them light and fluffy, but overmixing after you’ve creamed together the sugar and butter can make your cookies dry, so do it in the beginning.

    Add vanilla and pumpkin for a smooth batter.

    pumpkin sugar cookies on a baking sheet

    Add the rest of the dry ingredients, being careful to not over blend.

    Chill for a few hours so the dough isn’t too loose when baking. If it is too warm, the cookies will fall to little flat pancakes. Keep dough in the fridge between rolling.

    Roll dough into balls- not too small and not too big- and then roll in the sugar spice mix like you would for Snickerdoodles. I like to line my insulated baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent sticking and for easy clean up.

    Soft Cookies

    Bake and remove right before they look done. Tops will crack slightly and look a little shiny. Do not wait until you see browning on the bottom. Overcooking is the #1 reason for dry cookies.

    sugared pumpkin cookies on a wire rack

    Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes just so they harden slightly and then remove them to a wire rack. This allows them cool evenly. Leaving them on a hot cookie sheet will continue cooking until the cookie sheet cools, which can be quite a while.

    Vibrant orange and tasting just like pumpkin pie, serve with vanilla ice cream or make into cookie sandwiches with a little vanilla whipped cream!

    Glaze or Not To Glaze

    A lot of pumpkin cookies use a glaze but I don’t find it necessary. Should you want one, omit the sugar and spice rolling and just bake the balls.

    Whisk together 3 cups powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons milk and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Drizzle over cooled cookies and allow to set.

    side view of pumpkin cookie stack

    These cookies also taste great with a nice cream cheese frosting.

    Storage & Freezing

    Store pumpkin sugar cookies at room temperature in an airtight container. Like most cookies, they are best within 1-2 days of baking, but will be good for up to 7.

    After 2 days, try microwaving them for 10 seconds to reheat the butter and make them soft again.

    These cookies are freezer friendly up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature.

    pumpkin cookies for pinterest

    More recipes that use pumpkin:

    Pumpkin Waffles
    overhead of pumpkin waffles
    Homemade waffles don't get much better than these Pumpkin Waffles! Full of fall flavor and perfect for breakfast or brunch! Homemade waffles don't get much better than these Pumpkin Waffles! Full of fall flavor and perfect for breakfast or brunch!
    Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
    close up of pumpkin cheesecake brownies
    There is no better gooey brownie recipe than these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies! Fudgy brownies, pumpkin cheesecake and a gooey layer of chocolate.There is no better gooey brownie recipe than these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies! Fudgy brownies, pumpkin cheesecake and a gooey layer of chocolate.
    No Bake Pumpkin Pie Parfaits
    parfait of pumpkin pie in wine glass
    Pumpkin Pie Parfaits are an easy, no bake and make ahead dessert that everyone will love and you won't beleive what we use for the "crust"!

    Tools:

    Insulated Cookie Sheet– Insulated cookie sheets allow hot air to circulate around the entire cookie, resulting in even baking. 

    Stand Mixer- While this is an investment, I can guarantee you will use it more than you realize and will never regret the decision.

    Measuring Utensils– While I like to eyeball it, most folks prefer to measure. Suit yourself 🙂

    pumpkin spice cookie recipe

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    How to Be a Better Home Cook
    stack of pumpkin cookies
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    3.67 from 21 votes

    Soft Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

    Soft pumpkin sugar cookies are the perfect pumpkin cookie finished with a crunchy sugar and spice topping.
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    Total Time35 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin sugar cookies, sugar cookies
    Servings: 24 cookies
    Calories: 212kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola

    Ingredients

    Pumpkin Sugar Cookies:

    Sugar Cookie Topping:

    Instructions

    • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients including flour, salt and pumpkin pie spice. 
    • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar and light brown sugar. When blended, light and creamy, add egg, vanilla and pumpkin. 
    • Gradually add dry mixture to wet until fully combined. 
    • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
    • After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
    • In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. 
    • With clean hands, roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Dough might be sticky and not roll well, have no fear, just plop it into the sugar and coat. 
    • Place onto a parchment paper or silmat lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. 
    • Dip the flat bottom of a pint glass into the sugar and flatten each ball until approximately 1/4 inch thick. 
    • Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cookie tops start to crack. Do not wait until cookies brown, they will be overdone.
    • Allow to cool on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack using a spatula.
    • If you’ve tried this recipe, please come back and leave a comment to let us know how it went and if you made any modifications! 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 78mg | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1835IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.2mg
    pumpkin spice cookies for pinterest

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