Autumn is the perfect time for pumpkins, spices, and soft chewy cookies. In fact, it’s the perfect time to combine all 3 together into one amazing trifecta! These pumpkin spice cookies bring all of the quintessential autumn smells and flavors into one glorious cookie. Read below for the recipe.
What are Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies?
Chewy pumpkin spice cookies with molasses are a combination of brown butter, pumpkin spices (which are also Christmas spices as well), molasses, brown sugar, pumpkin, and a few other ingredients needed to give the cookies structure and tenderness.
When I make these cookies for our big family Christmas party, they are always by far the most popular cookie. Don’t get me wrong, all of the other cookies are delicious and get eaten too, but people covet these cookies.
So if you try one new cookie this autumn, make it these pumpkin spice cookies!
What Makes a Cookie Chewy?
Through developing many cookie recipes, learning what makes a cookie soft, chewy, crisp, firm, etc. is important. How can you create the right cookie texture if you don’t know what ingredients make a difference?
To make a cookie chewy, there are a few ingredients that make a difference.
Brown sugar is a major component of most chewy cookies. Because brown sugar contains molasses, it gives the sugar and cookie a softer and chewier texture. Granulated sugar, however, causes a cookie to spread more and makes it crispier if the cookie has a high sugar content.B
Molasses also makes cookies chewier on its own without the brown sugar. It has this amazing flavor and makes any cookie more moist and chewy.
My only word of caution is to not use too much, as the flavor can be a bit strong when unbalanced.
Cornstarch is also a great choice for making cookies softer and chewier (although not needed in this recipe). Have you ever put cornstarch in water, stirred it, and then watched it slowly spread out? Think about how cornstarch feels when you stir it with a little water.
It gives some resistance but is still somehow super soft. Adding a teaspoon or two to cookie dough can be a great way to add that chewy and soft texture. For this recipe, we have enough chewiness without cornstarch, but I often use it in other cookies.
How to Make Brown Butter
Brown butter is butter that has been melted and cooked long enough to brown the milk fat solids. When the fat solids brown, they develop an aromatic nutty smell and flavor that really deepens the flavor of any dessert or dish.
There is some debate over whether or not to use the actual brown bits in the butter. One school of thought is the strain the butter so that it has a lighter nutty flavor with no traces of bitterness.
The second school of thought it to add the brown bits into a dessert so that there is more nutty flavor…and honestly< i never notice any traces of bitterness.
The only word of caution for using the brown bits is that sometimes the bits can burn if you are not stirring and watching carefully. If any of the bits are burned, do not add them to the dessert. It would be better to strain out the fat solids and to have a slightly lighter flavor than to have a burnt flavor.
4 Tips for Making the Perfect Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Melt and Brown the Butter
Using brown butter gives these cookies more depth of flavor with that added nuttiness. It also helps the cookies to spread and develop those beautiful cracks that make them look so beautiful!
Pro Tip: Allow the brown butter to cool completely before making the cookie dough. It’s even okay if the butter begins to solidify while cooling, but don’t chill the fridge as this will just harden the butter. You won’t be able to mix it by hand if it’s hard and cold.
Check Your Spices
Are your spices fresh or expired? It’s surprising how long spices can sit without being touched. We often reach for them not even realizing that they have passed expiration. Toss the old and get fresh spices if your cinnamon, ginger, allspice, or cloves are expired! Your cookies and your tummies will thank you.
Chill the Dough
Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or over night. This gives the dry ingredients time to absorb all of the moist, resulting in a more tender and chewier cookie.
Weigh the Cookies
*Nerd alert* Yes, I said weigh the cookies! I first scoop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough, set the scooper on my scale, and check the weight. Each cookie should weight 28-29 grams (scooper weight not included). This will give you 32 beautiful and delicious cookies every time!
Using a scale can seem bothersome to those who only use cups, but a small kitchen scale is one of the keys to getting consistent results every time. Whether I’m making cookies, cakes, choux pastries, etc, I always weigh the ingredients for accuracy.
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Chewy Pumpkin Spice Molasses Cookies
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Rest Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 11 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours 31 minutes
- Yield: 32 cookies 1x
- Category: Cookies
- 226 g unsalted butter (1 cup)
- 200 g light brown sugar (1 cup)
- 150 g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
- 56 g canned pumpkin puree (1/4 cup)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 35 g molasses (2 Tbs)
- 4 g cinnamon (1 1/2 tsp)
- 4.5 g salt (3/4 tsp)
- 3/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 4 g baking soda (1 tsp)
- 270 g all-purpose flour (2 1/4 cups)
- 50 g sugar (1/4 cup), for coating cookies
- 5 g cinnamon (2 tsp), for coating cookies
- Melt butter in a small pot and gently whisk occasionally. Watch for the butter to start turning brown on the bottom of the pot, and whisk continuously as it browns. Remove from heat once it smells nutty and there are some brown bits in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour into a bowl and let cool for an hour at room temperature.
- In a large bowl, stir brown butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until smooth.
- Stir in egg, vanilla, and molasses, and then stir in pumpkin puree.
- Add all dry ingredients and stir until dough comes together.
- Scoop heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough and weigh the dough (weighing is optional but makes for consistent sized cookies). Each ball of dough should weight 28-29 grams. Place dough on a lined cookie sheet, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove cookies from the refrigerator.
- Combine 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a bowl and roll the balls of cookie dough in the cinnamon sugar right before baking.
- Bake on parchment lined half sheet pans for 9-11 minutes.
- Cookies are done when they look slightly dry on top but still somewhat moist in the cracks.
- Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Eat warm or cool, and store in a container for up to a week.
This is a Baker Street Society original recipe.
Keywords: chewy pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin spice cookie recipe, pumpkin cookies