These Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles are soft and chewy with a light pumpkin flavor and a generous dose of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
I recently came across a small bag of frozen pumpkin puree in my freezer. I've never liked throwing away/wasting food, but with the sky-high grocery prices lately, I do everything to make sure I use what I have.
So I started thinking about how I could use it. The amount was too small to make anything really pumpkin-y, like a pie. It was just enough to make a batch of my popular Pumpkin Spice Bran Muffins, but I already had some muffins in the freezer, so I opted out of that.
I wanted to make something everyone in my house would like, so I decided to try something new, and make Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles. I mean, you can never go wrong with cookies, right?
How to make Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles:
When I was deciding on the best way to go about making these fall-inspired snickerdoodles, I knew that I wanted to keep the texture of them as close to regular snickerdoodles as possible.
Often, when we incorporate fruits or vegetables into cookie dough, the result ends up being more cakey than cookie. In this case, cakiness is caused by the extra moisture getting introduced into the recipe (though cookies turning out cakey can be caused by other things too).
So I opted to remove as much of the moisture from these cookies to avoid cakiness. I accomplished this in two ways:
- I cooked excess moisture from my pumpkin puree in a skillet. This was homemade pumpkin puree, which tends to be thinner and contain more water than canned puree. I made sure that I removed this moisture and got it nice and thick - almost to the consistency of peanut butter - before adding it to my cookie dough.
- I omitted the egg whites (in my theme of reducing my household food waste I used them later by adding them to my scrambled eggs).
I also opted to use half browned butter in this recipe for a deeper flavor. I'm glad I did, as it pairs perfectly with the fall flavors of the pumpkin and the spices.
And I used the same spice blend I use in my pumpkin pie recipe - fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg. I just scaled down the amounts of the spices to match with the smaller amount of pumpkin that goes into these snickerdoodles.
And guess what: these pumpkin spice snickerdoodles turned out unbelievably well! Even my pumpkin (and spice) hating kids loved them! They're soft (but not cakey), chewy, and full of spicy fall flavors. I'm happy to report that they disappeared from my kitchen very quickly!
Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles Ingredients:
- Unsalted butter
- Pumpkin puree: either homemade or canned works. Don't use canned pumpkin pie filling as it is already seasoned and will affect the flavor of the cookies. Note that you will be cooking down the puree to reduce the moisture, so if it's a little wet or watery to start with (this can be the case with fresh pumpkin puree), it's not a huge concern.
- Grated fresh ginger: Pro-tip - always keep fresh ginger in the freezer, and grate it from frozen with a microplane.
- Cinnamon - this is used both in the cookie dough and in the cinnamon-sugar coating.
- Freshly grated nutmeg: Freshly grated nutmeg has much more flavor than pre-ground nutmeg, and it's easy to grate it with a microplane. But ground nutmeg will work too.
- All-purpose flour
- Cream of tartar: cream of tartar is a powdered acid used in baking, especially in candy-making and to stabilize meringue. In the case of snickerdoodles, it's used more for flavor, as it gives them their distinct tart, tangy flavor.
- Baking soda
- Granulated sugar: this is used both in the cookie dough and in the cinnamon-sugar coating.
- Light brown sugar: dark brown sugar would work in a pinch too, but the cookies would have a slightly darker color and more pronounced molasses flavor.
- Large egg yolks - I cut the egg whites out of this recipe to reduce the moisture so the cookies wouldn't get cakey. Reserve the egg whites for another use.
- Vanilla extract
Want more non-chocolate cookie recipes?
Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition information in the recipe below is for one cookie, if you use the recipe to make 24 cookies. If your cookies are smaller (or larger), the nutrition information for your cookies will vary.
Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles
Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodle Dough
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened and divided
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Heat 1 stick (8 Tablespoons or ½ cup) of the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The butter will melt and bubble. When the butter turns golden brown and becomes fragrant, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl or measuring cup to cool. Place in the fridge or freezer to cool more quickly.
- Put the 1 cup pumpkin puree into the same skillet you just browned the butter in (no need to wash it). Stir in the 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Cook the pumpkin mixture over medium heat until it is very thick and pasty (the texture should be similar to peanut butter). Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
- Mix together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl with a whisk. Set aside.
- Place the remaining stick of butter into the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl. Add the cooled browned butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and ½ cup light brown sugar sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is uniform and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add 2 large egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix on medium-high speed again until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the flour mixture is completely incorporated into the butter mixture and forms a dough, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Stir together ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar coating. Set aside.
- Portion the dough into 1 ½ to 2 Tablespoon portions and roll into smooth balls in the palms of your hands. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture until coated completely. Place the dough balls in an airtight container or cover them with plastic wrap in the fridge and chill for 1 hour. Alternatively, place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes if you're in a rush.
- Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
- Bake until the edges of the cookies have set, and cracks are visible on the tops of the cookies about 12-15 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets in the oven halfway through the baking time. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Store extras in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or freeze.