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Indulge in the flavors of Fall with our Pumpkin Snickerdoodles recipe! Soft, spiced, and so delicious – a must-try twist on a classic cookie.
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I love all kinds of pumpkin cookies, but these Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies are at the top of my list. Made with real pumpkin, brown butter, and pumpkin pie spice these cookies are a true tribute to Fall. These cookies are soft, cinnamon-kissed pillows of perfection. Make your kitchen a cozy haven for all things pumpkin spiced this Fall.
Ingredients in Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Brown Butter – made by melting and boiling salted butter, brown butter will elevate your cookie game with a rich, nutty flavor
- Brown Sugar – adds warm caramel notes to these Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- White Sugar – adds sweetness and also creates a crispy edge on the cookies
- Pumpkin Puree – brings the earthy pumpkin flavor to the cookies, as well as velvety texture
- Large Egg Yolk – adds extra moisture and silkiness
- Vanilla Extract – creates a depth of flavor with a subtle sweetness
- All Purpose Flour – the backbone of the cookie dough
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – a rich blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice also known as pumpkin spice
- Baking Soda – a leavening agent that creates a fluffy rise
- Cream of Tartar – a little bit of acidity for a tangy taste and a tender texture
- Salt – to balance out all the sweetness
- Cinnamon – you can’t make Snickerdoodles without it!
Making Brown Butter
Brown butter truly takes these Pumpkin Snickerdoodles to the next level. The most important thing to remember when making brown butter is to boil it over medium heat. You don’t want it to burn!! Start with a light colored pan, so you can see the color of the butter easier at the bottom of the pan. Once the butter melts and gets hot, it will start to foam. I like to pick up the pan and whisk it around a little to help me see the color through the foam. Once the butter turns a deep golden brown, and you start to smell a little bit of a nutty smell – it is ready! Transfer it to a heat-safe small bowl to cool.
Origins of Snickerdoodles
Snickerdoodles are believed to have originated in New England, a region known for whimsical cookie names. The actual origin of the name is not known, but it is most likely a portmanteau of two German words meaning “a smothered laugh” and “a simpleton”. There was also a TV show hero called Snickerdoodle which may have served as the inspiration. My husband hates that these soft and chewy cookies are called Pumpkin Snickerdoodles and yet they aren’t made with Snickers candy bars. Snickers candy bar cookies do sound delicious, but that is a recipe for another day. One reader did comment that you could wrap Snickerdoodle dough around a Snickers Bar and bake that! We might have to try that!
Cream of Tartar
After years of putting Cream of Tartar in my meringues and Snickerdoodles, I finally decided to learn what this white powder actually is. I was surprised by what I found! Cream of Tartar is a natural byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. Its scientific name is tartaric acid, but the commercial name is Cream of Tartar. It acts as a leavening agent, a stiffening agent, and a way to add acidity. You find it in the spice aisle at the grocery store. In Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, it prevents the sugar from crystalizing so the cookie keeps its soft chewy texture. It also adds a yummy tang to balance out the sweetness.
Tips for Baking
- Use parchment paper or silicone mats on top of the baking sheets for easy clean up
- Make a double batch and freeze the extra cookies or cookie dough. Cookies are great in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- After scooping the first batch of cookie dough balls, keep the remaining dough in the fridge until you scoop the next batch.
- With other cookies, I will transfer them to a wire rack to cool. However, with this recipe you want the cookies to stay on the pan the whole time they are cooling. This allows the residual heat to finish cooking the cookies without making them crunchy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Over-baking is the number one reason these cookies come out dry. When you take the cookies out of the oven they will seem under-baked. However, they will continue to cook on the hot pan.
You need to chill the dough for two reasons. First, it allows the flavors to mingle and really get to know each other. Second, it hardens the butter and reduces the spreading of the cookies. If you don’t chill the dough your cookies will be flat as a pancake.
Omitting the cream of tartar will result in a completely different cookie texture. If you leave it out of this Pumpkin Snickerdoodle recipe, then the cookies won’t turn out soft and chewy.
More Pumpkin Recipes
How to Make Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus ⅓ cup for cinnamon sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree pat dry with a paper towel
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- To make brown butter: In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat, whisking constantly. After it fully melts, the butter will foam up and then start to turn golden brown. When the butter is golden brown, take it off the heat immediately and pour it into a small bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix brown butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
- Add pumpkin puree, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix until the egg is fully incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt). Stir to combine.
- While mixing on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until a dough forms. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
- During the last 15 minutes of chilling time, preheat the oven to 350. In a small bowl, make the cinnamon sugar mixture (⅓ cup sugar + 2 teaspoons cinnamon).
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll in cinnamon sugar and place on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes. DO NOT OVER-BAKE. Let cool on the pan completely.
- Once the cookies are cool, serve and enjoy!
- If you want flatter cookies, then press them down with a spatula right out of the oven.
- You can use regular melted butter instead of browned butter if desired.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy within a few days of baking.
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