Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

With this amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies recipe, cakey pumpkin cookies are a thing of the past. This super reliable recipe gives wonderfully chewy-fudgy cookies with perfectly crisp edges. They’re also packed full of pumpkin and spice, gluten free and easy to make!

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Overhead view of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on white parchment paper.

Friends, I am ridiculously excited about these cookies. They taste like fall, pumpkin spice and everything nice… and they’re just mouth-wateringly delicious.

For the longest time, I wasn’t really a fan of pumpkin desserts – with an occasional exception, like these Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, which are truly outstanding. However, I can now firmly and confidently say that I am a total pumpkin dessert convert, and it’s all because of these cookies.

If you’ve ever attempted to make pumpkin cookies (with or without added chocolate), you’ll know that they often turn out cakey rather than fudgy or chewy, and often have a soft, open crumb. And I’m sure we can all agree that “cakey” is a less than desirable cookie texture.

However, cakey pumpkin cookies are now a thing of the past – with just a few simple tweaks, you can make perfectly chewy and fudgy (or gooey, depending on your preference) pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with deliciously crisp edges.

Importantly, this isn’t achieved by skimping on the pumpkin puree. Quite the opposite, in fact: these cookies are absolutely PACKED FULL of pumpkin and spice… and you’ll love them. Promise.

A pumpkin chocolate chip cookie being broken in half.

What makes these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies so amazing?

1. The fall flavours. These cookies are the very embodiment of fall – with chocolate added into the mix, because chocolate is always a good idea. First, there’s the pumpkin puree in the cookie dough (and a lot of it, at that). Then, there is the abundance of spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice (although you could easily just use pumpkin pie spice mix). In short – prepare yourself for an autumnal flavour explosion.

2. The chewy-fudgy texture. As I’ve mentioned above, there’s nothing cakey about these cookies. Instead, they have perfectly crisp edges, a chewy-fudgy middle and are just amazing in every single way.

3. They’re super easy to make. There’s truly nothing complicated about these cookies. While they do require an extra step to prevent a cakey texture (read more about that below!), they’re prepared in no time and with minimal effort.

4. And they’re gluten free!! That’s right: this delicious beauties are 100% gluten free and 1000% fabulous.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on a white plate, with a small pumpkin and chopped chocolate next to it.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How do you make CHEWY pumpkin cookies, and prevent them from being cakey?

First, let’s have a look at why pumpkin cookies can end up being cakey: it’s all because of the added moisture contained within the pumpkin puree.

So, in order to avoid a cakey texture we need to minimise the amount of moisture in the cookie dough. We can do this in a number of ways:

  • Cook the canned (or homemade) pumpkin puree over medium-high heat until it loses about 40% of its weight through water evaporation.Specifically, the recipe below uses 125g (about 1/2 heaped cup) of pumpkin puree, which is reduced to 75g (about 1/3 cup) after cooking it with stirring for 5 minutes. That means a whopping 50g of water was removed from it!!
  • Use only egg yolks in the cookie dough, and no egg whites. Egg whites tend to make cookies cakey, whereas egg yolks make them fudgier or gooier.
  • Decrease the amount of brown sugar and increase the amount of white/caster sugar. A larger amount of white sugar makes the cookies spread better, creating their characteristic shape and appearance.

The process of removing moisture from pumpkin puree.

How do you make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies?

Making these gluten free chocolate chip cookies truly couldn’t be easier. Here’s how:

  1. Whisk together light brown soft sugar, caster/superfine sugar, and
  2. melted butter.
  3. Whisk together until pale.
  4. Add the reduced (and cooled) pumpkin puree.
  5. Whisk well until combined and you get a smooth mixture.
  6. Add the egg yolk and whisk until combined.
  7. Add the dry ingredients: gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and spices.
  8. Mix well until you get a smooth and soft cookie dough – expect it to be VERY soft and sticky!!
  9. Add the chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate.
  10. Mix well until the chocolate is evenly distributed, and then place the cookie dough into the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours before scooping.

The first 6 steps in the 10-step process of making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

The second 4 steps in the 10-step process of making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Do you have to chill the cookie dough?

YES!!! In this recipe you definitely, 100% need to chill the cookie dough. The reason for this is that the end cookie dough will be VERY soft and sticky, and there’s no way you’ll be able to scoop it neatly.

You need to chill the cookie dough for a minimum of 3 hours so that the gluten free flour blend has time to hydrate and, more importantly, the butter in the dough cools down and firms up. Once the cookie dough is thoroughly chilled and firmed up, you can scoop it using an ice cream or cookie scoop.

Note that even after prolonged chilling the pumpkin cookie dough is likely to be a bit softer and stickier than what you might be used to from other chocolate chip cookie recipes.

Overhead view of pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough scoops on white parchment paper.

Baking the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

After the initial scooping, you can place the scooped cookie dough into the fridge for an extra round of chilling (or into the freezer, if you want to store them longer).

Once you’re ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a big baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper. Because the cookies spread during baking, I recommend baking about 6 cookies per baking sheet.

Before baking, place extra pieces of chopped chocolate on top of the cookies – this will give them those gorgeous, glossy puddles of chocolate once baked.

Placing chopped chocolate on top of cookie dough scoops before baking.

The cookies bake for about 14-16 minutes at 350ºF (180ºC). In between, you can take them out of the oven and give the baking sheet a few taps against the kitchen counter to get those characteristic ripples on the cookies (this is the “pan banging” method popularised by the amazing Sarah Kieffer).

Immediately out of the oven, you can correct the shape of the cookies by nudging them into a more circular shape with a round cookie cutter that’s slightly larger than the cookie diameter.

Correcting the shape of the cookies immediately out of the oven with a round cookie cutter.

And then – well, it’s time for the best part: eating and savouring all those wonderful flavours and immediately starting to plan the next batch. Because once you make and taste these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies: there’s no question about it – you’ll be making them all fall long.

Enjoy,

Signature of the author, Kat.

Overhead view of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on white parchment paper. One cookie is broken in half.

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Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

With this amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies recipe, cakey pumpkin cookies are a thing of the past. This super reliable recipe gives wonderfully chewy-fudgy cookies with perfectly crisp edges. They’re also packed full of pumpkin and spice, gluten free and easy to make!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Prep Time 35 minutes
Bake/Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 13 cookies

Ingredients

  • 125 g (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) pumpkin puree (You can use either canned or homemade pumpkin puree.)
  • 95 g (3/4 stick + 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) caster/superfine sugar
  • 60 g (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp) light brown soft sugar
  • 1 UK medium/ US large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional)
  • 130 g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain GF flour mix, which doesn't contain xanthan gum. You can also mix your own with 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon (You can also use about 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead of the mix of spices listed in the recipe.)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp (or a pinch) ground allspice
  • 75 g (2 2/3 oz) dark chocolate chips, chunks, wafers or chopped dark chocolate, divided

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, cook the pumpkin puree over medium-high heat with constant stirring, until you've reduced its weight to 75g (or its volume to about 1/3 cup). This should take about 5 minutes.

    Set aside to cool until warm or room temperature.

  2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer with the double beaters attachment (or by hand using a balloon whisk), cream the butter and both sugars together until pale and fluffy.

  3. Add the reduced and cooled pumpkin puree, egg yolk and vanilla bean paste, and mix until fully incorporated.

  4. Sift together the gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well until you get a smooth cookie dough. The cookie dough will be very soft and sticky at this point.

  5. Stir in most of the chocolate of choice, reserving a handful for later.

  6. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 3 hours (in a bowl covered tightly with cling film) until firmed up and easily scoopable.

  7. Using a "2 tablespoon" ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop individual portions of cookie dough. This recipe makes 13 cookies in total.

    Place the cookie dough scoops snugly next to each other onto a baking sheet lined with baking/greaseproof paper, cover tightly with cling film and chill in the fridge for a further 30 minutes.

  8. While the cookie dough is chilling for the second time, adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a separate baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.

  9. Arrange the chilled cookie dough balls on the lined baking sheet so that they have enough space (about 2 inches/5 cm) around them for spreading out during baking – I usually bake 6 cookies at a time.

    Tip: Top each cookie dough ball with a few pieces of chopped chocolate before baking. This will give the baked cookies those gorgeous, glossy puddles of chocolate once baked.

  10. Bake the cookies at 350ºF (180ºC) for 14 – 16 minutes, depending on your preferred cookie texture and consistency. They should be golden brown around the edges when done.

    At the 8 - 9 minute mark, take the baking sheet out of the oven, tap/bang it 5 – 7 times onto the kitchen counter, and then return to the oven. (Tapping the cookie sheet on the kitchen counter helps the cookies to flatten, thus giving them their characteristic shape and appearance. Omit the tapping if you want slightly thicker cookies.)

    Return the cookies to the oven and bake until done. You can repeat the tapping/banging step once or twice more until the cookies are done.

  11. Immediately out of the oven, you can correct the shape of the cookies into a more evenly round one. To do this, use a round cookie cutter slightly larger than the cookie diameter to nudge the cookies into shape.

  12. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 – 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

  13. Storage:

    The pumpkin chocolate chip cookies keep well for about one week in a closed container in a cool dry place.

    You can also store the raw/unbaked cookie dough balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. You can then bake the cookies directly out the fridge/freezer (no need to thaw them), but you'll need to prolong the baking time by about 3 - 4 minutes.

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