Scenario: Sharon from Sales pops her head into your cubicle and says, “Hey, there are some pumpkin cookies in the break room if you want some!” Your eyes, which were glazed over only moments ago from the monotony of your job, now have a twinkle in them. Pumpkin cookies? Could it be? Has someone finally done it?
You walk to the break room as quickly as you can without arousing the suspicion of the morons around you, something just short of a jog. As you push open the break room door, you see them. There, on a ruffly-edged paper plate in the center of the cold laminate table with one leg shorter than all the rest. The cookies look kind of mounded, but that doesn’t mean anything, you think. You pick one up and it feels… light. But you still hold on to that last glimmer of hope until your teeth sink in.
You throw the so-called “cookie” across the room, nearly smacking Jerry from Accounting in the head, and you secretly wish that it had nailed him, even as you meekly say, “I’m so sorry, Jerry.” You shuffle back to your desk, where the spreadsheet awaits you. You mutter under your breath, “That’s not a cookie, it’s a f***ing muffin top.”
Why is it so hard to find a pumpkin cookie recipe that isn’t cakey? For these, I borrowed a trick from the vegans, who use fruit purees in place of eggs all the time! Bye bye, eggs, we don’t need ya here! And without the eggs in there making things all watery and puffy, you can finally have the pumpkin cookie of your dreams.
I like using a wide variety of pumpkin pie spices, so I included everything but nutmeg and instead used mace, its much-neglected sister from the same mister. (But you can use nutmeg if you don’t have mace around the house.)
Scenario: You come home from work and, determined to destroy Sharon from Sales, find this pumpkin cookie recipe. “Not cakey,” it claims. You gather your ingredients, mix them up, and wait as your kitchen is invaded with the smell of fall.
The next day, the break room fills with your idiot coworkers, who gather around your plate of cookies. Jerry from Accounting is giggling like a schoolgirl as he shoves cookie after cookie into his mouth. Your boss, Mike, tells you you’ll be getting a hefty raise if you just pass this recipe along to his wife, har har! And he means it.
The rooms goes quiet as the breakroom door swings open. The crowd parts and you turn to see President Obama, flanked by secret servicemen, making his way up to the plate of cookies. He takes a bite and silently nods his head. He fist bumps you and pins the Presidential Medal of Freedom onto your blazer before shooting a dirty look at Sharon from Sales, who is weeping in the corner. Your coworkers lift you up on their shoulders, shouting, “All Hail the Queen of Fall!” It is then you know that you have found the perfect non-cakey pumpkin cookie recipe.
- 3½ cups (420 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons ginger
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon mace (or nutmeg, if you don't have mace)
- 1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (230 grams) dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup (180 grams) pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (160 grams) toffee bits (such as Skor or Heath)*
- Maldon sea salt flakes (or other finishing salt)
- Position oven racks to upper and lower center positions. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl halfway through. Add pumpkin and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Turn the mixer speed to the lowest setting and slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in toffee bits by hand with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
- Scoop dough balls onto lined baking sheets, six cookies per sheet. (You should end up with a total of 36 cookies). Sprinkle sea salt flakes over the top of each dough ball. Bake two sheets at a time for 16-18 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking. Cool cookies on pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies directly to the wire rack to cool completely.
- Now clean up your house before the President shows up.
- *If you have difficulty finding the toffee bits in the store, I have also tested this recipe with Heath English Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits, which seem to be more readily available. The addition of chocolate changes the flavor profile, but using them will give you a pretty good cookie.