Last week, my daughters went to the pumpkin patch with their preschool. Yep, while I was working crazy hours to finish grading papers for first quarter, they were wandering around a farm, gazing at chickens and goats and picking pumpkins. Oh, to be four years old again.
When my eldest daughter got home, she shoved her pumpkin at me and said in her serious little-girl way, “My teacher says you have to make soup.”
I took the pumpkin, sighed (this is an annual struggle as I literally cook the fruits of my childrens’ labor), and said, “How about cookies?”
My daughter, who is occasionally reasonable, agreed. But then I faked her out. You see, I’ve gotten smarter over the years. The first year this happened, I actually cooked the pumpkin. This year, I hid it and used the canned stuff to make cookies. It’s smoother and works better anyway.
You’ll notice that the majority of pumpkin cookie recipes circulating these days have no egg. A lot of that has to do with moisture. Pumpkin binds and adds moisture, so the egg is not as necessary when you make these little guys. But I’m not gonna pretend that these are healthy, because yeah, there’s butter.
The dough is very soft and needs to be chilled. I put in those caramel-filled chocolate chips and they worked so well with the pumpkin, but improvise. A ton of other options work just as well, from white chocolate to butterscotch chips. Happy sighs all around. And they’re definitely better on the second day. They get really soft and chewy.
Listen, there’s not much I can do to stop my kids from flooding the house with pumpkins every year. All I can do is fake them out and make dessert. It’s a fabulous defensive maneuver.
Chocolate Caramel Chip Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup caramel-filled Nestle chocolate chips (reserve a few to press into the top after baking)
- In a bowl, mix the melted butter and the sugars until smooth. Add the vanilla and pumpkin, stirring until fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Combine the pumpkin mixture with the dry ingredients and stir until a soft batter forms. Fold in the chocolate chips, reserving a few for after baking.
- Cover the bowl. Chill the dough anywhere from 3 hours to overnight.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Using between 1-2 tablespoons of dough, form tall mounds and place them 2 inches apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and press extra caramel-filled chocolate chips into the tops. Cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container. Cookies taste better the next day.