These brown butter pumpkin sugar cookies are crisp on the outside, chewy (not cakey) in the middle, perfectly spiced, and made with canned pumpkin puree for ease.
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Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
It's no secret that I love baking with pumpkin; it's a craving that hits me every single fall. But sometimes, I want a sweet that's packed with pumpkin flavor that comes together easily so I'm not spending hours in the kitchen. And if you can relate then I'm happy to tell you to look no further than these pumpkin sugar cookies. They're soft, chewy, and come together insanely quickly.
This recipe for pumpkin sugar cookies is an easy one, using butter, pumpkin puree, a mixture of two sugars, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and flour. And it yields exactly 12 cookies (that stay soft for days), which is the perfect amount if you ask me. Did I mention that these pumpkin sugar cookies are also egg-free?!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Flavor. Obviously, these cookies are jam-packed with pumpkin flavor, but they're also lightly spiced and made with brown butter, which makes everything taste better!
- Texture. These pumpkin sugar cookies are dense and chewy, like all good cookies should be. The secret to avoiding cakey pumpkin cookies is eliminating the excess moisture that pumpkin puree holds (more on that below in the recipe card!)
- Easy to Make. It's a one-bowl recipe, and it doesn't require a mixer, so it comes together super quickly!
These brown butter pumpkin sugar cookies use pretty basic pantry ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Butter– I prefer using unsalted butter in my baked goods, but salted is just fine too... you'll just want to reduce the salt the recipe calls for to 1/8 teaspoon.
- Light Brown Sugar– The color, moisture, and flavor you get from the molasses in brown sugar can't be beaten.
- Granulated Sugar– It's nice to have a bit of balance as far as sweeteners are concerned.
- Pumpkin– Make sure it's canned pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Vanilla- For a flavor enhancer.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice– If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can replace it with an equal amount of cinnamon!
- All-purpose Flour– No fancy flours needed for these cookies.
- Fine Sea Salt– The salt helps balance all that sugar.
- Baking Soda + Baking Powder– Our leavening agents.
- Sparkling Sugar- I like to roll the dough balls in sparkling sugar, which is simply large-grained sugar that doesn't melt and disappear in the oven. You can find it at craft baking stores or on Amazon. Alternatively, you can roll the dough balls in demerara or granulated sugar as well! Just use whatever you have on hand!
How to Make Brown Butter Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
These pumpkin sugar cookies are really easy to make and come together quickly. Here's how you make them!
- Preheat the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Brown the butter. Read more on how to brown butter below!
- Stir the brown butter, sugars, pumpkin, and vanilla together until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
- Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and place it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes.
- Roll each dough ball in a small bowl of sugar; use either sparkling or granulated sugar.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Then enjoy!
How to Brown Butter
Browning butter is an easy process that only takes a couple of minutes to complete. All you need is your unsalted butter, a saucepan (light-colored makes it easier to see when the milk solids are browning), and a utensil to stir the butter as it browns (I like to use a silicone spatula).
- Melt butter in the pan. Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium-low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Stir. Once the butter is melted and begins to bubble and foam, stir continuously to ensure none of the milk solids—those little brown bits that appear as the butter melts— burn as they settle on the bottom of the pan.
- Wait for the color change. Lower the heat if necessary, and wait for the butter to become a warm shade of golden brown with an undeniably nutty aroma. Remove from heat immediately.
- Transfer and cool. Transfer the brown butter to a heatproof bowl and proceed with the recipe as written!
Serving & Storage
Serving: You can serve these cookies warm or at room temperature. They're best within the first 4 days of being made.
Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
- 113 g unsalted butter
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 55 g light brown sugar
- 60 g pumpkin puree *see Notes*
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 125 g all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Garnish: sparkling, demerara, or granulated sugar
- Cube the butter and place it in a light-colored skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, the butter will start to foam. Keep stirring. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning; you'll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan, and you'll start to smell a nutty aroma. Once browned, immediately remove from the heat, and pour into a heatproof bowl.
- Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, and vanilla to the brown butter. Using a whisk, whisk together until combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder, and baking soda into the wet ingredients and stir using a silicon spatula until everything is combined. The dough will be thick and a little greasy.
- Using a 1½-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop, scoop the dough into balls and place dough balls on a lined baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Roll each dough ball in sugar, if using, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
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