These deliciously dense Brown Butter Pumpkin Cookies are perfect for fall or winter baking. With a delicious coat of cinnamon sugar and simple ingredients, this quick recipe is a hug baked into a cookie.
Pumpkin cookies have been a favorite of mine since I can remember. Growing up, my mom would always make them so this is such a special recipe for me.
My mom used to use shortening in her pumpkin cookie recipe.
Shortening is any fat that is solid at room temperature, like those Crisco vegetable shortening cans. Shortening keeps pie crusts flaky and cookies crumbly, but they lack flavor. Not to mention, it is high in calories and offers no nutritional benefits.
I wanted to get a thick and cakey texture on my cookies, so I substituted the shortening in my mom’s original recipe for brown butter. That one change (along with the cinnamon sugar coating) completely transformed this recipe into my all-time favorite cookie recipe to date.
With the rich, nutty flavor of the brown butter and the warm fall flavors of the pumpkin pie spices – which usually include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger – these cookies are an easy staple at our home during the colder months.
Don’t get me wrong, the classics are amazing, but sometimes shaking things up with the season can go a long way. In fact, even if you don’t like pumpkin, you will still find yourself wanting seconds (and thirds!) of these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cookies.
What is brown butter?
The key to making the best pumpkin cookies is brown butter.
Brown butter is butter that has been heated past its melting point and nearly burnt to accentuate the unique flavor of butter and bring out a new depth to it by caramelizing the butter’s milk solids.
This simple process truly changes the flavor of regular butter without adding any extra ingredients. Although it’s easy, it can be tricky to do correctly since it goes from melted to brown to burnt really quickly.
To brown butter, use any kind of butter and place it in a light-colored pan. You have to watch your melted butter for its color so a lighter pan can help you keep an eye on it better. (I highly recommend Our Place’s Always Pan. They come in the most beautiful colors and aren’t too dark in the interior!)
As soon as your butter smells nutty and toasted and has a deep, golden brown color, it’s ready. Immediately transfer it to a heatproof bowl to cool down slightly and use it in your recipe. You’ll find that this simple technique can be used in all sorts of dishes! It adds more flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. Try this method with any other baked goods, like my Chai Spice Brownies!
With brown butter and warm spices, these Brown Butter Pumpkin Cookies are a dream come true. Dense, chewy, and every cookie lover’s fantasy, it’s hard to mess this simple recipe up.
Here are some cookie hacks for you to make the best cookies:
Although you don’t have to chill the cookie dough for long (only 15-20 minutes!), placing the dough in the fridge helps the cookies hold their shape better when you bake them. If you’re super impatient, no judgment here. It’s all going in your stomach anyway!
If you want to freeze the dough, you can do that too. Just be sure to let them defrost a little before rolling the dough into the sugar mixture and popping the cookies into the oven.
You can store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. But, I promise, they’ll probably be gone before then!
First, brown the butter. Melt 1 cup of butter over medium heat and stir until it’s a rich amber color. Pour the butter into a measuring glass – scrape the bottom of the pot to get all of the brown bits. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes. Don’t let it solidify.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cooled brown butter then add in the egg yolk, maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin until smooth.
Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients, chill the dough for about 15-20 minutes until thickened.
Mix together the coating ingredients in a small dish – set aside.
Use a cookie scoop to scoop out the dough. Drop into the cinnamon sugar mixture and toss to coat. The dough will be very soft but not sticky.
Place onto the baking sheet and bake for 12ish minutes or until the edges are darkened.