These pumpkin cheesecake cookies are a cross between a chewy and cakey pumpkin cookie. Perfectly fall spiced, they are topped with a generous helping of pumpkin cheesecake filling and dusted with more fall spices. The perfect fall cookie!
Chewy vs cakey cookies
Pumpkin cookies are most often known for being cakey. Pumpkin puree has a high water content so inherently adds a lot of moisture to your dough. That excess moisture leads to a more cakey cookie.
For these pumpkin cheesecake cookies, I wanted a base strong enough to hold the cheesecake filling but not a completely cakey cookie as those are not my jam.
Changing a few things in a standard cookie recipe leads to these slightly chewy, slightly cakey best of both worlds cookie.
How to reduce the moisture in pumpkin puree
In order to reduce the cakey texture of this cookie, you'll eliminate some of the moisture from the pumpkin puree before adding it to the dough.
To do this, lay 2 paper towels on top of a plate and then add the pumpkin puree to the paper towels. Wrap the paper towels around the puree and gently squeeze to allow the paper towels to soak up some of the moisture.
This is a similar technique that you do with zucchini or spinach before using them in baking recipes. You won't get as much moisture out as you would with zucchini or spinach but it eliminates enough moisture to change the final consistency of the cookie.
Tips for perfect pumpkin cookies
Now that we've eliminated some of the moisture from the pumpkin cheesecake cookies, there are a few other steps to nail that balance between cakey and chewy.
- Melted Butter- Most cookies call for creaming softened butter with sugar. This creates air pockets in the dough and more volume which can also lead to a cakey pumpkin cookie. Melting the butter and stirring it with the sugar leads to a more dense cookie.
- Measure the flour correctly- If you've been here for awhile you are probably tired of hearing this-sorry! This is an important step of any baking recipe. If you don't have a kitchen scale, make sure you measure your flour correctly. Use a spoon to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level off the top. Do not use the measuring cup to scoop the flour or pack the flour down. This leads to too much flour and a dry, unappetizing cookie. You can alternately use a kitchen scale to measure accurately.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice- Because there are a variety of spices in these pumpkin cookies, I use pumpkin pie spice to make it easier as it contains multiple spices in one bottle. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, feel free to use individual spices instead. Generally it contains cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger and nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon each of allspice and cloves.
- Brown Sugar- I used all brown sugar in these pumpkin cheesecake cookies instead of a mix of white sugar and brown sugar. Brown sugar has a stronger flavor and adds to the chewiness of the cookies.
- Reduce other moisture- Most cookie recipes of this volume have 2 eggs so I reduced the egg to just 1 to also reduce some of the moisture in the recipe.
Pumpkin cheesecake filling
The pumpkin cheesecake filling is super easy. Whip softened cream cheese until creamy and then add some pumpkin puree, powdered sugar and vanilla. Place the filling in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill the cookies.
How to tell when the cookies are done
Knowing when to take baked goods out of the oven can be one of the trickiest parts of baking! Typically undercooking baked goods is always better than overcooking.
For these pumpkin cheesecake cookies, you want the edges to be golden brown and fully set but the middle to be ever so slightly underdone. The cookies will keep cooking slightly once they are out of the oven and on the hot baking sheets.
How to fill the cookies
The pumpkin cheesecake cookies will not spread much in the oven. In order to have a good amount of cheesecake filling on each cookie, you will make an indent on the top of the cookie.
To do this, as soon as you take the cookie out of the oven, use the back of a spoon to squish down the middle of the cookie, forming an indent. Let the cookies cool on the trays for about 5 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack.
Make sure the cookie is completely cooled before adding the cheesecake filling. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of cheesecake filling onto the indent in the cookie and spread it over the top of the cookie.
I sprinkled my cookies with freshly grated nutmeg. Feel free to use cinnamon or ground nutmeg on the top.
How to store the cookies
Because these cookies have dairy in the topping, they are best stored in the refrigerator. Place them in an air-tight container and store them for 4-5 days refrigerated. Remove them from the fridge about a half hour before serving them so they can come to room temperature.
For more fall recipes, check out:
- Apple Cranberry Crisp with Snickerdoodle Topping
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
- Cinnamon Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
- Pumpkin Mousse Pie with a Gingersnap Crust
Tag me on Instagram @themarblekitchenblog if you make this and leave a star rating and comment below! Thank you and enjoy!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
- 2 ½ cups (320 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ cup (168 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 ½ cups (300 grams) brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (122 grams) pumpkin puree
- 8 oz (224 grams) cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) pumpkin puree
- 1 ¼ cups (150 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Layer 2 paper towels in a medium bowl and put the pumpkin puree onto the paper towels. Gather the paper towels around the puree and gently squeeze out the excess moisture into the bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cooled melted butter and brown sugar until combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and stir.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until the flour is incorporated.
- Use a medium, 2 oz cookie scoop or a ¼ cup measure to scoop the cookie dough into balls.
- Place on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes until the cookie begins to turn golden brown and the middle is almost done. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, use the back of a spoon to create an indent in the top of the cookie.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooking rack to cool completely.
- Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the pumpkin puree, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Once the cookies are cooled, dollop the cream cheese onto the cookies. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.
- Store the cookies for 4-5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator.