I discovered this recipe years ago when I was living in San Diego. It wasn’t pumpkin season but I was craving homemade pumpkin cookies. The problem? I didn’t actually have any pumpkin in the house, nor did I have any intention of leaving the house to go find a store that sold some in June. And then I found this recipe! A pumpkin cookie without any pumpkin, but WITH pumpkin pie spices — which, when combined with such a soft cookie, give the effect of actually eating a pumpkin cookie.
So while the June gloom was heavy over San Diego, I fell in love with these cookies. They’re sweetened with both honey and brown sugar for a rich, almost caramel-like, flavor. The combination of honey and brown sugar also create an extremely soft and moist texture. They bend rather than break. And during the baking process, if you can see through your oven window, you’ll see they are really puffy as they bake. Once pulled from the oven and left to sit on the cookie sheet to cool, they flatten slightly while maintaining their chewy lifted edges.
The two tricks to ensuring the best version of these cookies:
1) Chill the dough. I know, I know. Such a pain. But the honey creates such a wet and sticky dough that it really needs to have time to chill in order to prevent it from spreading while baking and turning into a very thin, flat cookie. The other bonus when chilling cookie dough is better flavor development. When working with such a flavorful dough, the subtleties of the honey and all the spices get a better chance of marrying when given the time.
2) Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets after pulling them from the oven. Due to the softness of the cookie, they need a chance to continue to cook slightly and firm when cooling. This also makes them easier to transfer from your cookie sheet to cooling rack without breaking or deforming them.
You’ll be sure to end up with a cookie that is soft overall, chewy along the edges, and packed with Fall flavors. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, don’t worry! You can easily make a mix yourself by combining ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Just keep the cinnamon ratio larger than the rest.
So whether you want to make these now, or sometime next summer when the Fall craving hits, this recipe is a keeper.
Honey Pumpkin Spice Cookies
- 1/2 cup Butter, softened
- 1/2 cup Brown sugar
- 1 Egg
- 2 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 2 tbsp. Pumpkin pie spice or a mix of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger
- 2 cups Flour
- 2 tsp. Cornstarch
- 1 tsp. Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- Pinch Ginger, optional
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the egg and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the honey, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined.
- Create large balls of cookie dough about 2 tbsp. in size and flatten the dough slightly with the palm of your hand. Place on freezer-friendly plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. (If you do not chill your dough, your cookies will be thin, flat, and spread substantially while baking).
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheets with cookie dough and space 2 inches apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until the edges have set. They should be just set in the middle but not overly browned.
- Cool the cookies for 5 entire minutes in the pan (this part is important for them to flatten and firm) before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.