Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies That Are Like Soft, Fluffy Mini Cakes

November 16, 2016

Whether you're baking treats for cozy Saturday afternoons, family get togethers, or that next holiday party, we partnered with Ghirardelli to share a few of our favorite back-pocket sweets you can turn to again and again.

"These are basically mini cakes," Merrill Stubbs tells me of her Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, plump little circles of earthy pumpkin, dark chocolate, and warming spices that, texture-wise, are more like a cake than a cookie, and are just right for hunkering down.

Pillowy soft and pumpkin-filled. Photo by James Ransom

Merrill, our fearless co-founder knows how to do cookies—she did win our holiday cookie truck face-off last year, after all!—and this recipe is pretty hard to mess up.

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The prep is pared down because the recipe calls for oil and not butter, making it a simple dump-and-stir operation. Plus, as Merrill explains, "The cookies are essentially impervious to dryness since they're made with both vegetable oil and pumpkin puree." They'll keep in a sealed container in the fridge for at least a week, but also freeze well if you want to get really ahead for an upcoming party (or would just like a sweet snack here and there).

She adds that you​ could make the cookies without the chips, and instead melt the chocolate and dip the baked cookies in it​ for something a bit more dramatic (!).

And you could even play around with the spices—a pinch of cardamom here, some cayenne there. They're easily riffed on with various combinations.

A word to the wise: If you make your own puree, don't use actual pumpkin, which can be watery; use butternut or kabocha squash, or some other dense winter squash instead. If you're headstrong and still want to use fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned, make sure to drain the squash after you steam it or the cookies will come out way too runny. And feel free to sub in brown sugar—it shouldn't change a thing!

A just-right baked good depends on high-quality ingredients—and good chocolate's a must. This holiday season, our sweetest secret is Ghirardelli's 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips—what's yours? See all of Ghirardelli's baking chocolate here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Moe Chang
    Moe Chang
  • Plum in the Icebox
    Plum in the Icebox
  • Luciemom
  • Bascula
  • Alexandra V. Jones
    Alexandra V. Jones
I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


Moe C. December 5, 2016
Made this for my annual family Thanksgiving potluck. They were a BIG hit!
Plum I. November 20, 2016
So, accidentally bought a can of pumpkin pie filling instead of puree. Thinking I could probably still make these but less sugar (main difference seems to be sugar and spice added)...thoughts anyone?
Plum I. February 13, 2017
Responding to myself just in case someone ever had the same issue! I made these with pumpkin pie filling using 1/3 c less sugar and still adding the spices, turned out really good still! Had them both as written and with the accidental pie filling version and both are amazing (and my toddlers love them too)
Luciemom November 20, 2016
I'm thinking about using this recipe for the Hachiya persimmons that are getting to the squishy stage this week. Would it work?
Bascula November 17, 2016
For the vegan in my life, I'm thinking of trying this with a flax egg. Any thoughts on that?
Alexandra V. November 17, 2016
Hands down one of my favorite cookies! I have made two batches since November started, the Ghirardelli bittersweet chips are a must! Love these, they are so light!
Hannah O. November 16, 2016
I've seen and baked variants on this recipe in the past - the trick I love to punch up the flavor is to use pumpkin seed oil whenever possible.