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Food & Recipes

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies Are *The* Ultimate Fall Treat — 2 Delicious, Easy Recipes

Plus, pro baker reveals the surprise paper towel trick that guarantees they bake up perfectly soft

When we want a taste of fall no matter the time of year, indulging in pumpkin-flavored treats never disappoints. Sure, there are pumpkin spice lattes and all sorts of pies, but we’re adding another treat to the list, and it might even be our new favorite: pumpkin cheesecake cookies. These cookies are sweet, earthy and aromatic with a soft and creamy texture to boot. Since there are a couple of ways to make pumpkin cheesecake cookies, we spoke to two bakers who share their tips for nailing this treat. Here’s the scoop on this yummy dessert along with recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth!

What are pumpkin cheesecake cookies 

This treat starts with a basic cookie dough that’s infused with the warming and earthy flavors of pumpkin purée, nutmeg and cinnamon. The dough is often shaped into balls and filled with a cream cheese mixture before baking, or the cookies can be left unstuffed and topped with a cheesecake frosting once baked.

Stuffing the cookies with the cheesecake mixture gives them a fluffy texture and offers a surprise element when your loved ones first bite into them. A cheesecake frosting is great if you want an extra creamy topping to pair with the soft yet slightly crisp baked cookies.

Regardless if you’re stuffing or topping the cookies with the mixture, it adds a sweet and vanilla flavor to this fall-inspired treat!

How to make delicious pumpkin cheesecake cookies

To make these cookies without hassle, try these tips from professional bakers.

1. Pat the pumpkin purée dry to prevent chewy cookies.

Canned pumpkin is slightly watery since it’s boiled before being puréed. Therefore, your cookies can have a less-than-desirable texture if the moisture isn’t removed beforehand. The fix: Susan Sarich, founder and CEO of SusieCakes, suggests spreading the purée in a thin layer onto a plate and blotting with paper towels to draw out excess water. “This makes the cookies cake-y versus chewy, which is what we want!” she says. Once completely dry, mix the pumpkin into the cookie dough.

2. Shred the cream cheese to soften it in seconds.

Rather waiting for an entire brick of cream cheese to soften, use this speedy trick from Elisa Marshall, co-founder and owner of the New York-based French bakery Maman, instead. “If you do not have time to soften and bring your cream cheese to room temperature prior to baking, grate the cold stick of cream cheese on a classic cheese grater and add the grated cheese into your mixture,” she says. Grating the cold cream cheese also helps it blend better in the filling or icing mixture and avoids clumping. (For more ways to use up this fridge staple, click through for tasty cream cheese recipes.)

3. Chill the dough and cheesecake mixture for perfectly stuffed cookies.

When making cream cheese-filled cookies, Sarich recommends refrigerating the cookie dough and filling separately for 1 hour before assembling them. This step solidifies the butter in the dough, preventing the cookies from spreading too much in the oven. It also hardens the cream cheese mixture, which should be scooped into balls at this stage. This ensures the mixture doesn’t melt as you’re filling and shaping the cookies.

RELATED: Pro Baker’s Secret to Prevent Homemade Pumpkin Pie From Cracking — It’s So Easy!

2 pumpkin cheesecake cookies recipes

For a true taste of fall, make either (or both!) of these recipes for pumpkin cheesecake cookies. (Plus, check out these stories on how to make sour cream pumpkin pie and surprising uses for leftover canned pumpkin.)

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cheesecake-Filled Cookies 

Pumpkin cheesecake cookies sitting on a wooden board
Getty

Sarich’s pumpkin cheesecake cookie recipe is not only stuffed, it’s then coated in cinnamon sugar for extra hints of sweetness and spice.

Cookie dough:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin purée, blotted dry
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Cheesecake filling:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Sugar spice coating:

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  • Yield: 12 cookies

Cookie dough prep: 

  1. Sift flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cornstarch into medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix butter and sugars on high until fully creamed. Add egg yolk, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute or until lightly blended 
  3. Scoop and roll 12 portions of dough, each about 3 Tbs. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate 1 hour.

Cheesecake filling prep:

  1. Mix cream cheese until soft and creamy. Mix in sugar and vanilla extract until fully creamed together
  2. Scoop 12 scoops, each about 2 tsp. each, onto separate parchment-line baking sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Baking the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. For sugar spice coating, stir together sugar and cinnamon until fully combined. Set aside.
  2. Take ball of cookie dough and use thumb to make indent or “well” in center. Place cold cream cheese “drop” in center. Wrap dough to fully cover cream cheese and roll into a ball.
  3. After forming cookies, roll each one in sugar coating and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake 14 to 16 minutes. Cookies won’t get super brown, but they should look set. Cool cookies on large wire rack and serve.

    Note: Store leftover cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Pumpkin Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cheesecake Frosting

Pumpkin cookies with cheesecake icing served on a plate
Getty

This recipe comes from George Duran, celebrity chef and brand ambassador at Mighty Sesame Co., who adds tahini (sesame seed paste) to the cookie dough for an intense nutty flavor. If you don’t have tahini on hand, swap in an equal amount of peanut or cashew butter.

Ingredients: 

Cookie dough:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup tahini, like Mighty Sesame Tahini (Buy from Acme, $8.49), or nut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée, blotted dry
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream cheese frosting:  

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Yield: 60 cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Using handheld or stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Beat in both sugars, a little at a time, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, then mix in tahini, vanilla and pumpkin purée. 
  3. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Slowly beat flour mixture into batter in thirds. Stir in chips. Scoop cookie dough by heaping 1 Tbs. portions onto prepared cookie sheets and bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cook should be browned around edges.
  4. Remove cookie sheets from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool. 
  5. For frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt using handheld or stand mixer until creamy. Gently incorporate sugar and continue beating until mixture is smooth. 
  6. Once cookies cool completely, frost with frosting and serve. 

    Note: Keep cookies fresh by storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For more irresistible dessert recipes, click through:

Fried Cheesecake Bites: Crispy, Creamy, Deliciousness That Comes Together Easily

Blueberry Cookies Are the Ultimate Soft and Chewy Treat — 3 Success Secrets + 2 Recipes

Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake Is the Ultimate 5-Minute Dessert — Zero Clean-Up Required

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