If you’re craving a gluten-free pumpkin cookie with the soft, chewy texture of a chocolate chip cookie, this recipe is for you. These cookies have buttery edges and a dense middle, made with almond and oat flour. The secret is an egg yolk and real pumpkin!
Much of my inspiration when developing gluten-free dessert recipes comes from you! When asked which fall treats you wanted a recipe for, several of you mentioned soft gluten-free pumpkin cookies that were chewy, not cakey.
Pumpkin is a tricky ingredient to add to cookies because it adds moisture. Moisture is great for making soft cookies, but can also result in a plush, cakey texture. Pumpkin is nearly 90% water, which is wonderful for making super moist pumpkin bread, but not so welcomed in cookie baking.
And when it comes to cookies, we’re after irresistibly chewy. Like your favorite chocolate chip cookie. Am I right?
I researched a lot of cookie and pumpkin puree recipes, and found two things to be particularly important for making a dense, chewy cookie. Then the testing began. Six batches of gluten-free pumpkin cookies later, and here we are with the best pumpkin cookie I’ve eaten.
They’re perfectly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, giving them a quintessential fall flavor.
Creaming butter and sugar is the traditional first step in making cookies, which whips air into these ingredients, helping the cookies to puff and rise. We’re using melted butter instead, which helps the cookie spread as they bake rather than grow tall, resulting in more chew and density.
Butter is also what keeps cookies tender. In simplest terms, melted butter = denser cookies, creamed butter = cakier cookies.
We start with browned butter – a delicious addition to any cookie, and a great flavor to complement the warm pumpkin and spices. This short and simple process transforms the color and flavor of the butter from pale and mild, to dark and nutty.
A whole egg is made up of three things: water, protein, and fat. These three components work together to perform different functions in baking.
With pumpkin puree in the dough, we’re already adding a significant amount of moisture, reducing the need for the whole egg. Egg whites contain a great deal of water and no fat, and tend to have a drying effect on baked goods. Egg yolks are the protein, which adds chewiness to a cookie and helps increase spread, so we’re using the yolk without the white!
Almond flour, oat flour, and sweet rice flour were the perfect combination for creating a lovely flavor and a plush, moist texture that binds together well.
Brown sugar builds a slightly denser cookie with chew, helping weigh the cookies down to prevent them from puffing up drastically. Brown sugar rather than granulated sugar brings out great depth and almost caramel-like flavor while creating those beautiful cracks on the tops of the cookies.
Salt is essential to balance the flavor of caramelized sugars, and a good amount of vanilla extract is lovely.
Resting: I like to chill my dough for about 30 minutes to let the gluten-free flours absorb the fats, and make it easier to scoop. You can also scoop the dough balls and freeze them, which is a nice way to always have warm cookies at the ready in under 15 minutes with no prep!
And finally, a light drizzle of maple icing. Once cookies are completely cooled, you can whisk together powdered sugar, maple syrup and a tiny bit of milk to make a really pretty pattern on top of the cookies.