Chewy Pumpkin Ginger Cookies {with Vegan Option}

  
Hey there! How was your Thanksgiving? Did you eat too much pie and not feel even the teensiest bit guilty? I hope so 😊 We are on our way back to Brooklyn from Henry’s family’s home. Anyway, let’s talk about cookies.

I’m torn. It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Am I allowed to post Christmas cookies now? It’s still November. Is pumpkin season over? I don’t even know. Figuring out the ins and outs of this food blogging stuff is hard. How about a combination? A gingery pumpkin cookie that would be totally welcome at a holiday cookie exchange. With a crunchy, sugary crust because yum. And, if that’s not enough, a simple optional vegan swap so you can have something for everyone at your holiday parties. The holidays are about being inclusive and good to people we love, right?! Right! So let’s make some Chewy Pumpkin Ginger Cookies.

   
This dough is super simple–no mixer required! It starts by stirring melted butter (or coconut oil, if you’re going vegan) with light brown sugar. Then add in 1/4 cup of pumpkin. The pumpkin acts as an egg substitute here–if we added pumpkin and eggs, we’d have cakey cookies. No, thank you! Chewy all the way. Anyway, after we add the pumpkin, it’s time for a hefty dose of dark molasses, followed by just enough vanilla to mellow out the spices. Speaking of spices, add one full tablespoon each of ground ginger and pumpkin pie spice. Then, it’s time for some dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Whisk those up and add them in two installments, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go. This dough needs only thirty minutes of chilling before it’s ready to roll.

A note on chilling cookie dough: it’s mandatory if you want soft, puffy, chewy cookies. There’s no way around it. Embrace the chill! Your cookies will be better for it. Plus, it means you can make the dough 24 hours in advance, and I am all for working ahead. But let’s get back to the rolling.

  
  
  
Roll your chilled dough in two tablespoon increments, and then roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before placing them on the baking sheets. This will give them a crispy outer crust, and has the added benefit of making them look stunning! Pretty food just tastes better. Bake these for 10-11 minutes. Then let them cool, and enjoy. Easy peasy.  

Chewy Pumpkin Ginger Cookies are good on the first day, but the pumpkin flavor really shines through on day two. They’ll stay soft and delicious for up to a week, so they’re perfect for adding a little holiday cheer to lunches, or for preparing ahead of time for your cookie exchange. I think they’d make a really good ice cream sandwich with a small scoop of vanilla. Or chocolate. Chocolate and ginger are sooo good together.

Start the Christmas season right–make these cookies! I’ll be posting twelve holiday cookie recipes leading up to Christmas Eve, so prepare to wow at your cookie exchanges and holiday parties. Make sure to check back over the next few weeks for a hefty dose of holiday cheer 😊

 Chewy Pumpkin Ginger Cookies
adapted from Soft-Baked Gingersnap Molasses Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes about two dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly*
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup molasses*
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, mix together melted butter and light brown sugar until there are no more lumps. Add in pumpkin, molasses, spices, and vanilla, stirring after each addition. Stir in 1/3 flour mixture at a time, until a thick soft dough has formed. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Roll two tablespoon* increments of dough into balls. Roll dough balls in granulated sugar and place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 10-11 minutes, until puffy and no longer wet-looking. Let cool for five minutes on the pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking until all dough has been used.
Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes:

1. Vegan option: use 3/4 cup melted coconut oil in place of the melted butter.
2. Do not use blackstrap molasses–it’s too robust for this recipe.
3. A medium cookie scoop may also be used.

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