Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.  It’s not just for pie.  These delicious cookies are rather decadent…chewy, moist, and exploding with pungent ginger flavor.  I recently baked hundreds of these with Michael Chen from MasterChef Season 3 for a third grade class at a local middle school during an assembly about seasonal cooking.  You might think kids would be cautious about a pumpkin cookie that’s spicy with intense ginger flavor…they went absolutely crazy for them.

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cardamom

Mix these together thoroughly in a large bowl.  Then, in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

When the mixture is light and fluffy, add:

1 egg

When the egg is thoroughly incorporated, add:

1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine, or make your own by slicing a pumpkin in half, placing both halves cut side down on a baking sheet, and baking at 350F until it’s soft.  [You can also microwave it until soft.]  Let it cool fully and blend in a food processor or blender until smooth.)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger root
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (expensive at the store in the spice rack…recipe located here)

Thoroughly blend.  Then lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until completely mixed.  At this point, you have 2 options for making these into cookies.  You can just spoon directly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment (I use a small ice cream scoop with the squeezable handle that gives me perfectly formed, even cookies) and bake them, or you can divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.  Then roll them out 1/4″ thick on a floured surface and cut into gingerbread men or any shape you like, then carefully transfer to a parchment lined sheet and bake.

Bake these cookies in a preheated 375F oven.  Flat gingerbread men-type cookies will be done in about 8 minutes…the longer you bake them, the crispier they will be.  If you make these into drop-style cookies, they will take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to bake, depending on their size.  Let them cool fully.


In a saucepan, combine:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp baking soda

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and boil until the color changes to a caramel color, about 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  The caramel will foam up while boiling, so stir and blow on it gently to keep it from boiling over.  Remove from the heat and add:

1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir completely and allow to cool for a few minutes, during which time the glaze will thicken slightly.  Then spoon over the cookies.

8 Responses to Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

  1. You got another hit here Ben. Took some out to my sister’s today and everyone that tried them loved these. Good job, how long before you put out another cookbook?

  2. Just finished making a batch. Had to substitute a tablespoon of ground for the freshly grated ginger though. Came out great, not dry at all. 12 minutes was the perfect baking time.

  3. HI Ben, I was wondering; what size scoop do you use for the drop cookie version and about how many does this recipe make. And I noticed you mentioned a stand mixer, that is on my wishlist but for now I have to make do with a hand held. It does get the job done though.

  4. Interested bystander

    We tried to make these but something must have gone very wrong. They were very, very dry. We followed the directions, so are perplexed as to what happened. On a happier note, the crystalized ginger is delicious.

    • Not sure what went wrong…I’ve made these a hundred times. How big did you make the cookies? Perhaps they baked for too long? Keep in mind, these are gingerBREAD cookies. They are not like chocolate chip cookies. They are more like a quickbread. Dense and sweet and spicy. If you made the caramel frosting, it would have soaked into the cookies and moistened them, no matter how dry. But I normally don’t make the caramel frosting, and they are just fine.

  5. Sounds sublime. I’ve a teeny kitchen with a dearth of equipment, and a stand mixer is on my wish list. I think I can do this by hand. Adore the idea of home-made crystalized ginger, too. Yum–and sharing via Facebook & Pinterest. Would have loved to see a few more pictures, tho: a close up of finished cookies, happily munching 3rd graders, and you and Michael! Thank you for posting such fabulous recipes, and so clearly that a very unpracticed cook like myself dares to try them!

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