Browned Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Though I remain as #basic as humanly possible in terms of fall fashion (hi scarves & boots, ILY!), I have to admit that my zest for all things pumpkin spice has really diminished over the years. It’s really not the spices themselves, so much as the gobs of sugar that generally accompany said spices. But there is just something about the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon and ginger wafting through a house warmed by the oven that just cannot be beat as autumn settles in for much too short a time. And the best way to experience that? Baking, of course!

I gave up on my quest to create the perfect, crispy, pumpkin cookie because it’s just not scientifically possible to get it as crispy as I want it, but that doesn’t mean other pumpkin cookies aren’t delicious, right?

I dissected a few different recipes to pull together components that I wanted to include in these. This recipe begins with browned butter*, which is the best way to begin anything, really. I also used as little processed sugar as seemed possible to still be able to call these cookies. I chose not to use an alternative to sugar, such as bananas or applesauce, but did limit the sugar to 1/2 cup, which is honestly not too shabby for legit cookies! Of course pumpkin plays a key role here, but because I didn’t want these to be pillowy soft cookies, I didn’t use too much. Side note: I soak my pumpkin puree in paper towel before baking with it, to get rid of some of the moisture. And even though pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon, I still added more on its own, because you can never have too much cinnamon.

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*If you’ve never browned butter before, take a peek at this tutorial. Essentially you put butter in a warm pan (light-colored is ideal, but I do not have light-colored pans), melt it, stir it a bit, wait for it to foam, and then right after that the browning part will begin. It will start to smell absolutely heavenly. Little brown flecks will be present and before it burns, you’ll want to remove it from heat and allow it to cool. Obviously the cooling process will go faster if you transfer it to a different bowl, but be sure to also transfer the little brown flecks. Those little buggers contain all of the flavor.

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And once your butter is browned, you can gather the rest of your ingredients while it cools!

In a separate, large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together.

Fold in chocolate chunks (regular  ol’ chips are fine, of course). Keep in mind that this dough will be very soft due to the melted butter. The chocolate chunks might also have a hard time sticking because of this. Cover or wrap the dough and refrigerate for about an hour. Or if you’re like me and sometimes don’t get around to baking on the same day, this stuff will stay good even up to a few days.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 stick butter, browned and cooled
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1½ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼  tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½  cup chocolate chunks
flaked sea salt for sprinkling

And here’s what you’ll do:
Using a handheld or stand mixer, combine browned butter and sugars until no lumps remain. Stir in maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin until smooth.

In a separate, large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together.

Fold in chocolate chunks (regular  ol’ chips are fine, of course). Keep in mind that this dough will be very soft due to the melted butter. The chocolate chunks might also have a hard time sticking because of this. Cover or wrap the dough and refrigerate for about an hour. Or if you’re like me and sometimes don’t get around to baking on the same day, this stuff will stay good even up to a few days.

When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator, and roll dough into balls, placing on baking sheets lined with parchment. Flatten dough slightly or to desired size/thickness, as they will not spread much at all in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. They will look underbaked. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Remove from oven, flatten more (if desired), add a few more chocolate chunks (if desired), and sprinkle with sea salt (DO IT, trust me).

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These cookies are great fresh out of the oven, when little hands and tummies wake up from naps and can’t wait, but they’re also fantastic the next couple of days. That is, if you have any left!

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3 thoughts on “Browned Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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