I love oatmeal cookies, and I love pumpkin. It seems only natural to combine them into one delicious moist & chewy cookie.
An important part of the cookie is the spices. I no longer use that pre-made “pumpkin pie spice” you get at the grocery store for baking, instead I use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, and star anise. By adding these spices individually, I have more control over the flavor, and it has more punch than “pumpkin pie spice”.
Whenever possible, I like to use whole spices for a stronger flavor. I always grate my nutmeg with a Microplane grater right before use. I have a small coffee grinder that I use for cloves, allspice, and star anise. However, if you don’t have a grater or grinder, using pre-ground spices will work just fine. If you want to get a grater or grinder, try the Microplane Classic Spice Grater and the Golden Bell Spice Grinder.
This recipe calls for a pinch of allspice and star anise. While they definitely add something to the cookies, the cookies will be OK without them if you don’t have them on hand, but I do think the cookies are best with them.
I love cookies loaded with extra goodies, but they can quickly overpower the pumpkin flavor. I use only ½ cup of mini chocolate chips, and ½ cup of dried cranberries. I like the mini chocolate chips because it spreads the chocolate more evenly through the cookies than using regular chips. I also coarsely chop the cranberries after measuring for the same reason.
Nuts have a more subtle flavor than chocolate or cranberries, so I use a whole cup of toasted pecans. Pecans are my favorite for this cookie, but others nuts such as walnuts would work as well.
Uniform cookie size
I use a size #20 ice cream scoop to portion out the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. It makes the job easier and faster. My scoop, which is pictured below, is 2 ⅛″ in diameter, and will scoop about 2.5 tablespoons of dough. If you do not have a scoop, then form 2″ balls with your hands.
I love using scoops, and consider them to be indispensable. The scoop pictured is a hand-me-down from my grandmother-in-law. I loved it so much, I bought scoops in several other sizes. If no one has gifted you the perfect scoop, I also like the OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop.
After placing the dough on baking sheet, press the dough with your hands so it is about 1″ high.
Moist & Chewy
One of the reasons why these cookies are moist & chewy is the cooking time. You’ll take the cookies out of the oven before they look done, and they will continue to cook outside of the oven. When they’re ready to remove from the oven, the center of the cookies will look a little undone, and the edges and bottom of the cookies will be set.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
makes approx. 24 cookies
- 1 cup pecans (toasted and chopped after measuring)
- ½ cup dried cranberries (chopped after measuring)
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground or grated nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch of ground allspice
- pinch of ground star anise
Butter & Sugar
- 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened but cooler than room temperature
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Adjust oven racks to middle position, and heat oven to 350˚. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Take butter out of fridge and leave it out on counter to soften slightly.
- Measure 1 cup of pecans, then toast pecans and coarsely chop. Place in a medium bowl. Measure ½ cup dried cranberries, then coarsely chop, and add to same bowl. Mix in the reminder of the Fillings ingredients (old-fashioned rolled oats, mini chocolate chips), and set bowl aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together everything listed under Dry Ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and star anise). Set bowl aside.
- In a standing mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds or until smooth. With mixer running on medium, slowly add brown sugar until fully combined. Beat until no lumps remain. Scrape sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add Wet Ingredients (pumpkin, egg, vanilla extract), and run mixer on low until combined. Do not over mix.
- With mixer running on low, slowly add bowl of Dry Ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and star anise), until just combined. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Do not over mix.
- Remove bowl from standing mixer. Add bowl of Fillings (pecans, cranberries, old-fashioned rolled oats, mini chocolate chips), and fold in using a rubber spatula.
- Portion dough onto baking sheet either by using #20 ice cream scoop or rolling into 2″ balls with hands. Place cookies 2 1/2″ apart. Press dough with hands so it is about 1″ high.
- Place both cookie sheets in oven. Total baking time will be 22-24 minutes. Halfway through baking, switch the cookies sheets between upper & lower middle oven racks and rotate 180˚. Take the cookies out of the oven before they look done, they will continue to cook outside of the oven. The edges will be slightly set, and so will the bottom of the cookie.
- Place cookie sheets on wire cooling racks for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, transfer cookies off of cookie sheets and onto cooling racks. Allow to cool to room temperature.