Pumpkin Brulée Cookies
A brown butter pumpkin cookie is layered with pumpkin cheesecake spread and topped with a torched caramelized sugar topping for a unique cookie recipe perfect for the holidays.
Well folks, I’m back at it again with another pumpkin cookie. But this time it’s so much different than the others, I can explain. This pumpkin cookie starts out using a modified version of my snickerdoodle cookie base, I replace a portion of the flour with graham cracker flour, add in maple syrup and roasted pumpkin puree along with cinnamon and pumpkin spice. What I have created here is a chewy pumpkin cookie full of caramel-like flavors that smells exactly like pumpkin pie. This cookie is the perfect base for a pumpkin cheesecake spread which takes less than 5 minutes to whip up and only uses 3 ingredients. This creamy, tangy, pumpkin flavored cheesecake is then spread on top of the browned butter pumpkin cookie, drizzled with granulated sugar, and torched to create an unbelievably crisp caramelized sugar crunch. Have I got your attention now?
The cookies (without toppings) can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in a closed container. The cheesecake filling can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge. Assembling and torching the sugar takes minutes and makes an extravagant dessert worthy of showing off at any gathering. Wide-eyed, smiling, mouths dropping in awe at the decadence these cookies will soon bestow upon the tastebuds of anyone who will try them. These cookies are here to showcase just how good pumpkin desserts can really be.
Why I Love This Recipe
Flavor-The base is made with brown butter which adds a rich toffee caramel-like flavor to the cookie dough. Most of my holiday baking will incorporate some sort of brown butter since caramelizing the milk solids in butter gives a warm depth of flavor in anything it’s added to. Roasted pumpkin puree is added to the cookie dough adding a sweet and earthy flavor that pairs well with the pumpkin spice and extra cinnamon in the dough. This is a modified snickerdoodle cookie recipe and the cream of tartar in the dough helps give a slight tang the cookie dough which balances the sweetness of the pumpkin and ties together beautifully with the tanginess of the pumpkin cheesecake spread. The pumpkin cheesecake layer is very simple, cream cheese, pumpkin purée, and maple syrup, and adds a bright and tart contrast to the sweet cookie underneath and caramelized sugar on top. Once you take a bite out of this cookie, I assure you will not be able to stop. I couldn’t.
Texture-This cookie is a thin and chewy cookie with crisp edges. The pumpkin and maple syrup in the dough help the cookie to say soft baked but chewy for several days after baking. The pumpkin cheesecake spread is creamy and thick creating a perfect texture with the crunchy caramelized sugar on top. A bite of this cookie is phenomenal in terms of contrasting textures and temperatures. The crunch of the warm sugar the cool and creamy pumpkin cheesecake and the chewy pumpkin cookie underneath it all to hold everything together for scrumptious bite. The crisp snappy bite of the caramelized sugar on top is my favorite part.
Make Ahead-With the holidays just around the corner I love that this cookie is easy to put together, easy to assemble, and can be stored ahead of time so I don’t have to be stuck in the kitchen when guests are visiting. The cookie dough can be baked, cooled, and stored in a covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days and the cheesecake spread can be prepared and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Both the cookie dough and the pumpkin cheesecake spread take less than 10 minutes to make and require a few staple ingredients most of us have on hand this time of year.
Aesthetically Pleasing-I love the crackle of a bruléed sugar topping on desserts. There is something so fancy and elevated about a dessert that has a shiny caramelized sugar topping. The caramelized sugar has a pleasant crunch and snap when breaking the cookie topping to reveal a creamy pumpkin interior and dark brown spiced pumpkin cookie. The contrasting colors and textures make the cookie appear complicated and meticulous to make, yet that is far from the truth! This dessert looks fancy schmancy without having to slave in the kitchen all day baking a detailed French dessert. These types of cookies are my favorite type of cookie.
Ingredients You Need
-Browned butter-please refer to this recipe for details on how to brown butter. It takes 10 minutes and will give these cookies a flavor boost. If you don’t want to fuss with brown butter, you can use room temp or melted butter just the same.
-Granulated & Brown sugar-most of the granulated sugar is for the cookie dough and I have outlined an extra 1/3 cup of granulated sugar for the brulée topping.
-Maple Syrup- to flavor the cookie and keep the texture soft and chewy.
-Graham Cracker flour-this is made by pulsing a half of a package of graham crackers in a food processor to a fine crumb. I will be substituting part of the flour in the recipe with this flour. It will give the cookie a richer flavor.
-Cream of tartar-this will give the cookie a tangy flavor that will balance the sweetness and tie into the cheesecake flavor of the pumpkin cheesecake topping.
-Cornstarch- I like the soft texture cornstarch gives the cookie.
-Pumpkin Pie Spice
-PUMPKIN PURÉE -I am using fresh pumpkin puree in this recipe. It will give the cookie a stronger pumpkin flavor that is both earthy and sweet. I love using Libby’s canned pumpkin when I don’t have fresh puree on hand and it’s a widely available and great sub for fresh puree. I will be squeezing out as much water from the puree as possible to maintain a chewy pumpkin cookie that still has a lot of pumpkin flavors without it being cakey from the extra moisture.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Spread
-Cream cheese- I am using full fat, room temperature cream cheese.
-Maple Syrup-to sweeten the spread and make it smooth.
-Pumpkin purée-for flavor and color.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Spread
Before making the cookie dough I like to make the pumpkin cheesecake spread first. It gives the spread time to chill back down before spreading on top of the cookies and torched with sugar. The heat of the blow torch can heat up the cheesecake spread so I want it to be chilled before I use it.
In a bowl combine room temperature cream cheese, pumpkin purée, and maple syrup. Mix with a spoon until smooth and creamy. Using room temperature cream cheese is easier to mix up with the other ingredients and prevents lumps of cold cream cheese that won’t mix in.
Place the pumpkin cheesecake spread in the fridge while cookies are being made, baked, and cooled.
Let’s Make Cookies!
The browed butter pumpkin cookie dough is easy to throw together and does not need a mixer to prepare. No chill time is necessary for the cookie dough since I want a cookie that bakes and spreads evenly to be the foundation of this pumpkin dessert. If making the dough in advance, store covered in the fridge for 3 days or freeze in a bag for up to 6 months.
In a bowl I mix the brown butter (room temperature or slightly warm), brown sugar, maple syrup, and granulated sugar until mixed together.
I add in the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. This should take a minute or two of mixing, there should not be any visible egg white or yolk, and the mixture should look cohesive. I stir in the vanilla, after the eggs are combined.
Using two paper towels I place the pumpkin puree in the center, roll the paper towels around the pumpkin and gently squeeze as much water as possible out. This will help the cookies taste like pumpkin without adding extra water to our recipe. Not straining the water out of the pumpkin at this step can result in cookies that rise tall and are cake like. The puree should look dry after the water is pressed out.
I add the drained pumpkin to the egg and sugar mixture and stir to combine. No lumps of pumpkin should be visible after mixing.
I sift my flours, cream of tartar, salt, cornstarch, and baking soda in a bowl then add to the wet ingredients. I mix just until the flour is combined, do not overmix. No one wants tough cookies.
I use a 3-ounce cookie scoop for the dough and place 4 cookies per parchment lined baking sheet. These cookies will spread when baking so I make sure not to overcrowd the baking sheet.
I bake these in a 375* oven for 10-12 minutes. I know the cookies are done when they are spread thin with golden brown edges that are wrinkled. I love the wrinkled edges; this means the cookies are going to have a wonderful crisp and chewy bite on the outside.
I let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once the cookies are cooled, I spread a generous tablespoon of pumpkin cream cheese spread on top making sure not to get to close to the edge of the cookie. I like to flatten the top out the best I can with the straight side of my spatula. This will help the sugar crisp up on a nice even layer on top.
I sprinkle a teaspoon of granulated sugar on top of the pumpkin cheesecake spread as evenly as I can. Then comes the fun part, the kitchen torch! Always be careful with the torch, it is very hot.
I caramelize the sugar on top of the cookie using a quick and steady back and forth motion until all the sugar is golden brown and bubbly. I try not to keep the torch in one spot and move it around to cook the sugar evenly.
I let the caramelized sugar on the cookies cool for 5 minutes before serving the cookies. These cookies can be broken in half with two hands to reveal the pumpkin cheesecake under the crisped sugar, or you can crack the top of the bruléed sugar with a spoon for a fun crackle effect on top of the cookie before taking a luscious bite.
These cookies are best enjoyed in the moment and they definitely require an audience during the kitchen torch steps. It’s a fun cookie to share and it doesn’t hurt that it is also ridiculously delicious.
Enjoy and I hope you try this recipe soon. Happy Baking!
If you try this recipe and love it as much as I do, please tag, follow, and like @sunshinetxcookies on Instagram and Facebook. New posts every Thursday so be sure to follow me for more delicious cookie recipes.
Pumpkin Brulée Cookies
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cookies
- 2 sticks butter (browned) please refer to this post on how to brown butter. https://sunshinetxcookies.com/?p=1053
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar for cookie dough.
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 tspns vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ cup pumpkin puree please refer to this post on how to make fresh puree. https://sunshinetxcookies.com/?p=2287
- 1 tspn pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tspn cinnamon
- 2 tspn cream of tartar
- 1 tspn baking soda
- ½ cup graham cracker flour ½ package of graham crackers blended into powder.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbspn cornstarch
- ½ tspn salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar for torching on top.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Topping
- 8 oz full fat cream cheese room temperature
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1½ tspn vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp pumpkin purée
- Combine brown butter and both types of sugar in a bowl.
- Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract and maple syrup.
- Using 2-4 paper towels, place pumpkin puree in the center of paper towels and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. The puree will look dry.
- Add the squeezed out pumpkin puree to the egg and sugar mixture and stir until fully combined.
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, spices, cream of tartar, and baking soda and fold into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Using a 3 ounce cookie scoop, place 4 cookies per parchment lined baking baking sheet. These cookies will spread quite a bit while baking so make sure not to crowd the pan.
- Bake at 375*F for 10-12 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are golden brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes on pan before transferring to wire rack to finish cooling.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Topping
- In a bowl mix together room temperature cream cheese, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and salt.
- The mixture should be smooth and creamy.
- On top of a cooled browned butter pumpkin cookie, spread one tablespoon of the prepared pumpkin cheesecake. Smooth the cheesecake so that it is a level surface for the sugar topping.
- Sprinkle the pumpkin cheesecake topped cookie generously with one teaspoon of granulated sugar as evenly as possible.
- Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar on top of the cookie until the sugar is brown, bubbling, and crisp.
- Alternatively, place sugar topped cookies underneath the broiler on HIGH for 10-20 seconds to caramelize the sugar. Keep a close eye on the cookies so the sugar doesn't burn.
- Allow the sugar to harden and the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before serving.