For the love of cookies

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel and Meringue

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel and Meringue Topping

A soft pumpkin cookie topped with a layer of pumpkin spice caramel and a fluffy meringue that is lightly torched for a fall dessert that is spectacularly beautiful, delicious, and warm.

This pumpkin cookie is reminiscent of a pumpkin muffin top, it is more cake-like much to the chagrin of true ‘cookie enthusiasts’ but the extra pumpkin called for in the recipe gives these cookies a boost of pumpkin flavor, which I love.

Pumpkin cookies can be enjoyed as is, no need for fussing with toppings if you want a great pumpkin cookie, this recipe fits that bill. I enjoyed two of these pumpkin cookies to be exact and as I was carefully taking notes of each bite, writing down the flavors, textures, and how I felt about them my crazy cookie mind came alive. Truly leaning into my creative brain, I asked myself, ‘How could I make this great pumpkin cookie into a cookie masterpiece? What culinary journey could I embark on using this basic canvas?’

I had some caramel left over in the fridge from a previous recipe that I was saving to whip into fresh cream for a pancake topping for the weekend, but my creative juices were overflowing and I had to compulsively pursue them once again. Let the fun begin.

The caramel I used is canned dulce de leche, the best shortcut to a very thick caramel if you don’t want to make your own. I spiced it up and placed it on top of the cookie. It was glistening, sticky, glorious. But after one bite it was still missing something. Maybe the caramel was too much, or it needed to be balanced somehow and a caramel glaze wasn’t an option. I love caramel too much to reduce it down to a mere glaze, I want a spoonful of caramel or nothing.

I remembered I had made a pumpkin meringue pie several years ago that was a hit. Everything was coming together in my mind. A soft pumpkin cookie, a thick layer of pumpkin spice flavored caramel, a light as air swiss meringue that is torched for just a hint of toasted marshmallow bitterness.

This dessert was a joy to create but eating it can only be described as one of the best desserts I have ever made.

The simplicity of these cookies will have you in awe. They look incredibly complex and fancy but they are very easy to put together. The pumpkin cookies are simple cookie dough base with added pumpkin, the caramel is store bought, and the meringue can be tricky but I have a few tips for you to make it fool proof. These cookies have earned their spot at my Thanksgiving dessert table this year and I cannot wait to make them again.

Love pumpkin cookies? Here is the recipe for my Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies. Check it out!

Why I Love This Recipe

Thick pumpkin cookies, caramel, and torched meringue…what’s not to like?

Appearance-Any type of layered dessert garners a lot of attention. It’s so fun to see contrasting colors and textures and the anticipation of tasting each layer is like a gift just ready to be unwrapped. The layer of meringue that is lightly torched with golden brown edges, is simply show stopping. The deep orange cookie and brown caramel topped with the stark white meringue is a beautiful sight to see and it helps that it also incredibly delicious. These cookies demand an audience and will be a hit at any gathering or party. Maybe even a fun Halloween cookie if pile on the meringue high enough like a witch’s hat. How fun!

Texture-This cookie is soft baked with a moist cake-like texture. The caramel layer is thick and unctuous and pairs well with the feather-light meringue topping. The meringue is lighter than marshmallow fluff, but is denser than whipped cream. If you can imagine a texture between marshmallow fluff with whipped cream, that is what the texture of this meringue is like. It’s so dreamy and the torching on top creates just a faint chewiness to the outer edge of the meringue, reminiscent of a torched marshmallow. I usually like some sort of crunchy component to level out the soft textures in my desserts, but with this cookie I liked it best without. I enjoyed the lightness and airiness of the cookie. Most fall baked goods and desserts can be very hearty and heavy in texture with added nuts, fruits, and crumbles so I opted to keep things light and soft with this cookie. If you would like a crunch or contrasting bite to the cookie, I would recommend a sprinkle of some sort of candied or roasted nuts or pumpkin seeds on top.

Easy Recipe- each component of this cookie is very simple, and it is very easy to layer the toppings on top of the cookies. Fancy doesn’t have to equate to complicated which is why I have already added these to my Thanksgiving dessert table menu.

Fall Cookie Flavor-A combination of flavors and textures that scream, “Fall is here!” It’s a cookie that feels like a Starbucks pumpkin muffin top which is then dressed up in layers as you would decorate a fancy pumpkin pie. A very delicious mashup of fall favorites in my opinion.

Taking pictures in front of a big sunny window will cause the caramel to melt slightly. I’m not complaining.

Ingredients You Need

-Butter- I use unsalted butter that has been sitting at room temperature for an hour.

-Granulated & brown sugar


-Pumpkin Puree

-Vanilla extract


-Baking Soda & Baking Powder

-Salt-for cookie dough. I use kosher salt.

-Pumpkin pie spice


-Egg whites

-Cream of tartar

-dulce de leche caramel

Let’s Make Cookies!

One of the best pumpkin cookies for fall.

The dough for this cookie is quite easy to throw together and only takes about 10 minutes to prepare. After making and scooping the dough, I let it rest in the fridge to firm up before baking. As with most cookies on this blog, letting the dough rest after they have been filled is essential and even more so with a dough that has lots of spices in it such as pumpkin spice and cinnamon. You can bake them after an hour or two of chilling, but they improve in pumpkin spice flavor and texture if you can leave them overnight to chill. You can leave these in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking.

Cream the butter and both types of sugars in a bowl until very creamy. I like to see the butter light in color and fluffy, this usually takes around 3-5 minutes on high speed.

I add in the eggs, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and continue mixing on high for a few more minutes. I like to sift my dry ingredients on top of the bowl then mix on low until it just comes together.

This dough is very soft from the extra pumpkin in the dough. It will firm up in the fridge as it rests.

I scoop the dough with a 3-ounce cookie scoop to get 12 portions of dough.

I chill the dough overnight before baking these cookies. I recommend letting them rest for at least an hour or two in the fridge before turning your oven on to allow the flavors of the pumpkin spice and cinnamon to develop. Also, you can make this easy recipe in advance and freeze the dough. If baking from frozen add 2-3 minutes to your bake time.

I bake these cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheet at 375*F for 12-15 minutes. I look for set tops and sides that look dry with no shine on the top. These cookies will rise quite a bit and look fluffy as they bake. I was able to fit 8 cookies on a baking sheet to bake at a time as they do spread slightly when baked.

I let the cookies cool completely on the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to assemble the toppings. While the cookies are baking and cooling I prepare the toppings.

If you don’t want to fuss with toppings, no problem. These pumpkin cookies are wonderful as is.

**These pumpkin cookies are wonderful as is and can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature if you won’t be adding the toppings. They will stay fresh in a tightly covered container for 3-5 days.**

Pumpkin Spice Caramel

This takes minutes and is laughable at how easy it is to put together. The flavor of the pumpkin spice pairs well with the caramel and this can be used to top cakes, cupcakes, and pumpkin pie.

I scoop out some dulce de leche in a bowl then add in the pumpkin spice and mix well. I set this aside as I prepare the swiss meringue topping.


Swiss meringue is not very hard to make and with a quick Google search, is one of the simplest meringues you can make. All you need is a mixer (stand or handheld) with a whisk attachment, pan of simmering water, egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar.

When I made a meringue topped pumpkin pie a few years ago I added cream of tartar to help the eggs whip and set up, but it also added a slight tang to the meringue which is lovely when you have very sweet elements in your recipe. In this case, the pumpkin cookie and caramel are very sweet, and this meringue will tie everything together into a symphony of yummy flavors.

I whisked room temperature egg whites and sugar in my stand mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water for several minutes until they were foamy and the sugar was dissolved. I like to use a whisk and gently whisk them mixture continuously until the sugar is dissolved. Leaving the mixture sitting on top of the pan of simmering water can lead to cooked egg whites so be sure to move the mixture at all times.

Almost there. The egg whites and sugar are whipping up nicely.

Once the sugar was dissolved I added the cream of tartar and placed the bowl in my stand mixer to whisk on the highest setting. The meringue is done when it is thick, glossy and has stiff peaks. The best way to tell is to take out your whisk attachment and turn it right side up. If the meringue stays upright it is good to go!

I will be torching this meringue so I am aiming for nice stiff peaks as the end result.

The reason why I use the double broiler method with this meringue is to dissolve the sugar so the meringue isn’t grainy and to heat treat the egg whites. There should be no sugar granules left in the egg whites when you start to whip up the mixture.

I know the meringue is done when it is bright white, has stiff peaks, and has a gloss to it. It will resemble a fluffy marshmallow and will taste even better. This can be used as a topping for so many desserts and is so light and fluffy that you will want to put it on everything.


Cookie topping assembly station.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, I layer a teaspoon of caramel on the top, followed by a generous amount of meringue.

A spoonful of caramel on top.

I feel like you could also cover the entire cookie surface with meringue, then when you slice into it you get a caramel and pumpkin cookie surprise inside. I wrote notes in my baking book to try this for Thanksgiving when I make these next so I though I’d share with my readers as well. Also, I think this would look beautiful with a piped meringue on top with a large star tip, for an extra fancy flair.

A generous layer of meringue. I like to use the back of my spoon to create a swirled pattern.

After the meringue is swirled on top, I like to make a swirl pattern on top of these cookies with the back of my spoon, I torch the top of the meringue with my kitchen blow torch.

I mean…COME ON. This cookie is a beauty.

Alternatively, if you do not have a kitchen blow torch (seriously, GET ONE) you can turn your oven broiler on high and place them under the broiler for a few seconds. I would  watch this very carefully as it is very easy to burn meringue under the broiler.

I could not stop eating this cookie once I started. Perfect combination of textures and flavors.

The pumpkin cookies will stay fresh in a tightly covered container for several days at room temperature without the toppings. The meringue will stay fresh for a day (it will lose some of its fluff however the longer it sits in the fridge) in a sealed container in the fridge and the caramel will last for weeks in the fridge. I recommend the cookies that have the caramel and meringue added on top to be enjoyed the day that the toppings are added. The meringue does not have a long shelf life and will need to be refrigerated to stay fresh. This can cause the pumpkin cookie to dry out if you place the cookie in the fridge after assembly and also the meringue will lose some of its thickness. These cookies are so wonderful there shouldn’t be a single one leftover after you serving them.

Cool contrast between the pumpkin cookies, caramel, and meringue.

There you have a very simple but incredibly fancy dessert that captures the warm flavors of fall. Get ready for a plethora of ‘Oohs and Aahs’ and plenty of compliments on these cookies, they are just as delicious as they look!

A cookie made for sharing. Must have cookie for fall and holiday gatherings.


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. Happy Baking!

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel and Meringue

A soft baked pumpkin cookie topped with pumpkin spice caramel and torched meringue. A show stopping dessert perfect to celebrate fall and pumpkin season!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 2 sticks butter unsalted, room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • ½ tspn baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • tspn vanilla extract
  • ½ tspn salt
  • cups flour

Pumpkin Spice Caramel

  • ¼ cup dulce de leche caramel I used Nestle brand
  • ½ tspn pumpkin pie spice

Meringue Topping

  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • ¼ tspn cream of tartar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar


Pumpkin Cookies

  • Cream butter and sugars until pale and creamy.
  • Add egg, vanilla, salt, and pumpkin puree and continue to mix until very creamy.
  • Sift the dry ingredients on top of the pumpkin mixture and mix on low until it just comes together to form a dough.
  • Scoop with a 3 ounce cookie scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375*F and bake 6-8 cookies per baking sheet for 12-15 minutes or until the tops and sides are dry and they don't look wet.
  • Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before adding toppings.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel

  • Combine caramel and pumpkin pie spice until mixed together.


  • Whisk egg whites and sugar over a pan of simmering water. Be sure to whisk continuously to prevent the egg whites from cooking and turning white.
  • When the sugar is dissolved, add the cream of tartar, take off heat and beat on high with whisk attachment until glossy, stiff peaks form.


  • Layer a teaspoon of caramel on top of cooled cookies.
  • Spoon on a generous amount of meringue on top of the caramel topped cookie. I like to make swirl designs with the back of a spoon.
  • Lightly go over the tops of the meringue with a blow torch. You can also use oven broiler on high for a few second to toast the meringue.
  • Serve and stand back for all of the praise people will give you for these wonderful cookies.


Pairing a soft baked pumpkin cookie with pumpkin spiced caramel and a fluffy swiss meringue topping creates a beautiful dessert that combines the best elements of fall flavors in a cookie.
Keyword fall cookies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice cookies

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Chrissy Grundy

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Howdy! I love creating delicious cookie recipes. I enjoy spending time with my kids and husband in Buda, Texas and I am a huge supporter of local Texas producers. I am so happy you are here! Let’s start baking!

Chrissy Grundy

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