This recipe combines two of my favorite things. Pumpkin, and Gingerbread cookies. If you know me, you know that Gingerbread Cookies are my absolute favorite. I love them so much that I even have one tattooed on my left hand. If that’s not dedication then I don’t know what is. I firmly believe that Gingerbread Cookies should be enjoyed year round BUT I’m also a firm believer that they taste even better around the Holidays. Now with this Pumpkin Gingerbread Recipe we have another excuse to enjoy these delicious, adorable little gems.
Key Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients
- Butter – Creaming the butter and the brown sugar is the first step in making the sugar cookies. This step, while it may not seem like it does much, is one of the most important steps in this recipe. It is the base for our Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies and will impact the end results overall shape and texture of each cookie. Having room temperature butter will give you the best results – cold butter will not combine as easy. Creaming the butter and brown sugar sugar creates tiny air pockets throughout the mixture which will give the cookie a light, tender texture.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar amplifies the molasses flavor and richness in gingerbread cookies. The deep, deliciously warm flavor helps to not only amp up the flavor but helps result in a soft, chewy texture. The molasses in brown sugar also helps to retain moisture in the cookies so each bite melts in your mouth.
- Molasses – The smell of molasses INSTANTLY makes me think of gingerbread cookies. It was a warm, rich smell. This smell might also remind you of brown sugar which we just learned and of course is the reason why brown sugar has its color and distinct flavor. Not only does molasses play a pivotal role in the flavor of gingerbread cookies but it also helps contribute to the moisture and soft texture of our cookies.
- Pumpkin Puree – These pumpkin gingerbread cookies have the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor. The spiciness of the pumpkin is not overwhelming. Picture a gingerbread cookie but with the subtle hint of pumpkin then the aftertaste of warm pumpkin spice. The pumpkin puree plays with the pumpkin pie spice to create that perfect balance of flavors. not only that but the puree also helps to bind and add structure to our cookies while providing a natural sweetness.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – A little pumpkin spice goes a long way. Pumpkin spice is pumpkin puree’s side kick in this recipe to take classic gingerbread cookies to the next level and pack a subtle but perfect amount of pumpkin spice punch. Pumpkin pie spice consists of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Each of these spices work together to create the warm aroma of everything cozy about the season.
- Flour – Flour effects the overall structure of the cookie dough and finished product. The gluten in flour gives the dough structure and helps to hold the cookies together. The amount of gluten developed in the dough depends on how much it is mixed. The more you mix, the more gluten developed. The more gluten developed, the chewier the cookie. This is why a lot of times recipes advise you not to over mix. To mix just until everything is combined.
Is Molasses Necessary For Cookies?
While molasses can be substituted for other ingredients in various recipes depending on the exact measurements, molasses is key in gingerbread cookies. The deep, rich, warm flavor plays a HUGE role in giving Gingerbread Cookies its unique, delicious flavor.
What Makes Gingerbread Hard Or Soft?
The overall texture of Gingerbread Cookies is heavily dependent on the recipe you’re following. I personally prefer soft and chewy Gingerbread Cookies over hard Ginger Snap style cookies. Another contributing factor to the texture of Gingerbread Cookies is the sugar, fat, and moisture content. The more sugar in a recipe tends to result in softer cookies since the sugar, brown sugar in our case, tends to retain moisture better. The butter in this recipe also contributes to the soft, tender, chewy texture as well as the molasses. All of the ingredients in this recipe help to work together to create a deliciously soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookie.
Aside from the ingredients in the recipe contributing to the texture of our Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies, the thickness that the cookie is rolled out too also plays a pivotal role. I roll out my Sugar Cookies AND my Gingerbread Cookies to 1/4″ thick. This ensures that they have a fluffy, soft, cakey center with a perfectly, slightly crisp bottom.
If you’re interested in my Sugar Cookies or learning more about Royal Icing, check out my Royal Icing Sugar Cookies Master Guide. In this Master Guide I take you through everything you need to know about decorating cookies and how to begin as well as taking you through every step.
How To Store Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies
Because this recipe yields deliciously soft Gingerbread Cookies, it’s best that they’re enjoyed fresh. If you’re making them ahead of time for an event, store them in ziplock baggies or airtight containers up to one week. It’s important to note that if you’re storing them, allow the royal icing to set overnight before stacking the cookies to prevent the icing from smudging. These cookies can last sealed in the fridge up to a week, and sealed in the freezer for up to 2 months.