Soft and Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies

I had been wanting to use honey in cookies for awhile.

I thought it would pair really well with pumpkin pie spice. I was right.

Soft & Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies (not cakey!) - Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

I don’t know if it was just this recipe, or a if it’s my new oven that I’m still getting used to after moving, or if in general adding honey to cookies makes them puffy, but it sure made these cookies puff right up.

I’ll take it. Because despite their puffy status, which can sometimes mean cakey, these aren’t cakey at all.

Soft & Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies (not cakey!) - Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

They’re moist, supremely soft, with hints of chewiness at the edges, and their flavor is pure fall.

I used pumpkin pie spice in them, rather than pumpkin puree. I have a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies which uses pumpkin puree and it was a hard recipe to nail.

Soft & Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies (not cakey!) - Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

In general, baking cookies with pumpkin puree can turn cookies into little pumpkin cakes, unless you’re using a small amount – under 1/4 cup or so. But at that point, you don’t taste it anyway, and all the flavor comes from the spices. Because on it’s own, I think pumpkin puree is bland and gross.

So I skipped the puree and went with pumpkin pie spice for all the flavor, and none of the potential for cakey cookies.

Soft & Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies (not cakey!) - Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

I used 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice, which is a pretty hefty amount, but it flavors the entire batch of cookies very nicely. They’re robustly spiced, without being overdone. If you are more sensitive to spices, you may wish to dial down the amount.

If you can’t find pupmkin pie spice, it’s usually a blend of about 1 part cinnamon, to one-half part allspice, to one-quarter part each of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

For example, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon each of  ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Give or take. It’s all personal preference. Play around with what works for you, and if you already keep those spices on hand, it’s cheaper to DIY than buy pre-made and you can tweak it to your liking.

Soft & Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies (not cakey!) - Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

I added cornstarch to the dough, my workhorse for creating super soft and supple cookies. I’ve used it in at least 15 cookie recipes, including Lofthouse-Style Soft Peanut Butter Chip Sugar CookiesSoft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil CookiesM&Ms CookiesSnickers CookiesTwix Bar CookiesCaramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Smores Cookies. It never disappoints.

The dough must be chilled before baking, no exceptions. It’s a scientific impossibility to take warm dough and have it bake up into thick, puffy cookies. Warm dough is limp and spreads much more while baking. Chill your dough if you want puffy cookies, period.

They’re like puffy little pillows. Lightweight, supremely soft, delicate, and just melt in your mouth.

Soft & Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies (not cakey!) - Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

The intensity of the pumpkin pie spice, with notes of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves shining brightly, give the cookies such great depth of flavor.

The brown sugar helps keeps them soft and adds a richness of caramel-like flavor.

The flavor of the honey is much more subtle, but it’s there if you look for it. And what it seemingly did for the texture, blew my mind, and I plan to experiment more with it.

If you’re a fan of spice cake, pumpkin, brown sugar cookies, soft gingersnaps or soft molasses cookies, add these little pumpkiny puffballs to your list.

Soft & Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies (not cakey!) - Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

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Soft and Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies

The cookies are moist, supremely soft, with hints of chewiness at the edges, and their flavor is pure fall. The pumpkin pie spice serves to lend a great burst of flavor without being overdone. If you're more sensitive to spices, dial it down, to taste. Because of the honey in the dough, it's a soft, limp dough and must be chilled before baking so your cookies bake up thick and puffy. If you're a pumpkin fan, these easy cookies are an easy way to celebrate fall flavors.

Yield: about 17 medium cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 3+ hours, for dough chilling

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup honey (I used clover from TJs)
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (yes tablespoons, not teaspoons)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste

Directions:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, egg, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes). Do not shortcut the creaming process; make sure dough is very light in color and fluffy, stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the honey, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping two tablespoon mounds (I made 17). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds very slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line baking sheets with Silpats, or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 9 minutes for soft cookies because they firm up as they cool; bake for 9-10 minutes if you like firmer cookies (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 10 minutes while oven preheated, and were baked for 8 minutes). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
  6. Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.

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What do you bake with honey? Have a favorite pumpkin recipe? Links welcome!

   

130 Responses to “Soft and Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies”

  1. #
    51
    Sara — September 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    So I just made the batter now letting them rest. I’m excited to try them!! I also added butterscotch chips tho because I’m ridiculous. I’ll let you know how they come out! So excited!!!!!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 19th, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Omg butterscotch chips in them!!! HEAVENLY! I almost added white choc chips to them but at the last minute I didn’t b/c not everyone is a fan, but either butterscotch, white choc, or cinnamon chips would be so good in them. Hope they turned out amazing for you. LMK!

      Reply

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    Ala — September 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I keep saying that there will be that *one* recipe that will convince me that it’s finally autumn–but I truly think this might be it. We have a friend who gives us fresh jars of honey from his beehives–I’ve been looking for ways to include it in a travel-friendly dessert so he can partake, and I really think this might be it! Bookmarked, Averie~

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 19th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Oh wow, fresh honey from a friend with hives. WHAT an amazing gift that must be to have around. If this recipe is enough of a nudge to convince you fall is here, well, I take that as an honor considering there are apple, pumpkin, etc recipes…everywhere!!

      Reply

  3. #
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    Candy C — September 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    All your recipes are fantastic and I have not experienced a failure yet and I have tried a good portion of them.These are no exception.They are wonderful.One question. Would you consider developing a recipe for pecan rolls? Like sticky buns?The cinnamon roll recipe was heavenly and have made it many times.It has replaced the one that secured me a Blue Ribbon in our county fair.A pecan roll from your creative and talented mind will no doubt be a hit and wonderful for the holidays.I look forward to your posts.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 19th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Hi Candy thanks for such a glowing comment & compliments! So glad you love my recipes & that you’ve never had a fail. That’s wonderful to hear. I really try to make them as foolproof as I can!:) And glad you loved these cookies, too!

      And sticky buns, oh boy, I do have a recipe that I developed that’s amazing. But it will not be out and in stores until fall 2014 & I cannot blog about it :)

      So…I will have to come up with a recipe equally as good as that one. I think I can. It’s actually on my to-do list, sort my own mental bucket list. So we shall see. Thanks for the nudge!

      And that’s amazing that you loved my roll recipe for cinn rolls and that it even replaced your own Blue Ribbon recipe. What an honor. Thank you!

      Reply

  4. #
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    Jayne — September 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    mmm… Thank you for not using pumpkin puree! You’re probably the only one in the million that has popped up this week. I cannot find pumpkin puree in Malaysia. Just a sad fact. We only have kabocha… which in essence is a squash, not pumpkin. I am normally not a soft cookie fan but in my unwell state, this looks toooo inviting. I kinda want one right now.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 19th, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Most American canned pumpkin puree is actually a blend of winter squashes, it’s not really pumpkin. Pumpkin is hard to find (except once a year) and expensive, compared to squash. So the avg can of pumpkin puree IS squash…thus, that’s why I find ‘canned pumpkin puree’ so gloppy and almost gross. It’s canned squash! I like squash, but not in that form—which is where the spices, massively, must come into play to doctor it up :)

      Reply

  5. #
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    Amanda — September 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Hey Averie! Since FB doesn’t like leaving notifications when pages are tagged, I thought I would let you know I featured these on my page yesterday. They look amazing!! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151822826253070&set=a.174654903069.124188.163690253069&type=1

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 20th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks again! Been traveling today and very limited email so sorry for my delay :)

      Reply

  6. #
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    Katy — September 20, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Hi! Made the pumpkin spice cookies last night. Didn’t chill the dough. Added 1/2 cup of oats, 3/4 cup pecans, and placed raisins on top of each cookie in the shape of a star. Cookies came out great!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 20th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      I love that you added oats (good call if you didn’t chill – bulked up the dough I bet) and then the raisins in a star shape. Cute! So glad they came out great for you!

      Reply

  7. #
    57
    Jen @ Fresh from the... — September 20, 2013 at 9:10 am

    These sound so good! I love a puffy cookie, for sure. What an interesting idea to just use pumpkin spice instead of actual pumpkin!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 20th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      Much chewier and less cakey results that way!

      Reply

  8. #
    58
    Jaclyn — September 21, 2013 at 7:28 am

    These look so perfect! Love the honey, pumpkin, spice combo!

    Reply

  9. #
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    Valerie — September 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Oh, but I do love a plump, fluffy cookie! You’re so right about pumpkin purée, it’s unbearably bland (I was always afraid to admit that fact!). :D Brill idea to use actual spices!!

    Reply

  10. #
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    Deborah — September 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    I love pumpkin pie spice, and I love how puffy these are!!

    Reply

  11. #
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    Kathy — September 23, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I was wondering if you had a frosting that will compliment these pumpkin cookies. I have had them with a maple cream cheese frosting but it’s a frosting that needs to harden so it doesn’t get all over the cookies and I can’t see to get it to work with any of the recipes that I have tried. Any thoughts?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 23rd, 2013 at 9:11 am

      This was a new, original recipe from my so when you say you’re had them with a maple cream cheese frosting, you mean you already made them and tried them with that? I hope you enjoyed them!

      I personally didn’t frost them but if you’re looking for a runnier frosting, or you can just tweak it to taste, I would use 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened, about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, tiny drizzle of vanilla and beat until smooth. AS NECESSARY drizzle in milk/cream til you get the desired consistency. LMK what you end up doing!

      Reply

      • Kathy replied: — September 25th, 2013 at 6:53 am

        Actually, I should have been a bit more clear when I first spoke. I have NOT tried your recipe but have tried similar cookies made by a mom in my subdivision who started her own cookie delivery business when her kids when to college. She has since stopped making them and I am trying to replicate the recipe because my family LOVES the cookies. These look and sound very similar, I am going to make them tonight and will report back to you. She frosted them with a maple, cream cheese frosting that was to die for. She stacked them in a beautiful wire basket that was wrapped in cellophane. I’m sure these cookies will be delicious, it’s the frosting that is my issue. We travel to Door County every year for the Fall as a family and she made them for us every year and has since stopped making them. We are leaving in 2 weeks and I am desperate to get this recipe down. I have tried to replicate the frosting but mine never firms up so the frosting ends up getting on the cookies after they have been stacked. It was not a wet frosting, it dried on the outside but has some creaminess on the inside. I will try your frosting and will add some maple extract as well. I will try the recipe as you state and use the frosting that you suggested above. I will post a comment after I have made them. THANK YOU!

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 25th, 2013 at 10:56 am

          Hi Kathy – okay thanks for the details. The info you just gave me with the woman with a cream cheese/maple frosting and what I suggested for you, off the cuff, they are not going to taste the same – butter based vs. cream cheese based. Frosting is one of those things it’s really best ‘developed’ in the mixing bowl. Start with what you know you need to have, i.e. cream cheese, confectioners sugar, maple syrup or extract, and then adjust ratios of things, to taste.

          The cookie recipe I developed on my own as a hybrid of many of my other cookies and glad you think it will remind you of the cookies you have such fond memories of! Keep me posted how things go!

  12. #
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    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — September 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Hmm… I wonder what the pH of honey is? Maybe it’s more acidic, but so it reacted with the baking soda more vigorously. That would cause puffiness, I’d think. These cookies sound delightful. I can’t wait to try them with my Big Island mac nut honey.

    Reply

  13. #
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    Kelly — September 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

    These look absolutely amazing!!! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 24th, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Thanks Kelly and hope you’re doing great! :)

      Reply

  14. #
    64
    Lizthechef — September 24, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I love all things pumpkin – and it is THE flavor of fall for me…

    Reply

  15. #
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    Lizthechef — September 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

    This pumpkin-orange flan is pretty yummy…http://lizthechef.com/2012/10/25/pumpkin-orange-flan/

    Reply

  16. #
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    Kathy — September 26, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Hi Averie,

    Thanks for all of the advice. My final question is will that concoction harden up, cream cheese and confectioners sugar with the maple extract, I’m sure I can replicate the taste, I just need to know what firms up frosting so that it is not loose, so that it hardens on the outside slightly so that it is not crunchy like some frosting can be on the top of cookies but has a somewhat soft consistency on the inside. I appreciate all of your help and suggestions!

    Kathy

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 26th, 2013 at 9:17 am

      Since I haven’t tried it, I don’t know. That’s your job to play around with it and come up with the answers to your own questions :)

      Reply

      • Kathy replied: — September 27th, 2013 at 5:57 am

        ok…..

  17. #
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    Jalesa — September 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Averie,

    I’m an avid follower of Ambitious Kitchen and she highly recommended your blog. I am so excited that she did because I am excited to try so many of your recipes! These cookies are going to be the first of many, I’m sure. They’re going to my husband and best friend in Afghanistan, as it’s not so much “Fall” out there. Hopefully these get them in the right spirit :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 29th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Monique is a great girl and friend! I remember when she started blogging and quickly knew she’d have great success. Thanks for saying you popped over based on her recommendation and I hope you enjoy these cookies and anything else you try. Would love to hear how things go for you after you’ve made them. Stop on back!

      Reply

  18. #
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    Serena — October 5, 2013 at 5:11 am

    I was dying to try this, because I wanted a thick, puffy cookie, and these looked amazing!
    However… after following the instructions (I was NOT going to let these be ruined), they did NOT turn out light & fluffy. The taste is great, but they still flattened quite a bit and are much more dense. (The top is fairly shiny, too, if that means anything.)
    I creamed them for as long as you recommended, making sure it was light & fluffy. I put them in the fridge overnight, and took them out when I turned the oven on to pre-heat. I baked them for 8 minutes. I have an oven thermometer, so I know my temp isn’t off. As far as I can tell, the only thing I did different was put them in a large tupperware dish in the fridge vs plastic wrap. (Hubby works second shift, and I don’t want him accidentally putting something on them in the middle of the night when he gets home!)
    Any idea on what I may have done wrong?? Do you think that overmixing after adding the flour could’ve done it?
    I was so disappointed when these didn’t turn out like yours. :(

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 5th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Ok so my cookies are not ‘lightweight’ like an airy sugar cookie in terms of taste. They are not like ‘lofthouse’ cookies that you’d get at the grocery store bakery with frosting on them – that real light, almost cakey-ish texture. They are not like that. They do have some density so when you say yours aren’t light and fluffy, I don’t necessarily know if they’re different than mine. It’s hard to tell without actually seeing them but you say they flattened quite a bit. I would make sure your baking soda is 100% fresh and your flour – what are you using? If you are using anything other than King Arthur unbleached all-purpose ($5.69 for 5 lb bag with a red stripe at my groc store and at Target), you may want to try some KA flour. It’s the best. It has a higher protein content than Gold Medal, Pillsbury, etc. and gives baked goods some extra rise and puff. That could help you out. Sounds like you really followed the directions…glossy in the middle – could it be that they are a tad underbaked (even by my standards, and I do love underbaked…) but maybe an extra 45 seconds or so could have helped them to rise better and stay puffed? If you have any unbaked dough left, try baking a couple cookies for maybe 9 mins and see what happens. And switch our your flour. I swear by KA. Given everything else – I think that’s your best call. Please LMK how this pans out!

      Reply

  19. #
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    sippitysup — October 12, 2013 at 8:12 am

    This takes the cake, or I mean cookie. I’ve seen a lot of pumpkin this week and this one is a winner. GREG

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 12th, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Awww, thanks Greg! Tis the season for pumpkin overload out there on blogs, that’s for sure :)

      Reply

  20. #
    70
    Eleni — October 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Averie, I loved these cookies! Sadly, I’ve had issues with other cookies that are supposed to turn out thick (I think it has something to do with my extremely inefficient oven, or just that I haven’t figured out how to adjust recipes since moving to a completely different part of the world recently), but these held up quite well! They were nice and chewy but not so much that I got tired, and I loved the amount of spice! They reminded me a bit of gingersnaps, but a bit lightened up since there was no molasses. Definitely writing this out for the recipe box!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 19th, 2013 at 11:49 am

      So glad to hear they stayed thick and puffy for you and that you loved the level of spice. They remind me of a pumpkin-ey version of a gingersnap in a way too, minus the molasses. Glad the recipe is a keeper for you!

      Reply

  21. #
    71
    JP — October 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I wonder if maple syrup could be substituted for honey. It would change the flavor, but would it change the consistency too greatly as well?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 28th, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Although I havent tried it, I think the consistency would be very similar and the recipe would ‘work’; however, yes you’re right, a totally different flavor profile. Maple is much bolder than honey and the cookies will taste different. Still good but different. LMK if you try!

      Reply

  22. #
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    Lexie — December 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Just made these today and they turned out WONDERFUL. So thick and soft and delicious. My favorite kind of cookie. I was worried they wouldn’t turn out right, because my power went out and the oven shut off mid-baking, but it actually just made them have this really beautiful, crackle-y top, so that was a nice surprise. Thanks for the lovely recipe. :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 29th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Sounds like your oven literally held up just with a minute to spare! Well thank goodness it waited just long enough for them to bake and so happy you’re pleased – I love crinkly crackly topped cookies too :)

      Reply

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