Supremely soft and chewy pumpkin sugar cookies frosted with a thick layer of brown butter cream cheese frosting!
This past weekend I celebrated my twenty-eigh–I mean, eighteenth birthday! 😉 😉
So instead of making myself a cake (because making your own birthday cake is just really sad), I decided to make these!
There’s so much wonderfulness packed into these little cookies! Hence the embarrassingly long name.
To get that perfect balance of softness to chewiness, I added cream cheese to the dough. I’ve done this before in other cookie recipes, and it also seems to amp up the butteriness of the cookie.
As for the star ingredient–pumpkin–I added just enough to remind your tastebuds of the wonderfully warm feeling of fall (sounding a little too Martha Stewarty) without making the cookie overly cakey. Pumpkin helps to keep the cookies moist, yet it can also turn your cookies into mini cakes if there’s too much of it.
Now to the good stuff…the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.
Did you ever believe such a thing could exist???
We’ve all had the traditional cream cheese buttercream, but when you add the nutty, toasted flavor of browned butter to the party, magic happens…in your mouth. Browned butter + Cream Cheese + Sugar = Insert your own Utopia. And it’s not as difficult to make as you might think. In fact, I’ve got the step-by-step photo instructions to help you out! You’re welcome.
Not only does the buttercream compliment the pumpkiny sweetness of the cookie really well, it just looks so purty with the billions of browned butter bits swirled throughout. I decided to forgo the sprinkles (just this once!) as to not cover up those perfect, flavorful bits.
As you can see, I like my cookie to frosting ratio to be 1:1. Meaning, the layer of frosting MUST be just as thick as the cookie. After all, that’s the only proper way to frost a cookie.
Warning: Brown butter cream cheese frosting can be highly addictive. Try to exercise extreme caution when handling this substance.
To make the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. As the butter melts, it’ll start to foam, then turn a clear golden color. Continue to stir the butter, scraping up any browned specks from the bottom of the pan as it starts to brown. It should have a nutty aroma. Once browned, pour butter to a shallow bowl and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until it’s solid and thoroughly chilled.
Scrape the butter out into the bowl (make sure to get all those wonderful bits of browned butter that sank to the bottom) of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about 1 minute until lightened up and creamy.
Add the sour cream, vanilla, salt, and 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until smooth.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup granulated sugar + 2 Tablespoons (divided)
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon sour cream or greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, divided into 8 pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy. Add the pumpkin, 1 cup granulated sugar, powdered sugar, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Gradually stir flour mixture into wet ingredients until dough comes together.
- Place remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar into a small bowl. Roll dough into balls about the size of a golfball and place on the baking sheet. Repeat process with more dough until you have 10 or so balls spaced at least 2 inches apart. Coat the bottom of a glass with cooking spray, dip in the sugar, and flatten each dough ball to about 1/2-inch thickness. It's okay if the cookies form a rim on the edges. Spray more cooking spray on the bottom of the glass between batches, if needed.
- Bake cookies for 7-9 minutes or until tops look mostly dry around the edges, yet still glossy in the center--no browning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. As the butter melts, it'll start to foam, then turn a clear golden color. Continue to stir the butter, scraping up any browned specks from the bottom of the pan as it starts to brown. It should have a nutty aroma.
- Once browned, pour butter into a shallow bowl and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until it's solid and thoroughly chilled.
- Scrape the butter out into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about 1 minute until lightened up and creamy. Add the sour cream, vanilla, salt, and 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until smooth.
- Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition to prevent any lumps. Add the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar, and beat for about 2 minutes until fluffy.
- Spread frosting onto cooled cookies. Allow frosting to set (dry) before stacking or covering in plastic wrap. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to one week.