When the leaves start to turn and there’s a crispness in the air, it’s time for pumpkin-flavored treats to take center stage. Enter the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie with Browned Butter Frosting – a delightful twist on the classic fall cookie. The combination of pumpkin and chocolate chips is already a winner, but the addition of a rich, browned butter frosting elevates this cookie to a whole new level of deliciousness. This combination is to die for!

What’s the Role of Pumpkin in the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie?

Pumpkin isn’t just for flavor; it adds moisture and creates a soft, cake-like texture in the cookies. It also imparts a subtle earthiness that pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the chocolate chips.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with browned butter frosting on a wooden platter

Why Brown the Butter for the Frosting?

Browning butter is a culinary technique that enhances its flavor by creating a rich, nutty, almost caramel-like taste. This depth of flavor complements the tanginess of the cream cheese and the sweetness of the maple syrup in the frosting.

How do you brown butter?

Once you understand the visual and audible queues, browning butter will be a stress-free experience. I promise! First, you put the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Once the butter is fully melted, it will start to boil, making popping sounds. After boiling for a minute the butter will foam up quite a bit, but you can still hear the popping sounds. At this point, you want to stay close and listen to your butter. As soon as the popping noises stop, take the butter off of the heat. You cannot tell through all the yellow foam, but your butter has brown flecks all throughout it. As it cools you will see it, but even before you see it, you can smell a delicious nutty scent. Make sure to fully cool your brown butter before baking with it. If it’s not cool, it will melt the sugar granules and compromise the texture of your frosting or baked treat.

Can Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies be Made Gluten-Free?

Yes, they can be made gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Make sure to choose a blend that’s a 1:1 substitute for regular flour to ensure the right texture. I like to use Bobs Red Mill 1 for 1 Gluten Free Flour

What is in Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting?

Unsalted butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter, you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough and it will result in an over salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough which helps with moistness, flavor & texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your cookies will melt down too fast and spread too much in the oven leaving you with a greasy, flat cookie. If butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your cookies too thick.

Brown sugar

Brown sugar is granulated sugar with a little molasses mixed in. Molasses is a more bitter natural sweetener which actually makes the sugar a bit sweeter than plain granulated sugar. Brown sugar draws more moister into your treat and is more acidic, that means it will help make baking soda react.

Granulated sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter & sugar. It helps add moisture to your cookie and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Egg

Adds both protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick cookies. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters together and help your dough from collapsing.

Vanilla extract

When using pure vanilla extract, it will add the deep rich flavor everybody wants in a treat.

Canned pumpkin

Adds moisture and a gentle pumpkin flavor.

All-purpose flour

Flour builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It is exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods. 

Baking powder

Puffs up your batter instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this it only needs a liquid to react and it is double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with moisture and then again when it is heated up.

Baking soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter. It increases the spread in cookies and gives the crispy outside, soft inside texture everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will make baking soda react are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk, sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, right when its mixed into your batter it will create little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine sea salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so that it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your cookie, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Cinnamon

A seasoning that adds a nice spice to your cookies

Mini chocolate chips

Is a form of dark chocolate. Chocolate chips are not pure chocolate, they are typically made up of cocoa, sugar, emulsifier and vanilla.

Browned butter

Browning butter adds a nutty, rich flavor to your frosting.

Cream Cheese

The base of the frosting, it adds a creamy, tangy note that pairs wonderfully with the maple and pumpkin flavors.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar is just finely ground granulated sugar. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. It also stabilizes & thickens the frosting, thanks to its small amount of cornstarch.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with browned butter frosting on a wooden platter

Chemistry in the Kitchen

The reaction between the baking soda (a base) and the acidic elements in brown sugar results in the release of carbon dioxide, which helps the cookies rise and become light and fluffy. The proteins in the eggs bind the ingredients together, giving structure to the cookies.

Equipment Essentials

A reliable standing mixer makes mixing easier, though a hand mixer can be used as well. A light metal cookie sheet helps in even baking, and parchment paper prevents the cookies from sticking.

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie with Browned Butter Frosting

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
The only way to make a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie even more amazing is by adding a sweet & tangy frosting on top like this browned butter one.

Ingredients 

Cookie

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 1 cup browned butter
  • 8 ounce cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • In a standing mixer combine butter and sugars
  • Mix on medium high for 2 minutes until lighter in color and texture
  • Stir in the eggs and vanilla until combined
  • Add pumpkin to the mixture and stir until incorporated
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, powder, soda, salt & cinnamon
  • Turn standing mixer on low and slowly pour in the dry ingredients. Mix until the dough comes together, be sure to not over mix
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Scoop cookie dough onto a light metal cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake for 12 minutes, or until no longer shiny & fully cooked
  • Let cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before removing

Frosting

  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, place the butter
  • Melt the butter and continue simmering until the butter stops making any popping sounds
  • Cool the butter for 30 minutes
  • In a standing mixer, put the butter & cream cheese in. Mix until combined
  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla, whip until fluffy and fully combined
  • Spread on top of the cooled cookies

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal Carbohydrates: 52g Protein: 3g Fat: 21g Saturated Fat: 13g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 58mg Sodium: 214mg Potassium: 80mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 40g Vitamin A: 3010IU Vitamin C: 1mg Calcium: 48mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.