I cannot leave well enough alone. As soon as I think I’ve found my chocolate chip cookie recipe, another one saunters across my computer screen singing its siren song. It drives my husband crazy, because the only recipe he wants is from his Alpha-Bakery cookbook (circa 1987). But I need more excitement in the baked goods department, which is how these voluptuous pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies found their way into my life.
The inspiration for these came from half a cup of leftover pumpkin purée and a mashup of two of my favorite cookie recipes. Back when I was testing recipes for The Kitchn Cookbook, I fell head over heels for the chunky chocolate cherry oatmeal cookies. Not too crisp and not too cakey, they were dense, chewy, and hearty enough to masquerade as a meal. But the best part was no stand mixer was required — just a large bowl and a wooden spoon.
But it was just a casual fling, and so I continued on my cookie-making way, which is what brings me to my current flame, a copycat recipe for the chocolate chip walnut cookies from NYC’s Levain Bakery. After hearing enough chatter about how big, tall, and amazing these cookies were, I knew I needed to give them a try.
I compared quite a few versions before settling on this one from Chez Cately Lou by way of Brown Eyed Baker. There were a few things that made me fall hard for this recipe: First, the recipe calls for bread flour, which I like, because I happen to have a lot of extra bread flour right now. Also, you plop giant fistfuls of dough right onto the pan, no measuring or forming into balls required. (“Rustic" is my middle name!) Finally — and this is the kicker — these get so much better the next day. I love a cookie right out of the oven as much as the rest of you, but my favorite time to eat cookies is while waiting for my morning coffee to brew. So if the leftover cookies actually get more delicious overnight, then I’m in trouble come 7 a.m.
So what happens when you take the best of those two recipes and throw pumpkin into the mix? Autumn awesomeness, if you ask me! I had high hopes for these cookies, but they seriously went above and beyond. They have this incredibly soft texture, but are still quite substantial. Also for some reason, I couldn’t help but think of marshmallows — Rice Krispy treats in particular — every time I took a bite.
I’m really excited to share this recipe with you guys. But whatever you do, please don’t think of these cookies as a compost bin for pumpkin purée, because they are so much more. In fact, these are worth opening the can for, and figuring out what to do with the leftovers later!
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter for 45 seconds. (This is just enough time to liquify most of the butter, but not heat it.) Stir with a fork to finish melting. (If you don’t have a microwave, melt on the stovetop until almost melted, but not quite. Remove from heat and continue stirring to cool.)
Combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Add the pumpkin purée, egg, and vanilla, and stir until blended. Add the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and mix until almost combined, with a little bit of flour still visible. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
Grab a handful of dough (approximately 3 1/2 ounces) and place on a large plate or sheet pan; the mounds should be tall and craggly. (You should get 8 or 9 dough balls.) Freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Transfer half of the dough balls to the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches around each one. Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, until light golden-brown, but still a little soft-looking on top (err on the side of underdone; do not overcook, as the cookies will continue cooking while cooling.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack or large platter for another 4 hours to allow the cookies to completely set and develop their flavors. Repeat with the remaining dough.
These cookies keep beautifully in an airtight container for up to 5 days.