The Actual Best Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie and Vanilla Bean Milk
Tis the Pumpkin Season and I have been dreaming of creating the perfect chewy (NOT CAKEY) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie. I have tested and tested and tested this recipe and I truly do believe that this is the BEST Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookie on the internet. Dense, fudge-y, perfectly spiced, with pools of chocolate and bits of crunchy salt, and the most pumpkin puree you can pack into a cookie without having it fall apart.
This post is sponsored by Valrhona®.
Bonus Vanilla Bean Milk Recipe! My kids chugged this and so did I to be honest. If you don’t already know, I used to own a milk and cookies bakery in Toronto years ago (RIP Moo Milk Bar). The most popular milk was our Vanilla Bean Milk. Yes, even more than our chocolate milk which is shocking. I have had many emails over the years asking for this recipe. So here it is!
WHY ARE PUMPKIN COOKIES SO CAKEY?
There is a ton of water in canned pumpkin puree and moisture is what gives a cookie that cake-like texture. The water is trapped inside and as it heats, it steams and expands creating a pillowy, fluffy cookie. This is delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I prefer a cookie to be dense and chewy.
THE KEY TO MAKING A CHEWY PUMPKIN COOKIE
Here is the trick: CONDENSE YOUR PUMPKIN PUREE.
Take a can of pumpkin puree and reduce it until the excess moisture evaporates and the pumpkin flavor intensifies. I did this by cooking it in a non-stick pot over medium heat for 10-12 minutes while stirring constantly until it thickened, reduced, and almost began to caramelize. This removes so much of that extra moisture and gives your cookie so much more of that pumpkin flavor and color.
I’ve read recipes that have you blot or drain the pumpkin puree but I find that it doesn’t really give me any more pumpkin flavor. It does remove some of that moisture but you’re still only putting in 1/3 of a cup of pumpkin puree on average for most PCC recipes. This recipe allows you to add 3/4 of a cup of pumpkin puree which is a hell of a lot more.
If you’ve made your own pumpkin puree, COOK IT ANYWAY. Remove any excess moisture you can. You may not need to cook it as long but cook it non the less.
I NEED TO TAKE A BEAT AND TALK ABOUT THIS CHOCOLATE BECAUSE…WOW. IT’S ALSO FAIR TRADE MONTH!
WOOOOW. I used Valrhona’s Oriado 60% which has intense cocoa flavor without a lot of the sweetness. I tested this recipe with many chocolates but this was the only one that hit in the perfect way. A chocolate can make or break a cookie. It needs to balance with the cookie flavors and to not completely overpower them. It’s such a delicious chocolate and I highly recommend it. It melted so gorgeously.
I’d like to also mention that October is Fair Trade Month and Oriado is a certified Fair Trade product. This means that Valrhona is working to create a more equal international trade system by trading fairly with business from developing countries. These cocoa beans come from Peru and the Dominican Republic. Support Fair Trade this month! Valrhona’s Fair Trade Products are 10% right now BTW.
WHY ARE YOU CHOPPING THOSE BEAUTIFUL FEVES!!!!!
When baking cookies, I always try to make sure that I have chocolate in different sizes within each cookie. This is why I chop (very roughly) about 2/3 of the féves and leave the rest whole in this recipe. From big large féves to little shards and bits, you need it all in a cookie to make it successful. Each one melts differently. It also ensures that you have a bit of chocolate in every bite and not just a bite full of chocolate and another with just cookie.
VANILLA BEAN MILK
Here are a few things you need to know to make sure you’re making a good vanilla bean milk:
- THE “MILK”: I use whole milk because that is what our family drinks and loves. You can use UNSWEETENED Almond milk, Oat milk, Cashew milk, Soy milk, etc. The major key here is that it is unsweetened. I would go as far as recommending you make your own instead of store bought. You want to make sure it’s unsweetened so that you can control the level of sweetness going in.
- THE VANILLA BEAN: I used Valrhona’s Norohy Tahitian Vanilla Bean. When I pulled it out of the glass jar my jaw actually dropped. It was heavy, moist, and smelled so sweet. Use a high quality vanilla bean! It really does make or break the recipe.
- THE SIMLE SYRUP: I make simple syrup as a 2:1 ratio (sugar to water) so that I can get in more sweetness without adding a ton of water to the milk. I find that simple syrup is the best to use because I want a very neutral sweetener. Don’t want it to steal the show here!
- COLD STEEPING THE MILK: You’ll want to steep the milk with the beans and the pod for at least 24 hours! This will really bring out the vanilla bean flavor.
MORE ABOUT THE PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE & METHOD
- To reduce the amount of water/liquid going into the cookie, I removed all eggs and vanilla extract from the dough. You don’t need it. TRUST ME. The pumpkin puree acts as a binder and the vanilla totally gets lost.
- Please please please use fresh spices here. The cookie will not have the same amount of flavor if you’re using last years cinnamon. Go buy new spices!
- Cornstarch is used to suck up any excess moisture that might be left in the pumpkin puree. It’s just 2 tablespoons but it makes the difference.
- UNDER BAKE THESE COOKIES! This will also be key in keeping them dense and chewy.
- Don’t forget to salt the cookie. That crunchy flaky salt sprinkle at the end isn’t just to make it look pretty. It’s all about balancing the sweetness with a nice salty crunch.
SHARE YOUR COOKIES WITH ME! I love seeing what you’re making. Please share them on instagram and tag me!
The Best Chew Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
FOR THE CONCENTRATED PUMPKIN PUREE
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
FOR THE PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
- 12 tbsp (170 g) unsalted butter , melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 cup (230 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (67 g) white sugar
- 3/4 cup (170g) CONCENTRATED pumpkin puree , cooled to room temperature
- 2 3/4 cup (330 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp (15 g) cornstarch
- 1 tsp (4 g) kosher salt , Diamond Crystal Kosher salt or else half the amount
- 1 1/2 tsp (4 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp (1 g) ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp (1 g) ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp (<1 g) ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp (1 g) baking soda
- 1 2/3 cup (220 g) Valrhona's ORIADO 60% Chocolate Féves , roughly chop 2/3 of the féves leaving the remainder whole
- flakey sea salt
FOR THE CONCENTRATED PUMPKIN PUREE
- In a medium non-stick pot, bring the pumpkin puree to a light simmer over medium heat.
- Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the puree has thickened and darkened in color, taking care to stir often and then constantly towards the end of the cooking time to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Remove from the pot and spread out on a plate or wide bowl to cool to room temperature. You will not need all of it.
FOR THE PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
- In a large bowl, whisk together the melted and cooled butter, light brown sugar, and white sugar until it has lightened in color, about 1 minute.
- Whisk ¾ cup CONCENTRATED pumpkin puree until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda.
- Add half the dry mixture to the wet mixture and using a rubber spatula, fold to combine. Once the dry mixture is almost fully incorporated, add the remaining half and continue to fold until just combined. Do not over mix!
- Add the chocolate and fold to combine.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a 2-oz disher (ice cream scoop with release. I used Winco size 20), scoop out the cookie dough. Each cookie dough ball is about ¼ cup in size.
- Tightly wrap the sheet pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour or overnight for best results. These can be transferred to a zip-top freezer bag and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F with the rack in the middle position. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place cookie dough balls about 2” apart. Bake for 14 minutes. The key is to under-bake these cookies to keep them dense and chewy.
- Immediately sprinkle a little pinch of flakey sea salt on each as they come out of the oven. Cool and enjoy.
Vanilla Bean Milk
FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
FOR THE VANILLA BEAN MILK
- 4 cups whole milk , Substitutes: unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, soy milk. Homemade is best
- 1 Valrhona's Norohy Tahitian Vanilla Bean
- 2-4 tbsp simple syrup can use more or less. Up to you!
FOR SIMPLE SYRUP
- Combine sugar and water in a sauce pot. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Once all of the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minutes, turn the heat off and allow the syrup to come to room temperature.
FOR VANILLA BEAN MILK
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and using the back of the knife, scrape out all of the seeds. Add the seeds to 1 cup of milk and whisk vigorously to dissolve the seeds. This can also be done with a handheld milk frother.
- Combine the mixed vanilla bean milk with the remaining 3 cups of milk and the vanilla bean pod in a large glass pitcher.
- Add 2-4 tbsp (or more) of simple syrup and whisk to combine. Allow to steep in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
- Enjoy with cookies, make hot chocolate, add to coffee… possibilities are endless.