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Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

9 things you may or may not know about me & my kitchen:

1. I run. Even when no one is chasing me. Matter of fact, as soon as I’m done here, I’m going out for a run.

2. I hate shopping for food when the refrigerator is nearly empty. I get overwhelmed by the lack.

3. My 3 least favorite words to hear out of my children’s mouths are “I’m still hungry.” When I just finished feeding them nearly everything in the refrigerator. Which is now empty. Because of them. Please see #2.

4. I think the secret to good parenting is not necessarily patience (which I have sometimes in very short supply). It’s honesty. Like, “I’m cranky. Be scarce or I might say something I’ll later regret. It’s not your fault.”

5. I seem to be categorically unable to appreciate reality TV. This failure to appreciate it makes me feel a bit old. I am 39. Not really old.

6. I don’t have a slow cooker, and I don’t want one. Even if you offered me one for free. I’m fast, not slow.

7. I do love to watch QVC. I am in awe of the marketing genius. They make you buy things, and then call them to thank them for taking your money.

8. I love to have sharp knives in the kitchen, but when I first get them sharpened, I cut myself every single day for about a week. Then I hit the sweet spot, and it lasts for months. That first week is like a bloodbath.

9. Two of the most often used tools in my kitchen are my spring-loaded ice cream scoops and my kitchen shears. If you don’t have at least a couple ice cream scoops, you really should buy one (or two). For everything from filling cupcake liners to making soft pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to serving rice. Kitchen shears are for, well, everything else.

Semi-Pro Tip #1: If you don’t have any ice cream scoops, start with a #70 scoop (1 3/8-inch bowl, 2 tablespoon capacity) and a #24 scoop (nearly 2-inch bowl, 3 tablespoon capacity). The numbers of the scoops refer to the number of level scoops it takes to fill a 32 ounce container. The lower the number, the larger the scoop.

So when are we going to get to these soft and beautiful Fall cookies? Now.

These cookies are soft and light, with a nice, deep pumpkin flavor (don’t skimp on the pumpkin pie spice!). They’re a great way to flex your Fall-baking muscles. If you don’t have any of those ice cream scoops (I used the #70 here), just make do with 2 spoons. You’ll smooth them out with wet fingers anyhow. Don’t let a no-scoops-kitchen keep you from making these sweet little cookies. Matter of fact, don’t let a lack of pumpkin pie spice keep you from them, either.

Semi-Pro Tip #2: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice in the pantry, make some! For homemade pumpkin pie spice, combine 2 parts ground cinnamon + 1 part  ground ginger + 1/2 part ground allspice + 1/2 part ground nutmeg.

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 24 cookies


2 cups (280 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

7 1/2 ounces (1/2 can) solid packed pumpkin

1 extra-large egg at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 ounces miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine, working out any lumps. Add the butter, pumpkin, egg and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition.


  • In a separate small bowl, combine the chocolate chips with the cornstarch, and toss to coat. Add the chips and cornstarch to the pumpkin dough mixture, and mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter. It will be thick but soft.

  • Scoop the dough by the rounded tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheet, placing the dough about 1 1/2-inches apart. With very wet fingers, press each piece dough down into a flat disk about 1/4-inch thick. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until the edges are lightly golden brown and the tops are set.

  • Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


P.S. Please pick up a copy of My Cookbooks, if you haven’t yet. I can’t keep the blog going without your support! And anyway, big rewards coming (hopefully tomorrow!) for anyone who preorders Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy!

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  • Ocfever01

    Do you have to add xantham gum in

  • Jennifer S.

    Ok – I LOVE LOVE LOVE your pumpkin chocolate chip bars from the first book (yes I almost ate them all myself, over a few months but still – so dang yummy!) so I’m excited to see this recipe. I just bought a ton of pumpkin from Sam’s club so here we go!! :)

    Can’t wait to your 2nd cookbook arrives at my door step — soon right, PLEASE?

    • gfshoestring

      Those bars are a favorite of my husband’s too, Jennifer. No shame in eating them all yourself over time! Hold onto that pumpkin. We’ll be using it all Fall!
      Cookbook #2 should be very soon. The release date is October 16, which is the date it is shipping from the warehouse to stores and online outlets, so from there it’s all just transit. You should safely have it in hand well before the publication date of November 6. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Gfmom3

    I love my scoops – I have 7 different sizes. I bought two number 70 so my children could do the work.

  • Faith

    Anyone know if it would be ok to sub the flour for almond flour? I really want to try these recipes, but I use almond flour.

    • gfshoestring

      No, Faith, you can’t. Almond flour has a completely different chemistry. I’d suggest a site like Elana’s Pantry, where she bakes primarily with flours like coconut and almond flour.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Heather Ordover

    Thank you for explaining the scoops!!! Alton Brown lauds the scoop but I could never find the numbers on the ones I came across. Now armed with actual measurements I will prevail!
    And I join you in your response to reality tv. You can always listen to ChopBard podcast for a little Shakespeare or CraftLit for a little classic lit. We’re about to start *Jane Eyre* and I’d love to know I was able to give you something back for all the wonderfulness you give to us.

    Have already pre-ordered and am sending all my GF friends here and to Amazon as well.
    Thank you so much!

    • gfshoestring

      You bet, Heather. Not all scoops have the numbers on the bottom (some scoops for home cooks have just small-medium-large on them), but you can find the numbered ones in restaurant supply stores and chef-centric stores like Sur la Table.
      ChopBard and CraftLit sound awesome. I’ll have to check them out! I tend to have NPR on all day long, but sometimes on the weekends I don’t love some of the programming. Thanks!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Becca Carroll

    My kids think t hey need to eat all the time, too. Like, 3 meals a day plus snack. Where do they get these crazy ideas? This is why we never have food.

    • Jennifer S.

      Word sister!

    • gfshoestring

      Seriously, Becca. If you figure it out, be sure to give me a shout! ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • kclark

    Oh how you make me smile.  I don’t like QVC (gasp) and the only two reality shows that I like are Amazing Race and Survivor, not a fan of the Bachelor, etc.  Anyway, I recognize, and empathize with, all your other lovely attributes!

    We also love the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars from the 1st book. I take them to GF newbies to show them that life won’t suck!

    I can’t wait to make these! 

    • kclark

      Oh and I love the semi-pro tips and the tips on kitchen gadgets like scoops.  Very helpful.

      • gfshoestring

        So glad you like the Semi-Pro Tips. I’ll keep doing ’em!
        xo N

    • gfshoestring

      Oh come on, Kristi, you can’t possibly have given QVC a chance, then! I can’t watch it for more than about 15-20 minutes at a time, but it’s fun to watch them … operate.
      xoxo Nik

  • Marcy

    I’m new to GF. My daughter found your blog for me and I’m hooked. Already bought your first book and today I ordered Better Batter for both of us. Thanks for all you share. It is appreciated.

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Marcy, Welcome to GF – and to Shoestring, then! It sounds like your daughter is taking very good care of you, and you of her. So nice to hear. I hope you’ll keep coming back – and thank you for your support of the cookbooks!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Is it possible that your spies are hanging out in my kitchen again? I have a half a can of pumpkin I need to use up, and I looked in your first cookbook this morning and saw two awesome recipes that required more than I have on hand. And now, here is a delicious looking recipe using two of my favorite ingredients in the world – pumpkin and chocolate :) Thanks Nicole! Your spies are welcome in my home anytime.

    • gfshoestring

      Give my spies a cookie, would you? They’re hungry, Dana. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • P.S. I can’t stand reality TV either :) And my slow cooker has never been used, ha!

    • gfshoestring

      The slow cooker people are going to let us have it, Dana. ;)
      xoxo Nicole


    I too, don’t
    understand reality TV. It’s sad how stupid people will act on TV (I hope it’s
    acting) and it’s even sadder that others will watch it. So, so sad….
    On a happier note,
    I purchase both of your books recently. I checked your first cookbook out of
    the library three times so my DH suggested I should just buy the book (I’m
    cheap, what can I say?). That made me happy. So then I purchase both of them so
    now I am even happier. Why the hold-out for my happiness (besides being cheap)?
    I am new to GF baking so wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with Better
    Batter, other flour blends, or make my own. Personally I have found out EVERY
    TIME I use Better Batter flour it has wonderful results so why mess with success?
    Speaking of success, your recipes rock!! Love, love, love them!!  Please put me down as a pre-order for your
    third cookbook!     


    • gfshoestring

      Wow, June! You’re totally on board. I am, in fact, working on a Book 3. It will be Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, and should be out at the end of 2013. I’ll be sure to hurry up! So glad you’re feeling good about Better Batter, too.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Frenchkitcheninamerica

    Just what I was looking for. The weather has turned cold here, and all I want is pumpkin.

  • Marcy

    These came out great, cakey and flavorful. As a newbie, can they be frozen? Your book comes tomorrow
    , so I should have more answers to my GF questions.

    • gfshoestring

      Yes, they can definitely be frozen, Marcy. Just don’t put them in the refrig! They’ll dry out. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • I can’t wait to make these! :)

  • Sounds delish. Do you think I would be able to substitute half the butter with unsweetened applesauce to cut down on the fat a little bit? I’ve done this successfully with cakes and bread, but not with cookies!

  • Lynell

    I can not wait to try these.  By the way, there’s nothing wrong with you for not liking reality TV.  I’m 31, and I believe it will be the downfall of our civilization…  ;)

  • I run, too, Nicole! I have been running for only 18 months, but sometimes I have to catch myself when I do an internal swagger along the lines of, “I can eat these chocolate pumpkin cookies because my calorie burn is so high.” I had a funny dream last night in which I was running the NYC marathon. I was amazed at how good I felt, how tired I did not feel, but oh, how I needed a bathroom break (story of my life).

    • gfshoestring

      I know that swagger, Farida. I live that swagger. ;) I’m not sure if that was a good dream or not. If you were flying in the NYC marathon, now that would be a great dream. I love flying dreams!
      xoxo Nicole

      •  Nicole, I realized I left off the “funny” part. A lady older than me guided me to the men’s bathroom (it was in Central Park, and there were no portapotties there) and said, “It’s okay! There are no lines here.” What’s so funny about that? you may wonder. In real life, I feel awkward/brave/skittish when I use the men’s bathrooms. I love flying dreams, too, by the way. xo, Farida

  • Melanymoody

    I think you are fabulous! Thank you for showing me that I can be gf and still have cake (which, btw, is my favorite four-letter word; well maybe it’s a tie). Cheers and I look forward to reading your cookbook.

    • gfshoestring

      Aw, thanks, Melany! Personally, I refuse to choose one favorite 4-letter word. But cake is definitely up there. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pingback: Pumpkin Addiction: Round-up plus a Recipe | celiac kiddo()

  • Kristine Gray

    Just made these tonight for a Pumpkin Pig Out Party. They are great!

    • gfshoestring

      I can’t believe you had a Pumpkin Pig Out Party and didn’t invite me. Sounds like so much fun, Kristine!
      xoxo Nicole

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