This warm and comforting recipe for Sourdough Pumpkin Cookies is the perfect way to welcome Fall weather! Made with canned pumpkin puree, discarded sourdough starter, and a few pantry staples, this easy sourdough cookie recipe is sure to satisfy!
As soon as the calendar turns to September 1st, it’s Fall in my mind! Even if the cool, crisp weather hasn’t hit yet. Even if the leaves haven’t started to turn green. It’s pumpkin, apple, and cozy sweater season and I don’t care what anyone has to say about that!
These sourdough pumpkin cookies are the perfect way to welcome Fall weather, be it in reality or in spirit. If you’re the kind of person who craves pumpkin all year long, you’re going to want to keep this easy recipe on hand.
Reasons to Love This Recipe:
- It uses discarded sourdough starter – so nothing has to go to waste!
- It’s a great way to weave together the flavors of Fall with your passion for sourdough.
- It’s a kid friendly recipe, and not overly sweet. Perfect for dunking into a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.
- Uses less than half of a can of pumpkin, leaving some leftover for making sourdough pumpkin muffins or adding to a homemade pumpkin spice latte.
- Pumpkin puree: You’ll need about 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree, which is less than half of a can. You can use the rest of your can for making sourdough pumpkin muffins, or homemade pumpkin spice lattes.
- Sourdough discard: You can use leftover starter that has just been discarded, or you can use some that has been stored in the fridge. You can even use active starter, your cookies will just be a tad puffier.
- Sugars: You’ll need a combo of granulated sugar and brown sugar. This creates the perfect balance of flavor and sweetness.
- Spices: All the comforting fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
- Butter: Of course you need butter! You’ll want your butter to be room temperature and softened so it easily creams with the sugars.
- Egg: Just a single egg is all you need for these pumpkin cookies.
- Baking basics: Like baking powder, salt, vanilla, and flour.
For the Cinnamon Frosting
While the cinnamon frosting is optional, I highly recommend it. It adds a pleasant sweetness and perfectly compliments the sourdough pumpkin cookies. You could also use a cream cheese frosting if you prefer.
- Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar, this is VERY different from granulated sugar and can’t be substituted.
- Melted butter: Adding a touch of butter to the icing improves the flavor and silkiness.
- Milk: Just enough to moisten the powdered sugar and form a pourable icing.
- Cinnamon: A bit of cinnamon added in adds color and flavor to the otherwise plain icing.
How to Make Sourdough Pumpkin Cookies
Start off by preheating the oven to 350ºF and lining two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice to a medium sized bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside.
Add the butter, sugar, and brown sugar to a large bowl with a hand mixer OR the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the butter and sugars are creamed together and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
Once the butter and sugars are creamed together, add in the vanilla and egg. Mix well on medium speed to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Add in the pumpkin puree, and mix just until thoroughly combined.
Adding the Sourdough Starter
Finally, add the discarded sourdough starter and mix just until it comes together. Scrape down the edges of the bowl and mix until mostly uniform.
Add the dry ingredients into the bowl of batter, and fold everything together gently just until all of the flour is absorbed.
Baking the Cookies
Use a cookie scoop or heaping tablespoon to portion out dough onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Space the cookies 2″ apart, with about 12 cookies on a standard sized sheet.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the very edges are just beginning to brown. Most of my cookies took 16-17 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring the sourdough pumpkin cookies to a wire cooling rack.
Fill the other prepared baking sheet with dollops of cookie dough and rotate the two sheets until all of the dough is used up. You should have about 36 cookies in total (3 batches into the oven).
Making the Cinnamon Frosting
As the cookies cool, you can prepare the cinnamon frosting. It’s a really easy one bowl process, so no worries!
Add the powdered sugar, melted butter, milk and cinnamon to a medium sized bowl. Whisk everything together until super smooth.
Once the icing has come together, transfer it into a squeeze bottle (I like these ones) OR cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside.
Frosting the Cookies
Once the cookies are cooled to room temperature, you’re ready to frost the cookies! I suggest doing this on the wire rack, but placing it inside of a baking sheet so it catches all the frosting drips.
I like to use a squeeze bottle to accurately squeeze a zig zag pattern, but you can use the back of a spoon to get a similar effect.
Repeat the zig zag pattern until all the cookies have been frosted. You will likely have a bit of frosting leftover, which can be stored in the fridge for a few days to use on another treat (like Sourdough Pumpkin Muffins, Sourdough Pumpkin Bread OR Amish Cinnamon Bread!)
- Using a cookie scoop to make cookies is the BEST way to get uniform, evenly baked cookies. I started using them a few years ago and I’ve loved the results!
- Cookies always taste better when stored at room temperature, but you’ll get a longer storage time if you keep them in the fridge.
- Parchment paper is a great way to make cleanup easy and prevent your cookies from sticking. I’ve tried silicone liners, greasing the pan, and all the tricks, but parchment works flawlessly.
- If you have leftover pumpkin, you can freeze the puree in silicone trays (like Souper Cubes) to thaw and use in your favorite baked goods (or homemade lattes) later.
Storing Your Cookies
If you can store your cookies at room temperature, I highly recommend it. They will be softer for longer, and tend to taste better. They will store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
For longer storage, keep your cookies in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-7 days. And of course, for the longest storage, add to a gallon sized freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- 2 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon allspice (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- ½ cup butter, softened (salted)
- 1 cup granulated cane sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
- ½ cup sourdough starter discard
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine,
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, OR a large bowl with a handheld mixer, add the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed.
- Add in the egg and vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Then, add in the pumpkin puree and mix again.
- Add in the sourdough discard and mix just until combined.
- Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until the batter starts coming together. Then, fold everything together by hand using a silicone spatula. Once the flour has been absorbed and there are no large lumps, you can stop folding.
- Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing your cookies at least 2” apart. (**Note: If the batter appears to be runny or loose, chill the batter in the fridge for 30 minutes first).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the centers are set and the very edges are just beginning to brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie rack for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
- Repeat the baking process with any remaining cookie dough.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely to room temperature. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze.
- Add the powdered sugar to a medium bowl. Add in the cinnamon and whisk to combine.
- Add in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla and stir until completely smooth.
- Drizzle the icing on cooled cookies using a fork or icing bottle, and allow it to harden by resting at room temperature.
- Once the icing has hardened, transfer the cookies to an airtight container for storage.
- Store at room temperature for 2-3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Cream Cheese Frosting: If you prefer, you can drizzle or spread the cookies with your favorite cream cheese frosting.
With Active Starter: If you only have active starter, you can use them in these cookies too. They might be a bit more "puffy" but the recipe will work!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1 Cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.
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