Pumpkin cheesecake thumbprint cookies

Buttery, crisp shortbread topped with a generous pumpkin cheesecake filling makes these easy cookies a delicious fall treat.

Do you ever open your fridge and think:

“Why the heck do I have half a can of pumpkin and half a block of cream cheese and what am I going to do with either of these things??”

The answer is (obviously!) to make pumpkin cheesecake cookies. Take that leftover pumpkin and cream cheese and blend it all together with some butter, sugar, and flour to make something truly magical. Much better than eating that leftover pumpkin puree with a spoon. 

These cookies are oh so buttery and crispy with a wonderful creamy pumpkin cheesecake center. If you don’t love pumpkin pie, why not whip these up instead?

Ingredients and Process

The base of these cookies is a classic shortbread, made with flour, butter, and sugar. Make sure that your butter is truly room temperature so that it blends well with the other ingredients. A pinch of salt and vanilla add extra flavor.

After mixing together the dough, we’ll start by pre-baking our cookies. You want them to be semi-baked before scooping in the pumpkin and cream cheese mixture to avoid a soggy middle. 

While the shortbread bakes, we’ll make a simple pumpkin cheesecake filling. All we need is pumpkin puree, cream cheese, sugar, flour, and a pinch of salt. No eggs here! You’ll see that my recipe uses half a can of puree and half a block of cream cheese. Feel free to double the recipe if you would like to avoid awkward leftovers. 

The final step is to fill the cookies with a dollop of cheesecake mixture and then bake until set. Your shortbreads will also continue to crisp and brown in the oven. 

Overall, these cookies taste complex but are quite easy to pull together. I know I’ll be munching on them all the way until Christmas!

Other recipes for leftover pumpkin puree:

Other cookie recipes I love:

If you make this recipe, let me know! You can comment below or tag me on Instagram @halicopteraway or #halicopteraway.

 

Pumpkin cheesecake thumbprint cookies

Buttery, crisp shortbread topped with a generous pumpkin cheesecake filling makes these easy cookies a delicious fall treat.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 cookies

Equipment

  • medium mixing bowl
  • Hand or stand mixer
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil

Ingredients
  

For shortbread base

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For cheesecake filling

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Toppings (optional)

  • Walnut halves

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Make the shortbread. In a mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix on low-medium speed until a dough forms. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.
  • Make 1 tbsp-size balls of dough and place them on the baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Using your tbsp measuring spoon, gently press down to create an indent in the center of the cookie. This is where the pumpkin cheesecake filling will go.
  • Place the cookies in the middle rack and bake for 7 minutes. If the indent disappears during baking, gently press it back down while the cookies are still warm and soft.
  • While the cookies are baking, prepare your cheesecake filling. In a mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat together the cream cheese and pumpkin puree until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the flour, salt, and vanilla extract and mix on low-medium speed until incorporated.
  • Spoon the pumpkin cheesecake mixture into the indents, filling then generously. I fill higher than the brim of the indent for extra cheesecake goodness. Gently smooth the filling with your finger as needed.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the filling is set. If you want to add any nut toppings, gently press the nut into the top of filling while still warm.
  • Let cool for a 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. It’s important to use butter and cream cheese that is at room temperature to ensure even incorporation with the rest of your ingredients.
  2. This recipe uses a half block of cream cheese and half a standard can of pumpkin puree. Feel free to double the recipe to use a full one of each.
Keyword cookies, pumpkin, shortbread

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