Brown Butter "Pumpkin" Chocolate Chip Cookies

Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.
— Leo Tolstoy

Welcome back to Persona Kitchen this week everyone! You may have noticed that I was absent last week from posting my regular recipe. I was busy studying for a state licensing exam for my new job. I took the test earlier this week and… I passed! And like this blog, it was a lot of work but worth it.

Now, with a whole month of craziness behind me, I am very excited to get back in the kitchen and bake some fall recipes! This week on the blog I am sharing my recipe for Brown Butter “Pumpkin” Chocolate Chip Cookies. You may be wondering, why the quotation marks around the pumpkin? The secret is… there is no pumpkin in these cookies!

I will let you in on a little secret: I hate pumpkin. I really have never liked anything pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cakes, pumpkin scented candles and lotions, and most of all, pumpkin spice lattes. There is, however, ONE pumpkin dessert that I surprisingly have always enjoyed and that is a good Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Last year I baked a few desserts for Thanksgiving Day dinner and I wanted to try a Pumpkin Pie because I know that most people like it. However, I just couldn’t force myself to open a can of pre-made pumpkin purée. I did a little research and found an amazing recipe for a Butternut Squash “Pumpkin” Pie recipe from Serious Eats. The recipe uses homemade butternut squash purée and I was blown away! I actually liked a “pumpkin” pie for once! It made me rethink all of those recipes throughout the years that I thought I didn’t like. I realized that it was just the horrible canned pumpkin purée that I didn’t like.

So when I got the idea to do a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, I had to try them with homemade butternut squash purée. And the result, the most delicious, moist, and perfectly spiced “pumpkin” chocolate chips cookies I have ever had! There are a few key ingredients that makes these cookies as amazing as they are.

The first ingredient is of course the Homemade Butternut Squash Purée. It is extremely easy to make and is well worth it. All you do is cut a butternut squash in half and roast it until it’s very soft. You then scoop the insides into a food processor and pulse until silky smooth. And that’s it, Homemade Butternut Squash Purée! This recipe is unique because it uses the butternut squash purée in place of the eggs that you would usually use as a binder in a cookie recipe. I actually got this idea last year when I was trying to experiment with vegan baked goods to give away as Christmas gifts to some family members. I was trying to find egg substitutes and found that you can use certain puréed or mashed-up fruits and vegetables and butternut squash was one of them. I then looked up the approximate number of tablespoons that make up one egg which happens to be three tablespoons. I then just used the equal amounts of butternut squash to replace the eggs. And to my surprise, the substitute actually worked! It did not alter the texture or any other aspect of the cookies.

The next ingredient is browned butter. I use browned butter in a lot of my recipes. It adds nutty/toasty notes to the butter that gives it a more complex flavor than regular butter. I also keep the browned butter melted when I add it to the cookie dough which results in a soft chewy texture that is perfect for these cookies.

The final ingredient(s) that make this recipe amazing is the blend of spices that I developed. I use a simple mix of ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, and ground cloves. The spices are subtle but pair perfectly with the butternut squash and browned butter. I don’t like heavily spiced desserts and I think I found the perfect balance of spice for this recipe.

These Brown Butter “Pumpkin” Chocolate Chip Cookies are truly my favorite version of these cookies I have ever had. Jake and I ate the the entire first batch of these and all within two days! They are perfectly moist, chewy, and full of delicious homemade butternut squash purée. These cookies are sure to please anyone you make them for— even if they’re just for yourself ;).

If you try this recipe be sure to take photos and share them with me over on Instagram @personakitchen. Have a great week everyone!

Brown Butter "Pumpkin" Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 24 Cookies


For the Cookies

  • 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed

  • ½ Cup Granulated White Sugar

  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • 6 Tablespoons Butternut Squash Purée (recipe to follow)

  • 1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour

  • ¼ Baking Soda

  • ¼ Baking Powder

  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom

  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cloves

  • ¾ Cup Dark Chocolate Chunks

For the Butternut Squash Purée

  • 1 Butternut Squash


Make the Butternut Squash Purée

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºf. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

  2. Wash and dry the butternut squash. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon and discard. Using a fork, poke a few holes all around the cut surface of the squash.

  3. Place the squash cut-sides down on the baking sheet. Bake the squash for 1 hour. One the squash is done baking, let it cool down until it is cool enough for you to work with it.

  4. One the squash is cool enough, scoop out the insides and place in a food processor. Pulse the squash until it it is silky smooth and no lumps remain. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The Butternut Squash Purée should keep in the fridge for up to a week or you can put it in ziplock bag with all the air pushed out and it should keep for a few months.

For the Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºf and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a small saucepan, add the butter and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook the butter, swirling around the butter occasionally, until it begins to brown and smells nutty, about five minutes.

  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the melted browned butter, brown sugar, white granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and butternut squash purée until fully combined. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves until evenly combined.

  5. Add the wet ingredients straight into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatular just until combined— do not over mix or else the cookies will become tough.

  6. Add in the chocolate chunks and mix just until evenly distributed.

  7. Using your hands, take a small amount of dough (about 2 tablespoons) and roll in to a loose ball and place onto the baking sheet, spacing the balls of dough about 2 inches apart as the cookies will spread as they bake. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

  8. Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes or until the cookies are just slightly brown around the edges. The cookies will be very puffy and might look a little under-baked, but don’t worry! They are fully baked. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

  9. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container and kept at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the fridge for up to a week.