Friday, October 22, 2010

Chocolate Fudge Pumpkin Cookies with Easy Pumpkin Glaze from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, crazy for pumpkin
and author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries

Today's recipe is worthy of a sleuth...

Why? Because although these decadently declicious chocolate cookies have the flavor and texture of fudge brownies, they are lower in fat than a typical cookie. An entire can of pureed pumpkin takes the place of shortening in the recipe, which means it also brings iron, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E to this Halloween party.

Here's how the recipe came about. A few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for Chocolate Hurricane Muffins. (Click here to get the recipe in a PDF format). These quick-and-easy muffins are made by adding mashed bananas (along with a few other ingredients) to a cake mix starter. The bananas add nice flavor while also cutting down on the amount of fat.

Although I do have a
pumpkin-colored cat named
(you guessed it) Punkin',
the feline star of this pic is
Mr. Fellows, my in-house editor.
One of my Coffeehouse Mystery readers (Sue) liked my muffins and dropped me an e-mail about another recipe that uses a chocolate cake mix starter: Weight Watcher Chocolate Pumpkin muffins.

To make these 2-ingredient muffins, you mix one box of chocolate cake mix with one 15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin. That’s it. The recipe sounded odd, but I gave it a try anyway. The muffins were a little heavy for me, and I thought it would work better in smaller bites so I adapted it into today's fudge brownie-like drop cookie.

And there you have it, the origin of today’s healthier Halloween recipe. With thanks to Sue and Weight Watchers for the inspiration: It's a treat that’s not a trick to make (as long as you have a can opener).


To save this recipe in an easy PDF form that you can print or share, click here.


1 box (18.25 ounces) of Devil’s Food cake mix
1 can (15 ounces) pureed pumpkin (100% pumpkin and not pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or equivalent of chopped chocolate)
Cleo’s Pumpkin Glaze (recipe below)

Step 1 – Make Batter: First pre-heat oven to 350º F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray or grease with oil or butter. (For best results, do not use parchment paper. The cookie batter needs to feel the full heat of the baking pan.) In a mixing bowl, combine entire box of cake mix with canned pumpkin and vanilla. Do not add any additional liquid. Gently stir, working the canned pumpkin into the cake mix until a blended, wet batter forms. (This may take a minute but trust me, it will work.) Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.

Step 2 – Drop and Bake: Drop batter by tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in a well pre-heated 350º F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over-bake. Cookies should be a bit soft and gooey in the center. While warm, they will be very soft on the outside, as well. Allow them to cool on the pan a few minutes and then transfer carefully to a rack to finish cooling. (They will always be somewhat soft because these are gooey fudge brownie cookies, not hard and crunchy cookies.)

Step 3 - Decorate: Finish with a drizzle of Cleo’s Pumpkin Glaze (recipe below).

A NOTE ON STORING: Because pumpkin takes the place of shortening in these cookies, they are best eaten within a day or two. Store in refrigerator.



2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (*see note below to make your own)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Food coloring (orange OR red and yellow to make orange)
2 cups powdered sugar

Step 1 - In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and food coloring. Heat slowly, stirring until butter melts. At no time should this mixture simmer or boil.

Step 2 - Add the powdered sugar and stir until it all completely melts into the liquid. Whisk to remove any lumps and blend into a smooth, thick glaze. If the glaze is too thick, whisk in a bit more water.

Step 3 - While the glaze is still warm, use a fork to drizzle it over the cookies. As the glaze cools, it will harden. If the glaze hardens in the pan, simply return the pan to the stovetop and warm the glaze while whisking. If needed, add a bit more water to thin the glaze back to the right consistency for drizzling.

*SPICE NOTE: Pumpkin pie spice is available in most grocery store spice sections. To make your own, simply mix the following ground spices for 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice: ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.


(a little early...)

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

A Coffeehouse Mystery

The national bestseller
in hardcover
is now on sale in
to paperback!

To get more of my recipes,
win free coffee, or learn

about me and my Coffeehouse Mysteries, visit my *virtual* coffeehouse at:


"Fun and Gripping"
~ The Huffington Post

"Some of the most vibrant characters I've ever read. Coyle also is a master of misdirection...I challenge any reader to figure out whodunit before Coyle reveals all."
~ Mystery Scene magazine 

“Coyle's coffeehouse mysteries (Espresso Shot, etc.) are packed with believable characters and topped with serious coffee lore and holiday recipes. This one will keep your cup piping hot.” ~ Kirkus 


  1. Oooh, scrumptious! I'm always looking for healthier treats & these sound tasty. But I'm pretty sure it's the decadent glaze that seals the deal!

  2. Those look delicious! I'm definitely going to be trying this recipe :-)

  3. yummy...pumpkin is incredibly versatile, isn't it?
    I have started using it in my chili recipe for some added health benefits. I was surprised that even using a full can I couldn't taste I loved the idea of adding it to cookies!!! As a former kindergarten teacher I also give you kudos for your color mixing!!! You and Mr. Fellows also did a great on the pumpkin!!!

  4. WOW! I can't wait to try these cookies. I have a party to go to Saturday night, and I know they will be a hit. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  5. Thanks for sharing. Since my daughter is allergic to eggs this will be perfect for her.

  6. First you had me at chocolate fudge, then at pumpkin, then at pumpkin again! Did you know there is such a thing as pumpkin fudge? It is INCREDIBLE! You can (and I have) eat yourself sick on it! I will HAVE to make these cookies...just as soon as I get back from Disney World. I do have my priorities~~Nurse JudyMac

  7. I *love* the idea of pumpkin cookies! And that glaze looks to die for. :)

  8. First, Cleo, do you know about ???

    You always have the best photos. that last shot with the cooling cookies and the pumpkin in the background is terrific!

    These are beautiful cookies, perfect for the season (as well as Thanksgiving time)! i just made a batch of cookies, but these will be scheduled next!


  9. I can't wait to try these, but I also want to try the weight watchers muffins! Keep the great books and posts coming!

  10. Ooh, Cleo! Great recipe, great prizes! And I'll echo Dave: You always have the best photographs. I'm salivating this morning looking at these. Wow!

  11. These would go nice with a nice cold glass of milk.

  12. I tried the muffin version of this for the first time a few weeks ago. I think you're on the right track turning them into cookies. Those muffins were definitely filling and, for me, surprisingly rich.

  13. That pumpkin glaze looks so beautiful on those dark chocolate cookies, doesn't it? Chocolate and pumpkin go together so surprising well. The cake I just posted on my blog has the same flavors.

    But I think I like your photos even more than the recipe! I love the one with the cat in the window (nice to meet you, Mr. Fellows!), and the one with a few cookies on a white plate with the curve of pumpkin in the background, and the last one. It really is fun to shoot food, isn't it? :-)

  14. Oh now Cleo you know the boys are going to want these as soon as they see these cookies :). Good thing I already ate breakfast and went to the store this morning before I stopped by. I think I will make these in time for them to be ready when they get home from school today. Great prizes as well.
    The World of Book Reviews

  15. Fabulous. I'm glad that you are all posting these recipes this week so I will know what to make for our Halloween Party on the 30th. I think the menu is going to be heavy on the sweets. I made your Hurricane muffins for my husband's birthday. They were a big hit and will be making a re-appreance on Halloween. And so will these cookies.

  16. I never would have thought of this combination. You gals are too creative! Thanks for the idea.

  17. I can't wait to try these -- with my reduced sugar devil's food cake mix -- as a diabetic I'm always looking for something new. I just found this website and am thrilled with all that's available. I love your books!

  18. Love the candle and the book! Wish I could enter your contest! ; )

    I never thought of pumpkin with chocolate. Intriguing combination!

    ~ Krista

  19. Cleo, I just love your recipes! I bet those cookies would be great with a bit of instant coffee added to the batter. ;) I'm going to have to make that pumpkin glaze to use on muffins. Looks delicious!

  20. Yum! I'll be baking these for my friends next weekend.

  21. Those look really good, looking forward to trying them.

  22. Those are my two favorite things. I love all tings chocolate. Especially this time of year I make something daily with pumpkin.(oatmeal,pie,cookies,and fudge)YUM!!!

  23. I'm so glad to see that the recipe uses a cake mix. This really helps cut down the prep time. Thanks

  24. Awesome recipe! Good idea to take to a Halloween party. Thank you! =)

    Janece S.

  25. I'm bringing the printout of both recipes to the grocery store so I can get the ingredients and make these this weekend. YUM!

  26. You had me at, pumpkin.

  27. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. Halloween recipes are always so much fun -- they definitely bring out the kid in all of us! :)

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  28. I made these yesterday for a club meeting and they were delicious! Thanks Cleo!

  29. These cookies look delicious and a nice easy recipe. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us.

  30. These looks amazing! I love pumpkin!
    I'm having my first linky party on my blog and the theme is pumpkin. I'd like to invite you to come link up your favorite pumpkin recipe. The link is open until Wednesday at midnight, so please stop by and say hi.

    ~Cookin' Cowgirl

  31. This looks amazing! I love pumpkin!
    I'm having my first linky party on my blog and the theme is pumpkin. I'd like to invite you to come link up your favorite pumpkin recipe. The link is open until Wednesday at midnight, so please stop by and say hi.

    ~Cookin' Cowgirl

  32. I made these tonight and they were delicious! I thought this was a nice alternative to the classic chocolate chip pumpkin cookie, and they were surprisingly filling! I didn't make any changes, the recipe was perfect as-is, but my glaze didn't turn out as pretty as yours (no food coloring). These cookies would be good with a scoop of ice cream as part of a sundae.

    Thanks for sharing, your blog is very fun!