It’s pumpkin season, baby.

Believe it or not, I’m really not a pumpkin spice fan. I absolutely love pumpkin pie, but “pumpkin spice” never really does it for me.

Every single year, my favorite dessert to enjoy at Thanksgiving is pumpkin cheesecake. It’s flavored with actual pumpkin and not just an insane amount of spice, which is exactly what I want.

While I toyed with trying to create a macro-friendly version of that, I decided to go the cookie route instead!

This recipe was inspired by my brownie batter stuffed cookie cups. If you haven’t tried that recipe, check it out! It’s high-protein brownie batter stuffed inside a chocolate chip cookie, and it’s incredible.

But let’s dive in here…

These cookies are gluten-free AND keto-friendly, so they should appeal to almost everyone!

Key Ingredients & substitutions

As with all recipes, I know there are going to be substitution questions. Here are the main ingredients used, and what substitutions (if any) you can make:

  • If you’re in a country that doesn’t have canned pumpkin readily available, applesauce works great. If you make that substitution, there won’t be any pumpkin to this recipe, but it will still be a delicious cookie.
  • Remember that these require baking SODA, not baking POWDER. Baking powder will create a poofy cookie and will not be like the authentic cookie that we’re looking for.
  • I like to use coconut oil in these, but any other fat source will work. I tried using light butter to save some calories, but they did not turn out like the cookies I wanted at all. Since these are virtually carb-free, we NEED the fat to produce the end result we’re looking for!
  • These cookies use brown sugar to help them retain moisture. If you do not have brown sugar, regular sugar should still work, but you won’t get quite the same texture.
  • I often use protein powder that is a whey/casein blend, but I used a 100% whey protein in this case. You should be able to use a blend no problem! The major difference is the amount of liquid required depending on the type of protein you use, so you may need to add slightly more pumpkin to your cookies if you use a different kind of protein.

 

The process

These cookies are not difficult to make, but do require some specific steps to get them just right! So, let’s walk through ’em quickly.

We start by mixing all of our ingredients together to make our cookie dough.

It may seem like there’s not enough liquid, but be patient! Keep mixing and it will turn into a beautiful orange dough.

If you make substitutions, there is a chance you need some extra liquid. If that’s the case, you can add a little extra pumpkin- but keep mixing to let it come together first before making adjustments.

We’re going to chill the dough for one hour- don’t skip this step!! It helps prevent the dough from spreading thin, so we get a nice big cookie when we’re done.

Along with the dough, we’re also going to make a very simple cheesecake filling with cream cheese, some vanilla protein powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. If you don’t want to use protein powder in the filling, you can omit it and just add some extra sugar!

Once everything is mixed and smooth, you just need to spoon it out onto parchment paper or a baking sheet, then freeze for one hour.

Note that I made enough filling for 8 cookies, only to realize I was making 4 cookies instead. I adjusted the recipe accordingly, but that’s why you see more filling than needed!

After an hour, the dough will be very firm and easy to work with.

Form the dough into 8 balls, flatten them out, then add your filling to 4 of your cookies.

Fold the sides up around your frozen filling, then take the other 4 cookies and cover the tops. Pinch the sides and form them into balls.

Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon or pumpkin spice, then pop ’em into the oven. That’s it!

 

These cookies can be enjoyed immediately, but the filling tastes more on the cream cheese side of things.

If you let these cool in the fridge for an hour (or overnight, which is when this photo was taken), the filling firms up so well and tastes just like a cheesecake filling!

I highly recommend letting them sit to firm up if you can. If you’re impatient, you can certainly enjoy them right away, but it won’t be quite the same.

 

Calorie saving note

If you’re looking at this recipe and thinking that 220 calories is a lot for a cookie, I have a note for you. Well, two notes, actually.

  1. These cookies are quite large. Compared to a protein bar that is typically around 220 calories, I’d take these any day!
  2. See above how we started with 8 cookie dough balls? You can stop right there and make 8 smaller cookies instead. You can omit the filling altogether, or make 8 smaller pieces of filling to create cookies that will only be right around 100 calories each.

 

Don’t forget these recipes…

If you like this recipe, then I have quite a few others that I can guarantee you’re going to love.

 

Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies

A pumpkin cookie with a crispy exterior and soft, gooey exterior, stuffed with a delicious cheesecake filling. All of this packed with protein and keto-friendly!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

Yields4 ServingsDifficultyIntermediate

Prep Time1 hrCook Time10 minsTotal Time1 hr 10 mins

For Pumpkin Cookies
 45 g (1.5 Scoops) Vanilla Whey Protein (I used Bowmar Nutrition)
 56 g Almond Flour
 28 g Brown Sugar Substitute (I used Anthony’s)
 ½ tsp Baking Soda (NOT baking powder)
 ¼ tsp Salt
 ½ tsp Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice (can use up to 1 Tsp for stronger flavor)
 45 g Canned Pumpkin (or pumpkin purèe)
 21 g Coconut Oil
For Cheesecake Filling
 84 g Fat Free or Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
 7 g (roughly 1/4 scoop) Vanilla Whey Protein
 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
 20 g Powdered Sugar Substitute (I used Swerve)

1

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients for your cookies (everything except the pumpkin and coconut oil)

2

Microwave your coconut oil for 30 seconds to melt it- we just want it melted but not too hot. Add the coconut oil and pumpkin to your dry ingredients and use a silicone spatula to mix until a dough forms. It will be very dry at first; just be patient and keep mixing!

3

Once you have a dough, add to the fridge to firm up for about 1 hour.

4

Make the cheesecake filling by mixing together the cream cheese, protein powder, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar using an electric mixer. If you need to mix by hand and do not have an electric mixer, I recommend leaving the cream cheese out at room temperature to make the mixing process much easier. Feel free to add extra sweetener if needed.

5

Using a spoon, create 4 scoops of the mixture and place on parchment paper or a baking sheet. Add these to the freezer for 1 hour so they are frozen when we go to bake.

Note that you want to create more than 4 cookies out of the dough, you can scoop the filling into smaller portions to create smaller stuffed cookies.

6

After the dough and filling have chilled for an hour, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7

Break your dough into 8 roughly equal-sized pieces, then roll them in your palms to create balls. Flatten each one down into a cookie shape.

8

Take your frozen cheesecake filling and place in the middle of 4 of your cookies. Using the remaining 4 cookies, cover the cheesecake filling and pinch the edges to create 4 stuffed balls. You can use your hands to make sure everything is completely enclosed.

See the recipe notes above if you want to see what mine looked like during this process.

9

Sprinkle with a little bit more cinnamon or pumpkin spice (optional) and bake for 10 minutes.

10

After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

You can enjoy these immediately, but the cheesecake flavor will not be quite as authentic. For the best cheesecake flavor, put your cookies in the refrigerator for at least one hour (overnight works great too) so your cheesecake filling solidifies inside. I promise, it's worth the wait!

These cookies will hold up great in the fridge for up to one week.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 Cookie

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 220
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14.5g23%
Total Carbohydrate 7g3%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Sugars 3g
Protein 16g32%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

*Note that I do not count my sugar substitute as part of the total carbs. If you are very strict with carbs, you can count those, but the net carb total will still be the same as they do not contribute significant calories.

Ingredients

For Pumpkin Cookies
 45 g (1.5 Scoops) Vanilla Whey Protein (I used Bowmar Nutrition)
 56 g Almond Flour
 28 g Brown Sugar Substitute (I used Anthony’s)
 ½ tsp Baking Soda (NOT baking powder)
 ¼ tsp Salt
 ½ tsp Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice (can use up to 1 Tsp for stronger flavor)
 45 g Canned Pumpkin (or pumpkin purèe)
 21 g Coconut Oil
For Cheesecake Filling
 84 g Fat Free or Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
 7 g (roughly 1/4 scoop) Vanilla Whey Protein
 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
 20 g Powdered Sugar Substitute (I used Swerve)

Directions

1

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients for your cookies (everything except the pumpkin and coconut oil)

2

Microwave your coconut oil for 30 seconds to melt it- we just want it melted but not too hot. Add the coconut oil and pumpkin to your dry ingredients and use a silicone spatula to mix until a dough forms. It will be very dry at first; just be patient and keep mixing!

3

Once you have a dough, add to the fridge to firm up for about 1 hour.

4

Make the cheesecake filling by mixing together the cream cheese, protein powder, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar using an electric mixer. If you need to mix by hand and do not have an electric mixer, I recommend leaving the cream cheese out at room temperature to make the mixing process much easier. Feel free to add extra sweetener if needed.

5

Using a spoon, create 4 scoops of the mixture and place on parchment paper or a baking sheet. Add these to the freezer for 1 hour so they are frozen when we go to bake.

Note that you want to create more than 4 cookies out of the dough, you can scoop the filling into smaller portions to create smaller stuffed cookies.

6

After the dough and filling have chilled for an hour, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7

Break your dough into 8 roughly equal-sized pieces, then roll them in your palms to create balls. Flatten each one down into a cookie shape.

8

Take your frozen cheesecake filling and place in the middle of 4 of your cookies. Using the remaining 4 cookies, cover the cheesecake filling and pinch the edges to create 4 stuffed balls. You can use your hands to make sure everything is completely enclosed.

See the recipe notes above if you want to see what mine looked like during this process.

9

Sprinkle with a little bit more cinnamon or pumpkin spice (optional) and bake for 10 minutes.

10

After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

You can enjoy these immediately, but the cheesecake flavor will not be quite as authentic. For the best cheesecake flavor, put your cookies in the refrigerator for at least one hour (overnight works great too) so your cheesecake filling solidifies inside. I promise, it's worth the wait!

These cookies will hold up great in the fridge for up to one week.

Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies
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Nick
10 days ago
Recipe Rating :
     

All I can say is insanity. These taste like they should be way worse for you but are honestly addicting

Adam Jakowenko
10 days ago
Recipe Rating :
     

I’ve only made these once, but they came out PERFECT. I used low fat cream cheese because I literally cannot find fat free cream cheese at any store within 20 miles of my house. So I calculated the macros myself based on the nutritional info of the cream cheese I used. Otherwise everything else was the same. Honestly I think the filling is better with the reduced fat cream cheese just because in my past experience, fat free doesnt have the same taste/texture to me. Since we’re quarantining still, these are just for the 2 of us in the house, but I really wish I could share these with other folks. They’re not like “protein cookies” that taste BLECH and make people go “what’s wrong with these”, they taste like real cookies and are fantastic for the fall.

Annie Clark
9 days ago
Recipe Rating :
     

Wow. These are Phenomenal. Run, don’t walk to make these GIANT cookies! I used regular cream cheese with these and omg you could eat the filling by itself as a yummy cheesecake dip if you wanted to. The cookies are huge so next time I think I’ll make a single batch with 8 cookies (I had made a double batch and completely underestimated how big these would turn out). I kept them stored in the refrigerator which did make them slightly sticky but still delicious. 100/10 would recommend

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