Add some warming spices to your cookie plate this year to stay extra cozy. These pumpkin spice-inspired snickerdoodles are flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. Try this spicy take on a nostalgic favorite. 

How to make homemade pumpkin spice

It may get a lot of seasonal buzz, but at its heart pumpkin spice is simply a blend of the spices that typically flavor pumpkin pie. You can make your own pumpkin spice at home by blending together dried ground spices in a jar. These are the spices we used to make the flavoring for our snickerdoodles.

  • 2 Tbsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

For this recipe we created a spin on pumpkin spice by adding cardamom. For a more traditional version, substitute ground ginger in for the cardamom.

Why do snickerdoodles use cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar isn’t creamy at all. This powdery substance is a byproduct of winemaking. It’s made from tartaric acid, and has a tart flavor. Acid reacts with baking soda, as you know if you’ve ever created a homemade vinegar and baking soda volcano. When these two ingredients are combined they work together to create a light and fluffy cookies with a slightly tangy kick.

How do you know when snickerdoodles are done?

Our snickerdoodles spend 12-14 minutes in a 350°F oven. They don’t change color drastically, so it can be slightly tricky to tell when snickerdoodles are done. Be sure to set a timer, and check in after 12 minutes. The cookies are done when the center looks dry and set, the edges are slightly wrinkly, and the bottom is a light golden brown.

pumpkin spice snickerdoodles
Pumpkin spice snickerdoodles make an excellent holiday care package

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles Recipe 

Makes 20 cookies 

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well on medium speed until incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed until fully incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds.

3. Scoop dough into roughly 3 tablespoon portions, and shape into 20 balls. Roll balls in spice mixture until coated. Arrange balls 3”  apart on prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake until outer edges start to set and wrinkle slightly, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pans between top and bottom racks halfway through bake time. Remove from the oven; let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely, about 15 minutes.