Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Snickerdoodles

A few evenings ago I was driving home on Harris Boulevard straight into the hot-gold sunset. The windows were rolled down — enough so that the tepid autumn air rushed into the car across my forehead, but not enough to assault me with a face full of blonde tangles. My favorite 80s song tumbled out of the speakers and vibrated the swirling air around me.

I acquiesced: okay, fall.

I’m a summer girl. Cold air feels like a heavy restraint: every trip outside with Byrd involves shrugging on two coats, two pairs of pajama pants, a scarf, and some mittens. I have to wrangle her into her snuggie (what? don’t act like you don’t own a dog snuggie) and wrap her in my scarf. It feels like I’ve doubled in weight as I lumber down the stairs like an abominable snowperson (with an abominable — but adorable — little snowdog in my arms).

It’s harder to move. The ice-edged air is harder to breathe. It takes longer to get up the gumption to do something as simple as take a walk.

Besides the discomfort, there’s that slate winter sky. Every day is a sloshy gray, and the sky seems lower somehow. Some summer days breeze in with mountainous clouds; their enormity makes the ocean of blue sky seem endless. In winter, though, the clouds form a heavy wool blanket that seems to sit just overhead. All summer we drift about in miles of free space; all winter we’re squashed like heavily-clothed little bugs.

I dislike winter so strongly that even on the most oppressively hot days this summer, I refused to complain. Sweat? Okay. Sunburn? No problem. Heat stroke? I’ll deal. Because the alternative is disgusting, wet, despicable, muddy, gray, depressing winter.

Facebook friends pined all summer for cooler weather and it was all I could do to avoid responding, “If you wish away my summer, I will find a way to haunt you all. winter. long.”

I dislike winter so strongly that every year, I initially dislike fall. Fall is a premonition of winter’s evil, marching stolidly across the globe toward us, indifferent to our terrified screams–

Okay, well that’s a little much. But fall means winter’s coming, and that makes me sad. Instead of accepting the advent of cooler air, I hang on to summer as long as possibly.

Others get out their boots while I stubbornly continue wearing my bohemian beach flip flops. I wear tiny sundresses, budging in my resolve only to slip on a sweater with a scowl when the temperature drops to 40 degrees each evening. I heat my house like the tropics and continue wearing my beloved nightgowns. I eat ice cream sundaes.

But every year, things start to happen that weaken my resolve. I’ll realize that I can light my fir tree and cinnamon spice candles at the same time and make my apartment smell like Christmas. I’ll see that the Southern Christmas Show (only my favorite event of the year!) is coming to town. I’ll remember the awesome sweater I was sad to put away last spring.

And finally, most importantly of all, I’ll realize there’s a whole new season of recipes to be created. Y’all know I bake anything and everything with pumpkin as soon as the first can hits the shelf. I love apples and nuts and cranberries, but there is no ingredient that winterizes the summery cockles of my heart (wait, that doesn’t sound like a good thing?) as much as that gourd.

Eventually there comes a moment when I accept the inevitable. Jamming out in my car a few evenings ago, I finally welcomed fall. And you know, I might have even been a little joyful to do so.

Whether you’re still having trouble accepting the change of seasons or not, these cookies will make you joyful. I don’t say this often because it totally ruins your street cred if you just throw it out there about every recipe you create, but these cookies are one of the best things I’ve ever made. Warm snickerdoodles are already the cinnamony, sugary bees’ knees, but when you stuff them plumb full of an autumn-spiced pumpkin cheesecake mixture, they become otherwordly. Who needs summer?

What’s your favorite season?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Snickerdoodles

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, cobbled together from Whole Foods (filling) and Sunset, 1998 (via Bakergirl) (cookies)
Yield: about 30-35 large cookies

Make these cookies as soon as you can — they are incredible! Warm, cinnamon-sugar snickerdoodles surround a creamy ball of pumpkin cheesecake spiced with graham cracker and gingersnap crumbs. These cookies are crumbly, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth nuggets of autumn love. Sure, they have a lot of fat and a lot of sugar — so reserve them for a special occasion. But don’t skimp! They’re worth it. Also, while the cookies look fancy, they’re quite simple to make. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and heat them for 20-30 seconds or so before serving them with a tall glass of milk.

Snickerdoodle Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon for rolling cookies

Filling Ingredients:
2 cups white chocolate chips (about 10 ounces)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups finely ground gingersnaps
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of orange zest (I used a dash of orange extract)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

First, make the pumpkin spice truffle filling. Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave on half power. Start with 1 minute and stir. Continue to heat the chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring well after each to aid the melting, until it is smooth (be careful not to overheat). Set this aside to cool slightly. In the meantime, mix the pumpkin, gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, orange zest or extract, and cream cheese together. Add the white chocolate and mix well until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator to chill and firm up. In the meantime, make the snickerdoodle dough.

Mix together the butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3-4 additions, mixing until just combined between each. Place the finished dough in the refrigerator to chill. While the cookie dough chills, roll pumpkin mixture into balls and place the balls on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Cover, and freeze until firm (about 1 hour).

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Take a few pumpkin balls out of the freezer at a time to work in small batches (so they stay firm). Scoop out about a tablespoon of chilled cookie dough. Press a frozen pumpkin cheesecake ball into the center, then cover with another bit of dough, working the dough around the whole ball. Roll in cinnamon-sugar and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat the process, placing cookies 3-4 inches apart. If cookie dough gets too soft, re-chill it for a bit and continue working. I made sure to stick it back in the fridge during any downtime (like when the cookies were in the oven).

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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41 responses to “Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Snickerdoodles

  1. Basil (my dachshund) has a snuggie. 😉 he loves it, but doesn’t want to wear it outside (that’s my ROBE, mom!). 😉

    snickerdoodles are the perfect spicy fall treat, and adding the Oh My Stars pumpkin cheesecake!? perfection.

  2. I never would have thought to stuff a snickerdoodle, let alone stuff it with pumpkin cheesecake! These look amazing and definitely worth the effort – I bet I could make lots of friends with them!

  3. Oh those look yummy! I want a few!

  4. ladyrip2002@yahoo.com

    Can you freeze the cookies to mail them to someone?

  5. These look amazing, and like they are a lot of work. You made them look easy though.

  6. First, those look amazing! I am a pumpkin freak! Second, I thought I was the only person in the whole world that disliked fall bc it meant summer was over and winter was on the way. Fall represents dying, the death of summer, decidious green leaves, and my beloved blue sky. I have always claimed spring to be my favorite season for it’s rebirth, warm breezes, and hint of summer to come. However, for some strange reason, this year I am loving and even embracing fall. Maybe it is because here in NC, Fall seems more steady than Spring. The days seem more reliable than spring days. When it starts to get warm but then snaps back to cold in spring I get angry. But, when it is cool in fall and then heats back up I love it. I am actually liking the slight cool in the air and LOVING the constant fire building with the 6th grade. For the first time ever, I am loving fall! I still do not want winter to come but that is another story!

  7. These are totally insane and I can’t wait to make them!!!

  8. I’m a summer girl too. Don’t know why I live in a cold winter state. I’ll have to remember these cookies to cheer me up!

  9. These look sensational And my favorite season is spring, I love when everything starts to bloom!

  10. Those weren’t out when I had my Benjy–so he got sweaters. Woowy! This sounds super yummy amazing!

  11. Hmm, I think the second part of that comment got eatten …

  12. I think these guys may be the coolest cookies ever. How can you not like awesomeness inside more awesomeness? I am definitely making these. Yum!

  13. Yum! Those are genius. I’m pinning them so I’ll remember to try them this Fall.

  14. I adore Fall, despite the fact that it is followed by *shudder* Winter. But snuggies are pretty cute. 🙂

  15. Everything about these cookies looks amazing!

  16. Oh you did not just do this! I thought I’d seen everything re: desserts stuffed into other desserts, but now you’ve challenged me to something new! I HAVE to make these asap!

  17. Thank you. I accept winter, but not with joy. I do live in California, so snow isn’t it the picture at all. I much prefer summer, homegrown tomatoes, basil and swimming outdoors. Pumpkin is my only consolation. It consoles me, until Spring comes again. These cookies are sheer genius. They look like they take a little extra time and effort, but I’ll bet that the recipients would love thees. Great job!

  18. sayre

    These look AMAZING. Your description of a North Carolina winter is making me nervous about a vermont winter. I’ve still been wearing flip-flops recently….

  19. Merritt Strodel

    Hi! It’s Merritt! My sister and I tried some of your cupcake recipes just for fun and they all turned out amazing!! They were so good! You are a genius! Thank you!

  20. I

    Made these today for Thanksgiving with my family, and they were the biggest hit of the day! They disappeared in minutes – glad I was smart enough to save a few at home for me!

  21. So I made these over the weekend and they are yummy! I have to find and easier way to stuff though. It did get easier as I went and I had to stop due to bedtime! So there’s more dough in the fridge waiting to be stuffed. I think I might try stuffing them while in the spoon, I was picking up the dough in my hands and stuffing it but it got too sticky…. Thanks for the recipe!

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