Cooking with Carney: Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Carney Ziegler

I’m a huge lover of pumpkin, and since the jack-o-lantern season known as Halloween is upon us, I celebrated by making Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. What a name, what a cookie.

I have adapted a few different recipes to come up with this skinny version.These are made with white whole wheat flour, reduced sugar, reduced fat cream cheese and no granulated sugar. Pure maple syrup replaces a portion of the sugar in these, which not only makes them a smidge healthier, but also helps bring out the fall flavors.

The prepping does require a bit of effort, because you have to flatten the dough onto your hand, fill it with cream cheese, and form a ball. It’s easy and a fun excuse to play with your food, but it can get messy and takes some muscle.

My personal favorite part of this recipe is the cream cheese filling; the flavor really stands out.

My Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Snickerdoodles are the perfect way to take advantage of the autumn pumpkin craze. They’ll make your house smell like cinnamon and pumpkin goodness, and you have as much fun cooking as you do crafting. These are definitely a new favorite of mine, and something I would not hesitate to serve at a Halloween party or Thanksgiving dinner.

Prep Time: 25 minutes. Chill time: 1 hour. Cook time: 15 minutes. Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Yields: 2 dozen large cookies



  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin (such as Libby’s)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


  1. In a medium bowl, mix coconut oil, pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Slowly add flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon as you stir. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  2. While dough is chilling, make cheesecake filling. In a small bowl with an electric mixer, blend cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients, breaking up the brown sugar clumps. Set aside.
  4. Lightly dust hands in flour (you may have to repeat this after every couple of cookies). Take two tablespoons of dough and flatten both individually with your hand. Take one flattened piece and place a teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center. Place the other flattened piece on top. Pinch the edges together and roll into a ball. Roll in the topping ingredients and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all dough and filling, placing the balls 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 12-16 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned and tops begin to crack. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to let cool completely. Serve warm or room temperature (I prefer room temperature).
  6. Cover and store leftovers at room temperature.
  7. Refrigerate remaining dough and filling while the first batch is baking to prevent the dough from becoming warm and sticky.