I told you in my post on Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe – Do It Youself, that I was on a pumpkin recipe kick.
Well, I must say it was pretty hard to decide what to make.
The biggest struggle for me is that almost all of the sweet pumpkin treats have TONS of sugar in them—basically they had as much sugar as I would have loved to have eaten in my sugar-aholic days.
I found a winner last night for sure.
These cookies are amazingly low in sugar (even if you choose to use regular sugar, which I don’t recommend) and they still taste great. The pumpkin adds a natural sweetness and the orange flavor adds a nice hint of orange.
Anytime you add flavor like this you can sometimes get away with less sweetener.
They are soft and moist and my whole family loved them.
My oldest was walking around the kitchen, nibbling on them and saying, “Now these really remind me of something.” And then he remembered what, and my youngest agreed. They reminded him of Enjoy Life’s Gingerbread Spice cookies.
Now mind you, even in my sugar-aholic days, I never really bought those, mainly because they’re expensive. We’d sample them at Gluten-Free fairs and then feel plenty sick afterwards. Not that there is anything technically wrong with Enjoy Life. We just couldn’t handle all of the sugar and white flour.
Well, he was sure right. These soft little bites are like Enjoy Life’s yummy treats, minus the white flour and all the sugar. Healthy. Yum. I adapted this recipe ever so slightly from one on Whole Approach’s Forum. I basically lived in this forum when I first started learning about candidiasis – that’s for another post.
We made the cookies four different ways – with and without nuts and with and without rolling them in sweetener. Hubby likes nuts in his cookies and oldest son does not like crunchies in his cookies. In my opinion, rolled in sweetener, either with or without nuts, is the best option :-).
When you roll them in sugar, you get a nice punch of sweetness without a bunch of added sweetener to the whole recipe.
The top photo shows the plain version and here is a photo of the nut-filled version with walnuts.
Soft Pumpkin Cookies (egg and dairy-free w gluten-free and sugar-free options)
1 c unsweetened pumpkin
1/2 c coconut oil, or other healthy fat, melted
1/4 c sweetener, either granulated or liquid
3-4 scoops stevia extract, or approx 4-8 T additional sweetener, to taste (For stevia, I recommend NuNaturals. Add to either wets or dries.)
1 T orange flavoring or extract (Try Nielsen-Massey or Frontier Flavor.)
1 1/2 c gluten-free or regular flour
1 tsp baking soda (If you use flour with gluten, decrease to about 3/4 tsp)
1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp salt (I recommend Real Salt)
1/2 chopped or ground nuts, optional (We used walnuts. Almonds, macadamias, or even pumpkin or sunflower seeds would be great!)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine pumpkin, oil, sweetener, and orange flavoring in a medium bowl.
2. Add flour, baking soda, & seasonings. Mix just ’til combined.
3. Fold in nuts if using.
4. Make spoonfuls or scoops with a 2 Tbsp muffin scoop. If desired, roll in a bit of granulated sweetener before baking. You get a really nice “punch” of sweetness without adding a lot of sweetener when you coat cookies rather than adding more to the batter. :-P.
5. Place spoonfuls or scoops on a baking sheet (the scoops result in a cookie that really resembles the Enjoy Life ones :-)).
6. Bake 8 -10 minutes or until lightly browned. They will harden a bit as they cool, but will still be nice and soft.
1. As I always say, with sweeteners, choose the healthiest one that you can. If you aren’t on a sugar-restricted diet, use honey, sucanat, or maple syrup. If you cannot have those, use vegetable glycerin, stevia, or yacon. If you have no other alternatives, xylitol or erythritol will work, but you will need about 25% more sweetener if using erythritol.
If using a granulated sweetener, add 1T water. Oh – and 1 scoop of stevia is a teensy amount – just 1/32nd tsp (this is for the pure extract. If using pourable stevia, use 3-5 tsp, to taste.)
2. Both the nut-filled and plain versions were great, but my boys and I much preferred the plain version (my husband simply loves nuts in just about anything.)
3. Try whatever gluten free flour blend, or individual flour, that you have on hand. Each will give the final cookies a bit of a different result, but they will be delicious! These are pretty forgiving little treats :-)!
4. Not familiar with stevia? Check out Stevia-What It Is and How to Use It for more helpful info.
If you are using stevia for this recipe, you will for sure want these spoons since you’ll be measuring out such teensy amounts. The 2nd smallest size is the one that you will use, but I am finding that stevia powders are now greatly varying in their strengths, so sweeten to taste. Either way, you will find these spoons to be a huge help.
I think you are just going to love these and love how good they are for you. It’s a great way to have healthy sweets around as the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays get closer and closer so you are less tempted to eat the “other” stuff.
Here are more “Pumpkin Treats” from my blog:
How about you? Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe that needs “healthifying”?
I am always (almost always) up for a challenge!