Fall is here and so are pumpkins! I love stuffing these nutritious veggies into cookies and more. This sugar-free gluten-free pumpkin cookie recipe is a big hit in the Kimball household.
What’s 10 tablespoons divided by (7×12) cookies?
Got your Math brain on?
I’m running on even less sleep than usual since the arrival of our latest sweet bundle, Gabriel Thomas, two weeks ago today, but even so I think I’ve got a great solution to that problem:
I think it’s fair to say that these cookies are healthy, since they use mostly whole grains, get some vegetables in there and have even less sweetener than even a healthy muffin or granola bar, easily.
You might even get away with serving them for breakfast, much to the delight of your children, I’m sure.
When I bring these cookies to parties and events, either the new gluten-free version I’m sharing today or our previous ultra-favorite 100% whole wheat pumpkin cookies, children and adults alike love them. I’m often asked for the recipe, the ultimate compliment to the cook!
There’s something magical about the honey that makes the cookies fluffy and light, and the pumpkin puree and autumn spices add enough of an undertone that tells your palate “sweet” that no one realizes how little sweetener there actually is!
This is my contribution to the #realfoodholiday progressive feast – a dessert you can share anywhere you go!
But it took some experimenting to get it right…
I ‘fessed up in this gluten-free pumpkin muffins recipe that for a number of years, I was quite intimidated by gluten-free baking.
I didn’t seek out GF recipes to try because they seemed complicated, had too many flours or weird binding agents or seemed like such a step down nutritionally from the soaked 100% whole wheat baked goods our family was used to that it didn’t seem worth it to bother. I stuck with coconut or almond flour and called it good.
I had a little breakthrough via Kimi Harris’s mini eBook about gluten-free muffins (available as a bonus with The Healthy Lunch Box!) and finally got up the guts to start experimenting with making our old favorites gluten-free.
This is perfect if you’ve just been told you need a GF diet, if you have a friend or family member eating GF and you’d like to cook for them, or if you’re just curious what it’s all about!
The homemade gluten-free flour blend I use is mostly made up of whole grain flours with about 25% arrowroot starch, a fairly healthy starch as they come:
Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Blend
It’s easy to mix up a batch. Just pour the following into a gallon plastic bag (or any container) ingredients found on Amazon:
- 2 c. buckwheat flour (freshly ground really is best)
- 2 c. brown rice flour (mine is home ground as well)
- 2 c. sorghum flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 2 1/2 c. arrowroot starch
It has worked successfully for the pumpkin muffins (along with other GF variations; that recipe just cannot be foiled!), these soaked GF pancakes, my homemade crackers, and now, these cookies. I’m thrilled to share the new and improved recipe with you today – and believe me, we’ve put it through plenty of testing (yum).
Test No. 1
For the first round, I simply used my gluten-free flour blend 1:1 in place of the whole wheat flour.
Unfortunately the result was quite crumbly (I brushed the crumbs off the plate in the photo above, ha!) and tasted flour-y or grain-y. They were doable, but not a completely pleasant mouthfeel.
Test No. 2
From the original whole wheat version, I doubled the eggs and added 4 teaspoons whole psyllium husk to add some more “stick togetherness” since batch no. 1 was soooo crumbly. It was considerably better – success – but still not as good as I knew they could be.
I thought if I could find my psyllium husk powder that might be more suited to helping the situation, and I also pondered using slightly less flour or trying a rest in the fridge to allow the flours to soak up the moisture in the mixture.
I did make the original whole wheat version at the same time to double check my honey measurement, which has decreased more and more since Smart Sweets was published three years ago.
They seemed grainy and quite crumbly too!
That got me thinking, and I remembered that the puree I had used for all three batches – a mixture of butternut and kabocha squash – was very, very thick. The squash had cooled off completely before I scraped them out and also perhaps could have used 15 more minutes of bake time. Maybe the puree was my only problem after all…
Test No. 3 and 4
With new puree (butternut and pie pumpkin mixture) that seemed much more moist and what I’m used to, I made a batch with 6 teaspoons psyllium husk powder to test that theory and another batch with about 1/2 cup extra pumpkin puree added to the dough.
Here are the results:
In front – with added psyllium husk powder.
The darker version: Additional 1/2 cup pumpkin plus some extra spices
I just had bum puree on the first tests! (phew)
In fact, they are SO much better that my kids went from thinking they didn’t like pumpkin cookies to asking for seconds – which I could happily allow since they’re so good for you! I may have been tasting them all morning myself…just for you…it’s a real sacrifice.
I tested the extra spices after feedback from my amazing site editor, Helen, who tested them out for me using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour and canned pumpkin. Her family gobbled them up and reported them as “pillowy and delicious” and not crumbly at all – and she doesn’t even like pumpkin!
Her husband’s only tweak would be to add more spices, so if you’re a lover of autumn spice (or have old and perhaps less potent spices), add an extra teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon of cloves. YUM. The original spices are perfect for most people, however, FYI.
Recipe for Gluten-Free Soft Pumpkin CookiesPrint
Soft, gluten-free pumpkin cookies that you know are healthy – but no one else will guess. Bring them to any party and you won’t bring any home!
- 2 cups butter or coconut oil* or palm shortening, solid but soft
- ½ c. + 2 Tbs. honey
- 2 c. homemade pumpkin puree (squash works, too!), drained of excess water**
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 4 c. GF flour blend (see above for a recipe for homemade or use Bob’s)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp.nutmeg
- ½ tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 c. chocolate chips
- Preheat Oven to 350°F.
- Cream fat and honey.
- Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla; beat well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon nutmeg, allspice, and . (Sometimes I cheat on this and just add the dry ingredients on top of the wet, all together, then mix. It works too!)
- Add dry mixture to the batter; mix well.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Drop rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet or ungreased baking stone. I don’t have a fancy cookie scoop (found on Amazon), so I actually use two regular spoons. The cookie dough would probably measure 1.5-2 tablespoons. If you have a metal spatula and stainless steel cookie sheets (also on Amazon), you don’t have to grease them up either.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Cool 2-3 minutes on the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before storing. I won’t tell if you taste one while they’re hot…
*Use refined coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) unless you’re willing to have a hint of coconut flavor in the cookies. Unrefined works fine too though, as does any mixture of the options for the fat.
**If your puree is very dry, add a bit of water to the puree to loosen it up OR add another 1/4-1/2 cup puree to the cookies. The more moisture you add, the more “cake-y” the cookies will feel. The puree should look at least as moist as canned pumpkin (see photo below) and can be slightly more moist. Canned pumpkin works as well – just dump in a 15-oz. can and you’re good to go.
If you’re a huge fan of autumn spices, add an additional teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon (or whole teaspoon) of cloves.
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To help you out, the puree should look about like this:
And the cookie dough should be a bit less thick than your average chocolate chip cookie dough.
Like the KS Style?
I’m always testing, tweaking, and keeping it real around here. The mission of Kitchen Stewardship® is to help you balance your family’s nutrition with your budget, time and care for the environment – all without losing your sanity.
I’m just a mom of four trying to hold it all together and being honest about how we do it, taking one baby step at a time and giving grace to wherever you are on your real food journey. If you dig that, I’d love to see more of you – sign up for the KS monthly newsletter and get a free eBook and making gluten-free cooking easy, whether you need to try a GF diet or just want to share a meal with someone who has that dietary restriction:
Over the past week, this fabulous group of bloggers has been sharing recipes and ideas to help you enjoy a Real Food Holiday!
- Deliciously Organic – appetizer
- Once a Month Meals – main dish (pork)
- Super Healthy Kids – stuffing (wild rice, gluten free!)
- 100 Days of Real Food – dessert, coming tomorrow
- Simple Green Smoothies – smoothie and sweet potato
- Keeper of the Home – roasted garlic mashed potatoes
- Fresh 20 – dessert
- Weelicious – whipped sweet potatoes
- $5 Dinners – the turkey
- Mama and Baby Love – salad
More from KS
Are you a binger or cringer? Do holidays tip the scale away from your 80/20 balance? Or do you shy away from celebrations in fear of the “unknown yellow casserole?” Incorporating real foods into holiday celebrations isn’t as difficult as you think. This list offers ideas for celebrating the holidays without being a scrooge… or a pumpkin.
Other Pumpkin Recipes:
- 20 ways to use a random bit of leftover pumpkin
- How to make crispy pumpkin seeds (you must take advantage of the free seeds if you bake a pumpkin (or squash) yourself!)
- Pumpkin pie baked oatmeal
- No cans healthy pumpkin pie
- Gluten-free pumpkin muffins
- Low-carb pumpkin pancakes (or any orange vegetable)
- Cabbage pumpkin soup
- Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
- DIY Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub
- Real food pumpkin recipes on Pinterest
Other Fall Recipes:
- Apple Breakfast Bars (or dessert!)
- 5 Ways to Preserve Your Apples
- Chicken Barley Leek Soup
- Caramelized Banana-Apple Dessert Topping
- Creamy Roasted Garlic Butternut Soup
- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (Low-Carb, Grain-Free)
- Savory Greek Sausage Stuffed Autumn Squash