If we’re being honest, pumpkin alone does not have a incredibly rich flavor profile. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, but it’s not too sweet, it contains barely any fat, and it tastes a lot like other winter squashes. This is why mainstream pumpkin treats are laden with sugar and saturated fat.
When fall arrives, though, and the air and leaves get crispy, pumpkin treats have an intense appeal. This is with good reason, because pumpkins are harvested during the fall season. Nature wants us to have pumpkin treats at harvest time! Our wallets want us to have pumpkin treats at harvest time, too, because food costs less when it is purchased in season. Food grown in season requires less energy and money to produce, which means market price for it is lower.
Part of the appeal of pumpkin treats is the spice complex often found within them—cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, to name a few. Spices add another dimension of flavor to foods, and pumpkin is no exception. So, maybe we’re drawn to the pumpkin, or maybe we’re drawn to the spices. Either way, we like pumpkin treats and there’s no reason they can’t be nourishing and delightful all at the same time.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes prep time, 0 minutes cook time
No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cookies Recipe
Dry 1/2 cup old fashioned oats 1 cup oat flour 1/2 t salt 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 t cinnamon 1 1/2 t nutmeg
Wet 1/4 cup + 1 T milk (use organic if available) 3/4 cup pumpkin puree 1 t vanilla 2 T molasses 2 T virgin or extra virgin coconut oil, melted
Directions: Lightly grease a baking sheet with coconut oil, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and stir well.
In a separate bowl, add all wet ingredients in the order listed. Stir well.
Add wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined. A rubber spatula works well. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until ingredients are combined.
Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop dough into balls and place on greased/lined baking sheet. Place in refrigerator or freezer to chill for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Store in the refrigerator for up to several days.
Notes: Oat flour can be purchased, or you can make it in your kitchen. If going the homemade route, add 1 ¼ cups old fashioned oats to a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground. This will yield 1 cup oat flour.
Pumpkin puree can come from a can, or you can cook a pumpkin and make a puree. If using canned, try to purchase one that has a BPA-free liner; the brand Farmer’s Market has a BPA-free canned pumpkin. If making your own puree, place cooked pumpkin flesh in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed. The yield will be about 1 cup puree per 1 lb. pumpkin.
Any type of milk (dairy or non-dairy) can be used. If using non-dairy milk, make sure it is unflavored and unsweetened.
Variations: If not sensitive to gluten or wheat, whole wheat pastry flour can be used instead of oat flour. If you substitute regular whole wheat flour for whole wheat pastry flour, the product will be more grainy (but still delicious!).
Pumpkin spice need not stop at cinnamon and nutmeg. Add a pinch of cloves, cardamom, or ginger for extra spice flare.
If you like to pair chocolate with pumpkin, add a dark chocolate chip or two to the top of each dough ball prior to refrigerating/freezing.
Benefits: Pumpkin and oats are both a great source of fiber, so you’ll experience better digestion, feel more satisfied, and feel more full than when you eat a treat that is nutritionally void. Pumpkin is especially high in vitamin A and contains vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, and many other nutrients, too. Additionally, pumpkin contains carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein—all of which are plant chemicals studied for positive health effects.
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