Have you ever baked with pumpkin? Or tried to make pumpkin cookies? Pumpkin makes lovely breads and cakes. It bakes up light and fluffy, and provides lovely moisture. Unfortunately, light and fluffy aren’t good cookie characteristics, in my book. I love chewy cookies – especially chewy chocolate chip cookies. When pumpkin season came, I wanted to bake up pumpkin cookies, but didn’t want them all fluffy. What’s a chewy cookie lover to do?
So I started to think. What is it about pumpkin that turns those cookies into cake-like, fluffy treats? It dawned on me that pumpkin has a lot of moisture. Good for cakes and breads, to be sure, but it was ruining my perfect cookie. So the key? Remove some of the moisture from the pumpkin.
I got to work. I made a big batch of pumpkin butter from a gigantic cushaw squash I recently acquired. But rather than just adding pumpkin butter into a cookie recipe, I opted to reduce it further. I put some pumpkin butter in a saucepan and set it on medium-low heat, and I cooked it. And cooked it. Stirred and stirred, until it no longer looked like a pumpkin-y puree, and instead took on a thick texture more like tomato paste. Less moisture = less fluffy, I hoped.
I also opted to remove the egg white from the cookie recipe, figuring that an egg white would contribute to lift – something I didn’t want in my cookies. I left the yolk in, however, to hold things together and provide some additional fat.
Finally, I proceeded to wing it. I wanted to keep the cookie grain-free, so I went with almond flour. And while this recipe isn’t technically dairy-free (I used ghee), it is casein-free, so those with casein intolerance can still indulge. (I find that while I can’t tolerate regular or even grass-fed, cultured butter, I can tolerate a bit of ghee here and there.) If you can’t do ghee, try substituting coconut oil. Because I really wanted the pumpkin pie spice effect, I threw in extra cinnamon and nutmeg. I also added chocolate chips and some chopped pecans, just because.
It’s my cookie, and I can do what I want.
The result was more than I’d hoped. These cookies are tender, but chewy. Moist, but not overly so. They are indeed chocolate chip cookies, but they are so much more than that. They are like chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin pie got together and had a love child.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
7 T pumpkin butter paste (simmer pumpkin butter over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until texture resembles tomato paste)
1/4 c melted ghee (or coconut oil)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
3/4 c brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
2 c almond flour (I tried this recipe with both Honeyville blanched almond flour and Bob’s Red Mill – both work, but I prefer Honeyville)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 c dairy-free chocolate chips
1/3 c chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin butter paste, ghee, vanilla extract, egg yolk, and brown sugar. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.