Growing up, I didn’t fall for Twinkies and Ho-Hos.
I didn’t pine for Oreos or Chips Ahoy.
I didn’t even like most Girl Scout Cookies.
Nope, I had to wait for my packaged sugar bomb of choice. I had to wait for September so that I could buy the greatest confection the processed food industry ever came up with. I needed to consume mass quantities of Pumpkin Delights!
How could you not love these soft pumpkin spice cookies with their sweet pumpkin jelly peeking out of the jack o’lantern eyes? I mean, just look at it! Don’t you want to eat an entire box?
No, seriously. I ate an entire box. Several times. Because I had disordered eating and they’re specifically manufactured with addictive chemicals to make you crave them fort-nightly.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t still fondly think of their deliciousness. So, with the official arrival of Autumn (International Pumpkin Season for us food bloggers) I wanted to try to recreate these childhood favorites.
Not knowing where to even start with the dough, we used the Not-A-Grain Bars from Against All Grain as our original inspiration. Although you’ll see, we got a little adventurous with our adaptation. These cookies will give you that autumnal pumpkin flavor without the plastic, sugar or wheat. Not only that, but we also have nut-free instructions!
*note: Cole is 8. Photobombing is the most hilarious thing ever, evidently.
As you can see, this can be a fun family project. Honestly all 3 of our kids were begging to help in the kitchen. They loved rolling the dough, using the cookie cutters, spooning the fruit butters and especially, making jack o’lantern faces! All of it. Even the hunt to find the ingredients was exciting for them, since we used something new. I can’t remember the last time the boys were this excited about a recipe we were working on!
*note, testing this recipe took a few tries… hence, the wardrobe changes and the kitten helping us
And probably one of the best selling features of this cookie is all the things NOT in it! There is only 1/4 cup of honey to sweeten the whole thing. With only a 1/2 tablespoon of juice sweetened fruit butter, the overall sugar count is remarkably low for a cookie your kids will love to eat – ours are thrilled to have a cookie they can take to school!
School? Oh, yes! Because we’ve ensured this cookie can be made nut-free! We have included instructions to replace the almond flour, making them a nut-free treat as well!
- 1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/4 C blanched almond flour or raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 C coconut flour
- 1/2 C tapioca flour
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 C pumpkin puree
- 1/4 C softened coconut oil
- 1/4 C honey
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 C pumpkin or apple butter
- In a high speed blender or coffee grinder, grind pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on high until they are a fine powder. We measure the seeds, not the resulting flour!
- In a large mixing bowl sift together the almond flour, if using, coconut flour, tapioca flour, the ground seeds, spices, baking soda and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, honey, oil and the eggs until incorporated.
- Pour in the dry ingredients slowly while mixing. Continue to mix until a thick dough forms.
- Divide the dough in half and flatten. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least twenty minutes.
- Remove one dough disk and roll out on a tapioca floured surface. Cookies should be about 1/4" thick.
- Using pumpkin shaped cookie cutters, cut out cookies and remove to a lined or greased cookie sheet. If the dough becomes warm, it will be difficult to work with and become sticky. If this happens, return it to the fridge to cool.
- Spoon on about 1/2 TBSP of pumpkin or apple butter on top of the cookies. Spread out, leaving 1/8" edge all the way around.
- Remove the second disk and roll it out as well to the same thickness. Cut out more pumpkins.
- With a knife, cut out fun faces on this second pumpkin, then place on top of the first cookies.
- Lightly press the edges together to seal the cookies
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until cookies just begin to brown. Cook time will vary depending on the thickness and size of your cookies.
- Store at room temperature only for a day or two, otherwise keep chilled and bring to room temp before serving.
The family agreed 4:1 that pumpkin butter was the clear flavor winner. But the 1 cough Finian cough who loved the apple butter loved it so much he insisted we still leave it as an option.
These cookies are involved, true, but trust me: they’re worth it and lots of fun to do with loved ones! They’re everything you actually wanted the Little Debbie snacks to be, but their factory origin would never allow.
It made us so happy to bring the experience of eating a Pumpkin Delight home to our kids! We hope you’ll enjoy this tasty fall treat; share your silly jack o’lantern faces with us! Our boys created jack o’lantern, vampire, pirate vampire, Frankenstein, and werewolf!