Halloween is filled with spooky tales like those about weird-o neighbors who only give out healthy treats. Welcome to that place.
It wasn’t always that way. I love(d) Halloween candy like a dog loves cheese. It was my favorite time of year and though I protested like every other sane person when Halloween candy showed up in the market in August, secretly I was a happy little piggy. My excuse for eating everything chocolate was that I had to find the very best bag for handouts so taste-testing was all a necessary part of the undertaking – thank you very much.
But years passed and I like sweet stuff less and less. After finding out that my road to high blood glucose was paved with fun-sized candy bars, I got religion in the form of a few Whole30’s and finding alternative ways to make really good baked treats. And eating a whole lot less grain.
There are so many ways to do that without sounding all sanctimonious or preaching that an apple is the same thing as a chocolate chip cookie (not on my planet).
But there are ways. The first thing is to reduce the size of the treat. Second, learn to love less sugar but never no sugar, and certainly not fake sugar. You can develop a very proper and sound preference for less sweetness in baked goods but don’t do it in one swoop. Go slowly, go gently in the reduction and don’t ever go severely. Also, use sweeteners that take a little longer to burst into the bloodstream like coconut sugar, or add stuff to the baked good that interferes with how quickly the sweet becomes high blood glucose – like using oats or other more complex flours, nuts or even grain-free flours. There are so many tricks to use.
Last, I eat less baked goods less frequently. I don’t eliminate or ban them from the diet because why? No reason to do that and aside from deprivation, it only makes them all the more like crack. Eat it. But don’t eat it all and don’t eat it every single day.
These Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with raisins and pecans are easy to make – no fancy equipment necessary. Chill the dough for best results. Also, cutting them into pumpkin shapes is a fun thing to do for the holiday, but not at all necessary. Flattening the balls of dough, however, is necessary unless you like very thick cookies. Bake them chilled and they won’t turn into pancake cookies. Bake them a minute or so less and they’ll be chewy all the way through. Bake them a minute or even two more and they will be chewy in the center and crunchy on the edges (my favorite). Also, the nuts can be left out, or substitute any other you prefer. Raisins could be craisins. Or figs, or any other tiny little dried fruit pieces. The oats should be old-fashioned for best flavor and gluten-free for sure.
Only cut them into shapes once they are on the parchment lined baking sheet and chilled. Remove the extraneous dough using a small knife or offset spatula for best results. Cutting them is work – it’s kind of the holiday special thing to do. So don’t give it another thought if you just want plain old cookie-cookies. I do absolutely get carried away when baking because it is what I do all the time. If I were to have, say, a life where I did real things aside from this, you know, like a job-job and still had small kids hanging around asking for things like dinner and clean laundry – I would be apt to smash the cookie with my hand, call it flattened and bake the thing. Perfectly fine. Works.
And speaking of. It’s time for Halloween costume making for Lulu & Phoebe. No. Not children. Dogs. Stay tuned. Meantime. Make cookies. These are actually good for you, but don’t tell.
|Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies|| |
- 125 grams pureed canned pumpkin (1/2 cup)
- 100 grams brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 126 grams organic shortening (Spectrum) (9 tablespoons)
- 1 extra large egg
- 260 grams Canteen flour blend (2 cups) (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 175 grams GF old fashioned rolled oats (1 ½ cups)
- 160 grams dark raisins (1 cup)
- 120 grams chopped pecans (1 cup)
- In a large bowl blend together pumpkin, sugars, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and shortening until well combined. Stir in egg until blended. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and oats until combined. Stir in raisins and nuts and blend with the flour mixture. Add flour/oats/nut mixture to pumpkin and stir until dough is well combined.
- Scoop by ⅛ cups onto a plastic lined tray. Cover scoops with additional plastic wrap and refrigerate dough until chilled – two hours and up to two days.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place six dough scoops on each baking sheet, keeping remaining dough chilled. Cover scoops with plastic and flatten with a glass or rolling pin. Using a pumpkin cookie cutter, cut out each cookie and while the cutter is in place and using a small knife or offset spatula, remove dough outside cutter. Carefully lift cutter. The dough should look like an oatmeal cookie pumpkin. Alternatively, leave the flattened dough scoop and bake as is.
- Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely. Makes about 24 cookies.