Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin scones. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin spiced everything! Yes, it is pumpkin season and pumpkin flavoured everything is all around us.

Fall is now synonymous with pumpkin treats and although there may be an overload of pumpkin spice goodies, the pumpkin does give us some great health benefits.

Pumpkin is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E.  Pumpkin is also a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.  It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Not only is the pumpkin full of amazing nutrients, but the seeds are as well.  They are a great source of protein, minerals, such as iron and zinc, as well as niacin.  They are also an excellent source of trytophan.

So if the taste of pumpkin doesn’t get you to eat it, the health benefits are definitely will.

I bought a few local pie pumpkins the other day not really knowing where I was going to go with them, but I came back to this sweet potato cookie I make pretty regularly and thought that the pumpkin may be a good alternative.  I hadn’t tried the recipe with pumpkin before so it was also a chance to experiment too!

First step is to steam the pumpkin.  The pie pumpkins are smaller than your pumpkin you would buy for Halloween.  I cut the top off and then cut them in half to expose the inside and the seeds.  Take the seeds out and put them in a bowl and set aside for later.  Remember the seeds are edible and can be used to make a delicious little snack when roasted.  Scrape the goop out of the pumpkin and then cut into quarters.  Get a pot boiling and use a steamer attachment over your boiling pot or you can use the microwave by cooking on high for about 7 minutes per pound.  You will need to turn them every few minutes in the microwave to ensure even cooking.  The steaming method takes about 10-13 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender.  Set aside and let it cool a bit because it will be very hot.

Once the pumpkin is cool to touch, scrape the ‘meat’ out and put into a bowl and mash.  This mashed pumpkin will be what you use in the cookies.  If you end up with too much mush, you can put into an air tight container and put in the fridge to use for muffins or other recipes.  It will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

2 Cups Flour

** I made two batches.  One with wheat flour and the other gluten free.  The gluten free batch was made with 2 cups of brown rice flour and 2 teaspoons of Xantham gum.  I find this combination really works well for cookies.

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon Salt

½ cup of grapeseed oil or you can use melted coconut oil or melted vegan butter.

1 Cup Pumpkin mash

1/2 Cup Sugar – I used some brown sugar, but coconut sugar could be substituted as well. If you want a sweeter cookie, add a couple of tablespoons more.

2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand up mixer, put in the pumpkin mash, maple syrup, vanilla, oil and sugar.  Mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and the cinnamon and nutmeg.

In increments, mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.  Mix in between adding to make sure all the flour gets mixed in evenly.  The dough will be sticky so don’t panic!

The best thing to do if you have the time is to put the mixed dough into the fridge for half to one hour.  It will just make handling the dough a little easier when you have to roll them into balls.

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

I roll my into balls and flatten with a fork.  Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon sugar on them and put them into your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

 

The cookie is a soft cookie and is so good as a snack.  I have to admit to having a couple for breakfast.  They are not overly sweet if you use the 1/2 cup of sugar, so if they seem like they need some more sweetness, there is always the option of adding a little maple drizzle on them too.

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The lovely seeds are not to go to waste either!  After you set them aside when you take them from the pumpkin, wash off with cold water and drain.  I let them sit on some paper towel to get excess water off of them.  Put them into a bowl (I had about 2 cups of seeds from two pie pumpkins) and I added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.  Mix thoroughly.  Spread out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and pop into the oven at 400 F.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and stir half way through.  The seed should be golden brown and dry to touch.

Take out and cool and enjoy!  There may be some that stick together but it almost makes it like a brittle that isn’t so sweet.  I was eating them like candy this weekend.  The seeds were so good.  Notice I said ‘were’

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Hope you enjoy the pumpkin cookie and seed recipes today.  It is really starting to feel like fall now and we hope to bring you more delicious recipes over this season to share with you.

Happy Monday!

 

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