If you knew how many hours I’ve spent researching the perfect pumpkin cookie/cookie bar and debating between using whole-wheat flour or a combination of almond flour and coconut flour… you might laugh. You probably would laugh. Go ahead. Laugh.
After ______ (take a guess!) hours of back and forth between flours and bouncing from cooking site to cooking site and cookbook to cookbook, I’ve stuck with my gut - pun kind-of-but-not-really intended. I can call myself an expert in grain-free baking as much as I can an expert in car-fixing. And if my use of the made-up term “car-fixing” doesn’t make it all clear… well, one time, I ran over a traffic cone and… yeah I’ll just stop there. I’m much better with grain-based flours. That’s my point here.
Another reason I hesitated to choose almond flour + coconut flour here was because of my sometimes unavoidable black-and-whiteness when it comes to recipes. I’m either in or out. I’m either modifying the whole thing (so am I even following it?) or sticking to it ingredient for ingredient. If I’m going to spend what I did on these dang grain-free flours, I’m making completely grain-free cookies. But if I’m going to make a cookie recipe I really really want to eat, it’s going to incorporate buckets of oatmeal and chocolate chips.
I may not be able to pick many favorites, but when I can pick one, it’s an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.
“Almost Paleo” sounded like I was trying too hard at first and then giving up. Like, “oh yeah, I almost finished school, but then I got to my fifth year with only two quarters left and just dropped.” Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme, but we are talking about cookies here and things get serious when oatmeal and chocolate chips are involved. And don’t even get us food-bloggers started on the season of bake-everything-possible-with-pumpkin. Sh!t gets real.
Hopefully you know that I have nothing against grain-free deserts. I’ve just learned to not trust myself in the kitchen wanting to experiment with grain-free flours because almost every incident has resulted in something either a) gloopy, b) mushy, c) gross-flavored, d) somehow un-flavored, and/or e) burnt. Basically I’m doing both of us a favor by utilizing my skill set here instead of boldly stepping into the tricky and expensive realm of grain-free baking. If you want, I can send you to the bloggers who have dedicated themselves to developing such a skill.
I will be the first to unapologetically admit that I hate coconut flour. And now I’m excited that I’ve come to terms with my inability to bake grain-free because now I can go back to Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck, anyone?) and return that. Woooo!
The other day, I tested some pumpkin muffins and, if I’m being nice to myself, they didn’t quite work out (they failed miserably, if I’m being mean to myself). Actually, they leaned more towards pumpkin cookie than pumpkin muffin. Hey, at least I got somewhere! And at least the muffins are still tasty and edible. Just not blog-able. Yet.
Until then, munch on these!
Makes about 30-32 cookies
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or white whole-wheat flour)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats*
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
3/4 cup pumpkin purèe
3/4 cup coconut sugar*
2 tbsp. maple syrup
3-4 ounces dark chocolate bars, broken up into chunks (I love FlavaNaturals chocolate)
Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Add the crumbled dark chocolate bar and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, coconut sugar, egg, and maple syrup. Use a paper towel to gently squeeze some of the moisture out of the pumpkin and stir into the wet ingredients.
Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix the dough, as the cookies will come out tougher than desired. Stop mixing when all the flour and oats are incorporated.
If you have a cookie scooper, use it to scoop the dough in even portions onto the baking sheet. Otherwise, roughly eyeball about 2 tbsp. or the equivalent of golfball-size portions onto the baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches between each portion.
Bake for 10-12 minutes - 10 will yield softer, gooier cookies and 12 will yield more crisp cookies. Cool slightly before serving.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to one week.
*I chose rolled oats because I prefer the heartier, chewier texture, but if you prefer something more subtle, opt for quick-cooking oats instead.
**Brown sugar may also work instead of coconut sugar. I haven’t tested this, but usually this swap works just fine.
Recipe adapted from here.