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Pumpkin Spice and Walnut cookies
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Why this recipe
So I've done searches for pumpkin spice cookies a few times. The American use of pumpkin as more of a dessert thing rather than a savoury vegetable thing is intriguing to me as an Aussie without much experience of it. I like the way it is closely linked with Autumn and cosy things like fires and spiced mead. But one thing which always bothers me a bit is every recipe I've looked at lists canned pumpkin pie filling or puree as the pumpkin ingredient. Now in a warm climate like ours pumpkins are super easy to grow and keep for ages, and making your own pumpkin puree is as simple as chopping a bit up, zapping it in the microwave for a few minutes and then blending it in the food processor with some spices. So I wanted to share a recipe which did that, and add a twist with the inclusion of ground walnuts which I expected to a) add a great nutty flavour and crunchy texture and b) make the cookies just a tiny bit more healthy by adding protein and a low GI, cholesterol-lowering ingredient (Ma et al., 2010; Maguire, O'Sullivan, Galvin, O'Connor, & O'Brien, 2004; Tapsell et al., 2004).
- 2 cups diced pumpkin
- 3/4 cup walnuts, to grind
- 2 tblsp golden syrup
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1.5 tblsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tblsp mixed spice
- 20 walnuts, to garnish
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp coffee
- Dice pumpkin and place in a microwavable bowl, then microwave for 5 min or until soft. Place in food processor or blender and pulp.
- Add spices to pumpkin mixture and blend until combined. Place in a bowl and clean blender.
- Place walnuts in blender and grind until they form a fine powder, then mix through spiced pumpkin.
- Add sugar, golden syrup, coffee and oil and mix well.
- Add flour until dough is firm enough to form into balls with floured hands.
- Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Make balls of the mixture and flatten on the tray by placing a walnut on the top of the ball and squashing it down
- Bake at 180 degrees Celsius until edges are golden. Allow to cool a little until slightly crisp. Enjoy with tea, coffee or milk!
Ideas for adaptions
I think you could increase the coffee flavour in cookies like these without detracting from the pumpkin or walnut (walnuts and coffee are a great taste too). Some ideas I think would work:
- Add more coffee and a little less pumpkin, for a more coffee-orientated cookie, or add some coffee essence to avoid using less wet pumpkin
- Try adding orange flavour instead of coffee and walnut for extra sweetness and zing - some zest and juice would give the recipe a twist
- Change the type of nuts included - this may make them less healthy if you choose a high cholesterol nut like peanuts but would make for some interesting new flavours
- Try a super healthy version with pumpkin seeds added as well as walnuts
- Add poppy seeds or change the focus of the spices by using more savoury spices such as ginger, paprika, or tumeric
Ma, Yingying, Njike, Valentine Yanchou, Millet, John , Dutta, Suparna , Doughty, Kim , Treu, Judith A., & Katz, David L. . (2010). Effects of Walnut Consumption on Endothelial Function in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects. Diabetes Care, 33, 227-232.
Maguire, L. S., O'Sullivan, S. M., Galvin, K., O'Connor, T. P., & O'Brien, N. M. (2004). Fatty acid profile, tocopherol, squalene and phytosterol content of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and the macadamia nut. Int J Food Sci Nutr, 55(3), 171-178. doi: 10.1080/09637480410001725175
Tapsell, L. C., Gillen, L. J., Patch, C. S., Batterham, M., Owen, A., Bare, M., & Kennedy, M. (2004). Including walnuts in a low-fat/modified-fat diet improves HDL cholesterol-to-total cholesterol ratios in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 27(12), 2777-2783.