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Pumpkin Spice and Walnut cookies

Updated on September 11, 2014
Pumpkin spice and walnut cookies with fresh pumpkin
Pumpkin spice and walnut cookies with fresh pumpkin

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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).

A batch of cookies only requires a small slice of pumpkin - plenty left for a soup or roast!
A batch of cookies only requires a small slice of pumpkin - plenty left for a soup or roast!
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 20 medium size cookies

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. Dice pumpkin and place in a microwavable bowl, then microwave for 5 min or until soft. Place in food processor or blender and pulp.
  2. Add spices to pumpkin mixture and blend until combined. Place in a bowl and clean blender.
  3. Place walnuts in blender and grind until they form a fine powder, then mix through spiced pumpkin.
  4. Add sugar, golden syrup, coffee and oil and mix well.
  5. Add flour until dough is firm enough to form into balls with floured hands.
  6. 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
  7. 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


Finished cookies taste great with hot drinks or milk.
Finished cookies taste great with hot drinks or milk.

References

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.

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    • PhDancer profile image
      Author

      Sarah Fletcher 3 years ago from Adelaide

      Glad they interest you and hope yours turn out delicious!

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 3 years ago from Mexico

      What a great idea, I love pumpkin, I love walnuts and I love cookies, I´ll sure try them out this pumpkin season.