Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

 Quite possibly, you are skeptical of so-called “healthy cookies.”  After all, such things must be either tasteless or mythical. 

Crikey, I think it is – the fabled Healthy Cookie!  We must approach carefully so as not to scare it off…

On the other hand, traditional baked goods are practically looked upon as the arch-nemeses of healthy eating.

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Ha! You think you can keep up with all that salad-eating and health-foods stuff?  Take a look at us, Dr. Gingerbread-Thighs and Evil Muffinbelly, and just try to resist our sugary powers!

But for a cookie-lover like myself, this is a bit of a conundrum.

They are delicious.  They smell divine.  They will lure you in if they’re lying around the kitchen, as they so often are this time of year.  Unfortunately, when the main ingredients are white flour, butter, and sugar, it really is hard to find any redeeming healthy qualities in the notorious cookie.

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Obviously, something had to be done to fit this cookie into my otherwise balanced diet.

This is important because I probably seem like the Cookie Monster all through fall and winter.  I mean, one cookie at a time is just not gonna cut it.  It’s two or three per snack, minimum, for this girl.   So, I figured I could afford a few extra cookies a day as long as I use a properly proportioned recipe and a still keep up with a balanced diet.

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In order to have a cookie that could replace some of my other carbs (breakfast stuff, sandwich stuff, etc.) I dug up some basic recipes, cut out about half the sugar, swapped in some whole grains instead of white flour, replaced most of the butter for some applesauce and a whole-heckuvalot of pumpkin… but, I mean, what’s new, right?  That’s what I do.

This was the resulting recipe.  Luckily, the Cookie Monster was appeased.  Very well appeased indeed.

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So for the last few years, between the first week of October all the way through January, these cookies have been staples in my kitchen.  I’ll make my way through each batch by noshing on them for filling snacks, quick breakfasts on-the-fly, healthier desserts, and of course, by sharing them with other cookie-eaters.

Personally, I think these are an excuse and a half for eating more than one cookie over holiday baking season!

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Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 44 two-inch servings

2 c. rolled oats

1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground allspice

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg (best if freshly ground, in which case use 1/8 tsp.)

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

½ c. unsweetened applesauce

¼ c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

1 cup packed brown sugar

¼ c. unsalted sweet cream butter, room temp or slightly melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

Optional: ½ c. dried cranberries, raisins, chopped pecans, and/or 1/3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray baking sheets with baking spray or line with parchment paper.

Combine all dry ingredients from oats through nutmeg in a large bowl.

Combine all ingredients from pumpkin through egg, blending well until everything is combined. 

Add wet to dry ingredients, and mix until no more dry remains, but don’t overmix. 

Finally, fold in optional ingredients, if using.

Use a small scoop to place 1 ½ inch cookies on the baking sheet with two inches between each cookie, and slightly flatten with the back of the scoop, making each cookie an equal height and width.

Bake about 12-15 minutes (starting with 12 minutes and adding more time as needed) until the cookies are slightly browned and set, but still soft to the touch.  Cool on baking sheets about 2 minutes, and then cool completely on a wire cookie rack – if you can withstand the delicious smells for that long! I usually end up burning my tongue trying to eat them straight out of the oven!

Per 2 inch cookie, without additions: 56 calories, 2 g fat, 3 g sugar, 1 g fiber (compared to the original, which had about twice the calories, fat, and sugar!)

72 calories with ½ c. chopped pecans and 1/3 c. chocolate chips

 

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