As I am gearing up for my annual Thanksgiving cooking marathon, I decided to post a recent cookie experiment that went deliciously right. One of my friends is getting married in early December and some of the other guests are dairy and gluten intolerant as well so she asked me to bring some cookies for their traditional cookie table that precedes dinner (yes, I said precedes). I decided to do a couple of tester batches because baking grain-free, dairy free, and sugar free was not exactly part of my culinary class schedule. While the basic techniques, like, say, fluffing your eggs before adding the dry ingredients to inject some volume into those dense grain-free flours, are the same you have to be much more aware of how the different nut flours behave with liquids and get a feel for the amount of liquid stevia you need to balance on that knife edge between not sweet enough and exposing the bitter aftertaste of the herb.
I am happy to say that I pretty much had incredible success with both recipes- one I tried incorporating a softened date paste to add natural sweetness while the other I relied entirely on the stevia but was able to add more pumpkin puree. Happily for me, as I personally like to limit my fructose consumption, the stevia-only version was absolutely divine. They are moist, oh-so soft, and have the perfect combination of holiday cookie flavors that might even make someone bold enough to hit up Wal-Mart on Black Friday!
Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies
1-1/3 c organic pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix, just the pumpkin)
2 large eggs
1/4 c melted coconut oil, at room temp
1 full dropper of NuNaturals Alcohol Free Vanilla Stevia (or use regular stevia and add 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract)
4 c Blanched Finely Ground Almond Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tbsp ground organic Cinnamon
2 tsp ground Allspice
2 tsp ground Roasted Ginger
1/2 tsp Aluminum Free, Gluten Free Baking Soda (so pure sodium bicarbonate, Bob also makes this)
1/8 tsp Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
1) Pre-heat oven to 350F.
2) With a large stand-up or hand-held mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and pumpkin puree on high until doubled in size. Add the coconut oil and vanilla stevia and beat until incorporated.
3) Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl with a metal wire whisk making sure to break up and clumps of almond flour. You can also sift the almond flour through a fine mesh strainer or tami before adding it to the rest of the dry ingredients.
4) Turn the mixer on low and slow add in the dry ingredients stopping occasionally to wipe down the sides with a silicone spatula. Once all the dry ingredients are in, turn the mixer to medium and whisk until just incorporated. Do NOT over beat! Once all the dry ingredients are incorporated stop mixing.
5) Grease a baking sheet tray with coconut oil or use a Silpat or other silicone, non-stick baking pad. At this point you can choose how large you want your cookies. I choose to start with what amounted to an 1/8 cup of dough but you could also make miniature cookie by using a melon baller or teaspoon to measure them out. Once you’ve decided on the size the method is the same regardless. Take your dough and roll to form a ball between your palms. Place the ball on the sheet tray and gently press down on it to flatten it to a nice round disk approximately 1/2 inch thick. If you want thinner, crispier cookies simply make them thinner by pressing down more. The cookies will not spread very much so whatever size you put them in at you can be assured they will remain that way.
6) Bake them for 8 min if you want moist, soft cookies or 10-12 minutes for crispier ones.
7) Remove them from the oven and allow to cool ON the sheet tray for 15 min before removing them to a rack to cook completely. You can eat them straight up or frost them with my Classic Paleo Vanilla Frosting soon to follow for a decadent holiday treat!