Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Doodles

Today was a cold, rainy day that just called for baking cookies. This time of year, I always have a craving for spicy desserts made from pumpkin. This delicious, soft, cake-like cookie really fits the bill! It's rolled in a sugar-spice mixture in the same way you'd make the classic Snickerdoodle cookie, thus the name. Instead of only cinnamon in the sugar, I used pumpkin pie spice which is a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. This substitution really gives these cookies the flavor of my favorite holiday dessert. These sweet, wholesome cookies have lots of hidden nutrition from the flaxseed meal, almond flour and canned pumpkin. Flaxseed meal provides lignans, Omega-3 fatty acids and is loaded with thiamine (vitamin B1). It also helps to stabilize blood sugar. As I've mentioned many times, almond flour is a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron and fiber. Pumpkin provides vitamin A and beta-carotene, plus many other nutrients. Weighing in at only 5.6 net carbs per cookie, you can feel good about indulging on this sweet treat because it packs a serious, nutritious punch!

Pumpkin Doodles
(Makes 36 cookies)

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup Splenda granular
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 egg
¾ cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup zante currants (or for color, chopped dried cranberries can be substituted)

Topping Ingredients:
1 tablespoon Splenda
1½ tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. If desired, line cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flours, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest, and pie spice. Stir with a fork to break up any clumps in the almond flour; set aside. Measure the currants (or chopped dried cranberries) into another small bowl and add ½ teaspoon of the flour mixture and toss to coat; set aside.

3. Prepare the topping by placing the Splenda and powdered sugar in a food processor and grinding into a uniform fine powder. In a small bowl, mix the processed Splenda and sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; set aside. (If you do not have a food processor, grind the Splenda with the back of a spoon until it becomes a finer powder, then mix with the powdered sugar.)

4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening, Splenda and brown sugar with a handheld or standing mixer. Add egg and pumpkin and beat for 2 minutes. With a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients all at once and stir until well combined. Fold in currants or cranberries. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonful into the sugar-spice topping mixture (or a level small cookie scoop). Roll just one side in the sugar-spice mixture and place on cookie sheet with the topping mixture side up. Flatten slightly with palm or bottom of glass. (Tip: If dough is too soft, place in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes and it will be easier to handle.)

5. Bake for 11-13 minutes until bottom is golden brown. (Top will not brown much, so watch carefully.) Remove to wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 61.3 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate, 3.6 g total fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 0.8 g fiber, 1.3 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Note added 11/5/09: I had a few of these cookies leftover and they were beginning to dry out and become a bit stale, so I crumbled them and added one packet of Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Weight Control instant oatmeal and 3 tablespoons firm butter. Using a pastry cutter, I blended the ingredients until they formed coarse crumbs, sprinkled it over a dish of sliced apples and baked it in a 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes. It made the most awesome, fragrant Apple Crisp! I served this quick and easy dessert to my in-laws and they raved.

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