Thursday, October 27, 2011

Recipe for Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cookies with Almonds and Coconut Oil

These delicious Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cookies are my kind of Halloween Cookies!

Everywhere I look on the internet these days I'm seeing Halloween cookies.  I'm talking about those traditional frosting covered, nicely-decorated, Jack-O-Lantern or goblin-shaped sugar cookies that moms bring to school on Halloween day.  Halloween-themed sugar cookies may be fun for kids but they've never really been my thing, and for something tasty to eat on Halloween I'd choose these Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cookies with Almonds and Coconut Oil over traditional sugar cookies every time.

These cookies are made with Splenda or Stevia In-the-Raw Granular, and they have ingredients with some nutritional value like whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, canned pumpkin, and almonds.  I used coconut oil for the fat, which is an ingredient that's been getting a lot of buzz the last few years.  When I started hearing about coconut oil I didn't pay too much attention because it wasn't allowed for The South Beach Diet, but The South Beach Wake-Up Call talks about new medical research showing coconut oil may be better than previously thought.  This is my first time using it and I'm barely learning about the different types of coconut oil, so if you're skeptical (or don't want to pay the price) you can substitute a trans-fat free margarine instead.  Of course it's a free world, so if you want to make the cookies with sugar, butter, and white flour, or even put orange frosting on them, be my guest! 

Here's what coconut oil looks like.  It's a solid at room temperature and is supposed to be the lowest-fat type of oil with significant health benefits (or not, depending on whom you believe!)

Whisk the coconut oil to make it soft, and then whisk in the sweetener and egg.

Then mix in the canned pumpkin puree and vanilla.

In a larger bowl combine the whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder.

Mix the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients.

I used a whole cup of slivered almonds, but you could get by with less.  I chopped them roughly with a chef's knife so some were still whole and some were chopped.

Mix the nuts into the cookie dough.  It will be stiff, but try to get them evenly mixed in.

I used a tablespoon to scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough.

Then I smashed them down with a fork.  (The dough is sticky, so smash them gently so they don't stick.)

Bake 25-27 minutes, or until they're starting to brown on the bottom and feel firm to the touch.  Let cookies cool 10-15 minutes before eating.

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cookies with Almonds and Coconut Oil
(Makes 22-24 medium-sized cookies; recipe created by Kalyn)

1 1/2 cups Splenda or Stevia In-the-Raw Granular (or use sugar if you prefer)
3/4 cup Coconut oil (or use trans-fat free margarine or butter if you prefer)
1 large egg
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C almond flour (almond flour is more finely ground than Almond Meal, but I'm guessing either would work)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (contains cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, mace, and cloves)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 - 1 cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Put coconut oil (or other fat) into a medium bowl and whisk for a minute until it softens, then whisk in the sweetener and egg.  Add pumpkin and vanilla and whisk or stir until it's well combined.

Put whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder into a slightly larger bowl and stir to combine.  Add the pumpkin mixture and stir until wet and dry ingredients are combined.  Add nuts and continue to mix until they are evenly mixed into the dough.

Use a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to scoop out rounded balls of dough and place on cookie sheet; then gently smash the balls with a fork until the cookie are about 3/8 inch (1 cm.) thick.  (The dough is sticky, so smash gently so they don't stick to the fork.)  Bake 25-27 minutes, or until cookies are firm and starting to brown on the bottom.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.

I know the cookies freeze well because I had to put mine in the freezer so I would stop eating them!

South Beach Suggestions: 
If you're making these cookies for the South Beach Diet, it would be important to use lower-glycemic ingredients like whole wheat pastry flour and Splenda or Stevia.  The position of South Beach is not clear regarding coconut oil, but I would use either that or trans-fat free margarine (not butter).  Even with those ingredients, these cookies are relatively high in fat and calorie dense, so  use portion control and limit to phase three (or a once-in-a-while treat for phase two) for South Beach Dieters.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas with Pumpkin:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with with Pecans from Kalyn's Kitchen
Low-Sugar Pumpkin and Apple Crumble from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies from Gluten-Free Goddess
Pumpkin Cookies with Butterscotch Chips from Joy the Baker
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vintage Mixer
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!


  1. Oooo can't wait to try these! Would it be lower sugar to get whole pumpkins and make the filling yourself?

  2. Amanda, just checked the can and the 1 cup of pumpkin puree only has 8 grams of sugar, so not sure it can get much lower than that. I just didn't dare call the cookie sugar-free because I knew there was some natural sugar in the pumpkin but they're pretty low in sugar.

  3. AFAIK when you buy regular pumpkin puree, they don't add anything to it like sugar or salt - it's just pumpkin. You just have to make sure you get regular pumpkin and not "pumpkin pie filling".

  4. Calophi, that's true and I did say that in the recipe. (And I had to think hard to figure out what AFAIK meant; that must mean I am old!)

  5. Kalyn, I love that recipe. Just started using coconut oil in my kitchen, too. I will definitely have to try these cookies! Thanks.

  6. So fun to see you baking. We need to pick a date to make bagels.

  7. Kirsten, I am intrigued by the coconut oil. I thought it worked well in the cookies.

    Barbara, yes, that would be fun.

  8. I definitely believe in the health benefits of coconut oil and I think these cookies sound like a must-have this autumn!

  9. I've never used coconut oil, so thanks for this recipe that gives me a place to start. Can you buy coconut oil in the supermarket, or is it a specialty store (or health food store) item?

  10. I have yet to try coconut oil, but am definitely intrigued. The flavors in these cookies sound so satisfying.

  11. Yay for cookies:) These look great! I need to try coconut oil.

  12. I love coconut oil and have been using it for months now in my kitchen. I buy mine in regular-sized jars (think peanut butter) at Vitamin Shoppe, but I know it's available at GNC and the like.

    I use it to season my cast iron pans - it works amazingly! In terms of cooking, it's great for stir-frying veggies, and it's amazing in homemade whole wheat tortillas.

    But these cookies look divine! And oh look, I happen to have an open can of pumpkin puree!

  13. Thanks all the chiming in about the cookies and about coconut oil. I do see it in my regular store by the oil, although if you read the links in my post it sounds like "virgin" coconut oil is the least processed and best so you might have to go to Whole Foods for that. I'm definitely intrigued by it.

  14. Love these!! I've never baked with coconut oil before but I'm intrigued.

  15. Well, I just thought I would share....
    I went to my kitchen to see if I could make these tonight without going to the store.
    I measured out the remainder of my pumpkin: 1 cup. I measured out my remaining coconut oil: 3/4 cup. I measured out my sweetener: 1.5 cups.

    Thank you, Kalyn, for obviously crafting this recipe with me and my kitchen in mind. They're in the oven now, can't wait to try them! :)

  16. Marie, it sounds like you were *meant* to make them!

  17. I've been baking with coconut oil over the past year when my son was found to be allergic to dairy. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which are supposed to have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Although coconut oil is high in saturated fat, the lauric acid it contains is supposed to help prevent high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. I have found coconut oil in Indian grocery stores too, not sure if it's virgin, but it's a lot cheaper than the kind they sell at Whole Foods. There's also something called coconut butter, which is not the same as coconut oil (I learned that when I bought it by mistake).

  18. Jeanette, thanks for sharing your knowledge. It's definitely something I'd use again, especially for baking.


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