My Favorite Pumpkin Recipes

In my last newsletter, I mentioned all the yummy things I was making with pumpkins, but neglected to give you the recipes. Well here they are!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
The traditional way is to bake the seeds in the oven, but I like to make them in a pan.  It’s so easy: just pour some olive oil on the bottom of a heavy skillet and add your washed and dried seeds when it’s heated.  Add seasonings (I used cumin, hot pepper and a little Himalayan sea salt, but you can use garlic or onion powder, curry or chili powder – use your imagination), then shake and stir until they’re done to your liking. About 20 minutes on medium heat is when you should start checking.

If you want to make them in the oven, rinse and dry them, and then toss them with a little oil, salt and spices.  Lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. The lower the oven temperature, the longer it will take. Figure about an hour at 300 degrees, but check while they’re cooking. You want to take them out as soon as they start to turn brown.

Want a 3rd option? Mix the with a little oil and spices, and put them in your dehydrator to dry! Perfect, and no worries about burning them, either!

By the way, you can also eat the seeds from butternut, acorn, and other winter squashes.

Pumpkin Chai Cookies

My Twitter friend Tali posted this, and since it combined two of my favorite things – pumpkin and chai – I had to try it.  Of course I also had to change it, since I must avoid gluten, and I try to minimize sugar.  Replacing sugar with xylitol is so simple. Xylitol is the same texture and (almost) the same sweetness as sugar, and can be used 1:1 in baking and other recipes.  However, I should warn you that the cheap stuff now being widely sold in supermarkets is made from corn husks, and is NOT the same as what I use. I use true birch sugar.  You can get it from my office.
Anyhow, here is Tali’s original recipe, for all you carefree types.  (Even if you make my version, you might want to check out the picture and description on her blog.)  And below is my modified and more “virtuous” version.  It’s still a delicious treat, promise!

2 1/2 cups gluten free baking mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (I always use either ghee, or butter from grass fed cows)
1 1/2 cups xylitol
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few tablespoons of butter
Approximately 2 tablespoons strong chai (I brewed a few chai teabags in about 1/3 cup of boiling water)
a few tablespoons of xylitol
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and xylitol. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
To Make Glaze: Melt butter in a saucepan, combine xylitol, chai, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until it all blends together. Let cool a little bit to drizzling consistency. You can start with just a little bit of chai, and add as needed, to achieve the right flavor and consistency.  I just made enough to dribble a little bit on each cookie. It’s a great flavor combo!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Muffins

1 ½ cup almond flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
2 tablespoons palm oil
½ cup xylitol
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh baked pumpkin (or winter squash), well packed

In a large bowl combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, xylitol, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves
In a Vitamix puree oil, eggs and pumpkin until smooth
Stir wet ingredients into dry
Place paper liners in muffin pan
Scoop batter into paper liners
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes
Cool for 2-3 hours
Makes 8 muffins

These muffins come originally from Elana Amsterdam, my favorite gluten free blogger. I’ve modified the recipe with changes to make it meet my “tasty/healthy” standards. She comes up with perfectly delicious recipes that are simple, nutritious and always gluten free.  I highly recommend her book The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

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