If you’re like me and your pants were feeling a little less “comfortable” this morning thanks to 3 days of delicious cottage eats and way too many glasses of wine to count, then you not only wrestled with your zipper this morning, but also the truth that the last long weekend of summer is over. However, contrary to the majority of people who are already lamenting the end of the long, lazy days of summer, I am actually thrilled to once again cozy up with my favourite season – fall!
I happily trade my demin cut-offs and bikinis for the cozier (and much more forgiving) knits, leathers and wools that make up fall’s fashion favourites. And it’s not just the change in wardrobe that excites me, but also the return of some favourite seasonal spices and flavours to my kitchen – including the spice world’s equivalent to the most popular kid in class – Pumpkin Spice.
Thanks to Starbucks (and the #PSL hashtag that’s invading your Instagram) the world can’t seem to shut up about this seasonal flavour, taking over everything from coffee to jello. But despite my love for pumpkin spice, this gal will not be lining up at my local Sbucks for the popular drink, and here is why: It is pretty much the worst coffee drink you can order. Not only is it packed with a million and one ingredients (none of which come from an actual pumpkin), but some are actually deadly, including class IV Caramel Colour which is illegal in high doses due to its connection with lung cancer and leukemia. On top of that – a Grande of this seasonal treat boasts over 50 grams of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup, one of the leading culprits in the rising diabetes and obesity rates. Don’t believe me? Check out this illuminating article by investigative food blogger, Vani Hari, for proof.
Now I know I have just broken your PSL loving heart, but don’t worry – as someone who also loves loves loves this fall flavour I am here to offer you something just as delicious. And bonus? They won’t kill you!
So without further ado, I present you with my Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies! These sugar-free, gluten-free and incredibly low-fat treats are pretty much the cookie equivalent of Liz Taylor walking out of your closet and asking if you want to borrow her diamonds for work. Um – hells yeah!
The aromatic, seasonal spices in these cookies do more than just taste great, especially the cinnamon. Cinnamon is an amazingly powerful spice. Just a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower your bad cholesterol (or LDL); help treat Type 2 Diabetes and manage weight by lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the amount of insulin production in the body; and help ward off bad bacteria (Candida) in the gut, thus reducing inflammation and bloating. And I can pretty much guarantee you already have it in your pantry so you don’t even have to make a trip to the store to start enjoying its benefits!
And flavours aren’t the only thing changing with the seasons: it’s also time to change my playlists! One of my favourite bands of all time is The Shins, and for some reason I love their soft and often haunting melodies even more as the weather turns cold. So say hello to fall by listening to my favourite Shins song, Caring is Creepy, and baking up some deliciously seasonal cookies.
The Natural Blonde
p.s. If you don’t hear from me again I have been silenced by the fat cats at Sbucks. Remember me fondly (and not while sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte).
Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies
- ¾ cup oat flour (certified GF)
- ½ cup rolled oats (certified GF)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar* (optional)
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup mixed raisins, unsweetened dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds
*I found these were sweet enough without any kind of sugar. You can also use 1 Tbsp. powdered Stevia if you want a sweeter sugar-free option.
Preheat oven to 350ºF and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar (if using), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix until well combined and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, pumpkin, and vanilla and stir. Once combined, add to the dry ingredients. Lastly, fold in the raisins, cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
Using a rounded tablespoon, drop dough onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Or just eat them right away. Whatever works for you and your willpower!