These pumpkin oatmeal breakfast cookies are a healthy way to get your family started in the morning with all the best tastes and smells of the fall season.
The most important meal of the day?
Ever since I was first introduced to oatmeal breakfast bars, I've been in love with the very idea of a healthy breakfast cookie. Ideally, everyone sits down at the table on a busy weekday morning and enjoys a hearty meal filled with high quality protein and whole grains. Hahahahahaha ?
There's been some disagreement in recent years over whether or not you can start your day properly without breakfast. They used to call it “the most important meal of the day,” but I think a bunch of nutrition scientists decided that you can probably skip it. I have a feeling that you're definitely better off skipping it if you're just going to eat a super sugary cereal.
In my house, my kids are getting older. Two of the three are in middle school, and one in high school. They don't want to wake up extra early in the morning, and I don't want to argue with them.
I also don't want to get up even earlier just to make what I will forever be convinced is the best brain food in the world: eggs. ? But what if I could pack whole grains and eggs into a neat little package—without any rice flour, and without any refined sweeteners?
Adding pumpkin flavor the easy way
These make-ahead pumpkin oatmeal breakfast cookies are a riff on my standard oatmeal breakfast cookies. This time, though, the cookies are made with plenty of warm fall pumpkin spices and canned pumpkin.
Most of my pumpkin baking recipes make liberal use of pumpkin butter instead of regular canned pumpkin since baking with pureed pumpkin itself usually adds too much moisture and too little flavor. Since these breakfast cookies are designed for a weekday morning, I wanted to keep them as simple as possible—but I didn't want to sacrifice flavor.
I found that cooking the coconut sugar, ground spices, and pureed pumpkin in the recipe for just a few moments on the stovetop serves two very important purposes. It deepens the pumpkin flavor in both the puree and the spices. Plus, it reduces the moisture in the packed pumpkin just enough that the breakfast cookies are
Cooking the mixture briefly also reduces the moisture in the packed pumpkin just enough that the breakfast cookies are chewy, and not fluffy. I find that, when they're fluffy, they just aren't as satisfying as a nice, chewy breakfast cookie.
I like to mix in sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds and a few raisins, but you can use whatever mix-ins you like best (even miniature chocolate chips, if you're feeling generous). I buy all of the mix-ins at my local Trader Joe's, since they have the best prices on everything, especially on raw nuts which can be super pricey if you're not careful.
Ingredients and Substitutions
As usual, unless I specifically indicate otherwise, I haven't tested this recipe with any of these substitutions. But I know many of you have other dietary restrictions, and I'd like to make things as easy as I can with these, my best educated guesses.
Egg-Free: I haven't tried making these pumpkin oatmeal breakfast cookies egg-free, but my best guess is that 2 “chia eggs” (each chia egg is made by mixing 1 tablespoon ground chia flour with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water and allowing it to sit until it gels) might work.
Dairy-Free: They’re already dairy-free! Thank you, coconut oil. Just be sure anything you mix in is also dairy-free, if that's something you need to be.
Oats: If you’re wondering if oats are a gluten free grain, certified gluten free oats in the U.S. are gluten free indeed! See my Ultimate Guide To Going Gluten Free for a complete discussion on the topic. You cannot replace them with anything else in this recipe, as it has absolutely no other flour or grain, and is mostly oats.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you can't find pumpkin pie spice, it's simply a mixture of warm fall spices that we associate with, well, pumpkin. You can make your own by mixing these ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Click play ▶️ to watch me make these breakfast cookies in this super simple how-to video
If it helps you to visualize the process, then I'm here for you! Then, it's your turn.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
1/2 cup (120 g) pure packed pumpkin
1 cup (120 g) coconut palm sugar (can replace with packed light brown sugar by weight)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups (125 g) certified gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups (180 g) certified gluten free oat flour (I grind my own from old-fashioned rolled oats)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces miniature dried fruit, raw pumpkin seeds, and sliced raw almonds (plus more for sprinkling)
5 tablespoons (70 g) virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice, and whisk to combine well. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Allow the mixture to simmer for 20 seconds more before removing it from the heat and setting it aside to cool until no longer hot to the touch.
In a large bowl, place the oats, oat flour, baking soda and salt, and mix to combine well. Add the dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, and almonds, and toss to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the oil and eggs, and mix to combine. Add the cooled pumpkin and sugar mixture, and mix to combine. The dough will be very thick and sticky. Divide it into 10 equal portions on the prepared baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart from one another. I used a medium ice cream scoop. With wet fingers, press down on top of each piece of dough to spread into a disk. Sprinkle some more pumpkin seeds and/or almonds on top of each piece of dough.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until firm to the touch and set in the center (about 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet until firm. Serve immediately, or wrap in waxed paper and store in the freezer. Defrost at room temperature before enjoying.
Originally published on the blog in 2011. Completely revised and updated to make much more healthy, with no all purpose gluten free flour at all.