Last month, a few of us Mama’s hopped on a plane and zipped down to Malibu for Mercado Sagrado, a two-day curated indie craft experience. My-oh-my, what a treat it was to trade cloudy Portland skies for some good ol’ SoCal sunshine. Not having spent nearly enough time in these parts, I was blown away by the beauty that awaited us. Don’t get me wrong, I love Portland with my whole heart, but I could spend a lifetime bearing witness to those gorgeous Malibu sunsets. Not only did we soak up plenty of Vitamin D-rich sunshine, we also introduced a lot of new folks to our products, and made some new friends along the way. I kind of fell in love. The event itself was held outdoors at Paramount Ranch, and the whole set-up made me feel like I was taking part in some kind of modern-indie-western film. It was the perfect backdrop for this ethereal event, and the word “otherwordly” came to my mind more than once.
I had been working on a new holiday cookie recipe the week before the event, so I grabbed the remnants of the latest batch on my way out the door. I always head to the airport armed with plenty of snacks, and these cookies hit the spot when we were at about 36,000 feet above the earth’s surface. Paired with some nitro cold-brew coffee from Stumptown (gotta love the options at PDX), this girl was in heaven.
I wanted to give this recipe another test run before I sent it your way, and finally had time to do that yesterday. Honestly, I think I love them even more this time around. Maybe it’s the snow on the ground, or the comforting aroma of the wafting spices, but these cookies hit a sweet spot that warmed me from the inside out. Soft and vaguely reminiscent of the oatmeal-cinnamon cookies I used to enjoy as a child, I devoured two quickly with a glass of warm almond milk. I’ve been wanting to use our Mayan Spice Cacao-Nectar bar in a cookie recipe for a while now, and this one was the perfect match. While I love the structure of the Mesquite Chocolate Chunk Cookies I posted last month, there’s something about the softness of these pumpkin cookies that feels like a warm hug. For bonus points, I made them 100% grain-free for all you Paleo lovers out there. I can see them being the perfect match for holiday eggnog, and a welcome addition to any holiday dessert table.
Pepita Pumpkin Spice Cookies:
2 ½ cups raw pepita “flour” (see Notes below)
2 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ T. ground flaxseed
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. nutmeg
⅛ tsp. cloves
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup melted coconut oil
1 T. vanilla extract
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 Honey Mama’s Mayan Spice Cacao-Nectar Bar, cut into rough chunks
Mix pepita flour through cloves in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract until fully blended. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir to mix well. Fold in shredded coconut and cacao-nectar pieces. Place in refrigerator to firm up, about 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out about 2 T. of dough, roll into a loose ball, and drop onto the baking sheet, flattening slightly. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies a couple of inches apart.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.
I make my own pepita flour by pulsing raw (or sprouted) pepitas in a food processor until they are broken down into a fine meal. The seeds will turn into butter if you let them go for too long, so stop processing just before they reach that point . The texture of your pepita flour will make a huge difference in how your cookies turn out. A flour that is more coarse will produce a batter that is more likely to spread while baking. If the batter is too loose to roll easily into a ball after chilling, this is a good sign that your cookies will spread. They will still taste delicious, you will just need to leave a lot of space between each cookie when placing the dough on your baking sheet. Be sure to watch closely, and potentially adjust the baking time to keep the cookies from burning. I made three batches of these cookies, and they came out different every time, as shown in the photos below. I didn’t prefer one over the other. They all tasted great!
2. Coarse pepita meal: