If you love pumpkin, then you'll love these gluten free pumpkin cookies! They're soft, cakey, and free of the top 9 allergens so everyone can enjoy them!
These gluten free pumpkin cookies are adapted from a recipe that my mom used to make when I was growing up. The original recipe included wheat flour, eggs, and butter - ingredients that are now on our “do not eat” list due to food allergies.
What I love about these cookies is they are soft and cakey, almost like the best part of a muffin - the top!
To make these free of common allergens, I use a few special ingredients and others that you will have in your pantry already.
- Flax "Egg" - Making a flax "egg" is easy! Just mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes until it is thickened (like the consistency of a beaten egg). It works great as an egg replacer in cookies!
- Gluten free flour - When baking gluten free, you need a blend of gluten free flours and starches to mimic the gluten in wheat flour. I used to mix my own when all-purpose blends weren't as easy to come by. But now, I usually use Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) - If you have food allergies, be sure to check labels for advisory statements like "May contain traces of..." as this is fairly common. And, if you're allergic to tree nuts, you might wonder if you can have nutmeg. The answer is, yes, nutmeg is actually a seed and not considered a nut at all.
- Dairy free margarine - I like Earth Balance Buttery Spread for baking. The one pictured is dairy free but does contain soy. If you're allergic to dairy and soy, Earth Balance makes a dairy and soy free spread, too (it has a red label). If you can have dairy, feel free to use butter.
- Canned pumpkin - Make sure you're using plain pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling which often has added spices.
- Granulated sugar
For the frosting (optional)
- Powdered sugar
- Dairy free milk or water
How to make them
First, start by making the flax "egg". This allows time for the flaxseed meal to soak up the water and become the consistency of a beaten egg.
Next, add all of the dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) to a mixing bowl and mix well.
Next, you'll mix all of the wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. I like to use my Kitchenaid mixer for the job. Once the wet ingredients are all mixed together, add the dry ingredients and mix until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough.
Now that the dough is mixed, you're ready to drop the dough onto a cookie sheet!
I use a large cookie scoop that holds three tablespoons of dough which makes a fairly large cookie, about two and a half inches in diameter. This recipe makes about 24 cookies.
Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes in a preheated (350 degree) oven.
These cookies taste great right out of the oven without any frosting at all. But if you want to make them pretty (and even sweeter), you can add a simple powdered sugar frosting.
Start by sifting 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Then add 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon dairy free milk or water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Mix well making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to get all of the powdered sugar incorporated.
This frosting is very simple in that it only uses three ingredients but getting the right consistency can be tricky. It should be spreadable but thick. If it's too thick to spread, you can add a couple more drops of liquid but, if you add too much liquid, the frosting will run right off your cookies.
When you're frosting, you might feel like it isn't going on smoothly but, as it sits, it will magically become smooth and harden a bit, almost like a candy coating.
Another frosting option is to buy "cream cheese" frosting in the tub at the store if it is safe for you. We have used Pillsbury cream cheese frosting which does not contain dairy but does contain soy.
Enjoy these pumpkin cookies with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or apple cider! 🙂
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
- 1 tablespoon flax seed meal
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 2 ½ cups gluten free all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup "safe" margarine such as Earth Balance Buttery Spread, softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated (white) sugar
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon milk substitute or water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flax seed meal and warm water; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, mix the margarine, sugar, pumpkin and flax seed meal mixture until creamy. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until fully incorporated.
- Using a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Transfer cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack or paper towel to cool.
For the frosting
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to a mixing bowl and mix well. You may add additional liquid if the frosting is too thick (only do a drop or two at a time). Spread on cooled cookies and serve.
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