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Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting


Big, soft pumpkin cookies are gluten-free and egg-free, filled with the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice, and just sweet enough to let the cream cheese frosting be the star. They’re the kind of cookie that will make you want to throw on a flannel, grab a seat on the porch with a cup of coffee on a cool fall day, and enjoy the heck out of every single bite. These Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting have fall written all of them!

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Holidays or any day – these soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting are a winner.

Seriously, these cookies are crazy amazing – and that’s not always easy to say about gluten-free baked goods made without eggs. Honestly, even if you do not follow a gluten-free or egg-free diet, these cookies will still be a winner! They’re so good.

With the holidays coming you can easily double the recipe to make a big batch and freeze half. I currently have about 2 dozen of these cookies in my freezer ready to be enjoyed. In fact, I’m enjoying one as I write this post! They freeze beautifully and it’s nice to have a few in the freezer for an occasional treat or impromptu cup of coffee when a friend drops by for a visit.

Making these Soft Pumpkin Cookies gluten-free and egg-free makes them suitable for a wide range of special diets. Feel free to dust them with extra pumpkin pie spice or add a few sprinkles for a little pizazz (like these naturally-dyed sprinkles).

Less sugar but all the flavor and fun.

Wondering how these gluten-free, soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting stack up to other recipes of this kind? Our recipe dang near halves the amount of sugar found in those brightly-colored disks of sweetness.  So while not exactly a ‘health food’ (they are a treat, after all) these are cookies that I can feel good about making for family and friends. One taste and I think you’ll agree. Make a batch today and see for yourself just how good they really are!

Ingredients for Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cookie Ingredients:

  • Flax eggs –  this recipe calls for 2 flax eggs which equal 2 Tbsp. flax meal + 6 Tbsp. water. You may substitute 2 whole eggs, however, you may need to add additional flour.
  • Gluten-free all-purpose baking flour – such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1:1 Baking Flour (our favorite).
  • Cane sugar – while this recipe could probably be made with a refined sugar-free sweetener like coconut sugar or date sugar, we wanted to keep this recipe simple, budget-friendly, and made with easy to find ingredients. After all, they are a treat.
  • Pumpkin pie spice – use a pumpkin pie spice blend or use a combination of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
  • Baking powder
  • Sea salt
  • Unsalted butter – for the cookie portion of the recipe, you want the butter to be cold.
  • Pumpkin puree – be sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. No pumpkin? try mashed butternut squash – you’ll hardly know the difference!
  • Vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter – for the frosting portion of the recipe, you want the butter softened.
  • Cream cheese – you’ll also want the cream cheese softened.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin pie spice 
  • Powdered sugar – this recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar. If you want to make the frosting less sweet and reduce the sugar, feel free to use 1/2 of a cup.

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How to make these scrumptious, Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies

  • Step1: Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Step 2: make the flax eggs by combining 2 Tbsp. flax meal + 6 Tbsp. water in a small bowl, whisking to mix, and allow to rest 8-10 minutes until a gel forms.
  • Step 3: In a large bowl add flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and sea salt. Whisk to combine well.
  • Step 4: Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut chilled butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Step 5: Add the flax eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla to the dry mixture then stir with a large spoon until the dough forms into a ball. Pro tip: we like to work the dough into a ball with clean hands). The dough should be smooth to the touch (maybe a hair sticky). If the dough is too wet and sticky, add a little more flour and stir again.
  • Step 6: Roll dough into 28-30 golf ball-sized pieces. Placing them on the two baking sheets.
  • Step 7: Using your hand, gently flatten each ball of dough so that it’s about ¼-inch thick and 2 ½-inches in diameter.
  • Step 8: Place pans in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned and the tops of the cookies are set – rotating the pans back to front (spin them) and top to bottom halfway through cooking time.
  • Step 9: Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before using a spatula to carefully remove the cookies to a wire race. Cool completely before frosting.

How to make Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Place softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a medium bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer).
  2. Beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice and continue to beat at high speed until fluffy.
  3. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and dust with additional pumpkin pie spice or sprinkles

Two Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting dusted with pumpkin spice stacked on a small white plate.

How to store Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Place the cooled cookies in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 10 days. I like to separate the rows with a piece of parchment paper so that the frosting stays smooth. With that said,  the frosting might smush a little so if you do not plan to enjoy these or serve them the day they are baked, I recommend freezing them.

A soft pumpkin cookie with cream cheese frosting in the middle with a large bite taken out of it

How to freezer the Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These are great for stashing in the freezer for when you’re craving something a little sweet or you have an unexpected visitor pop in. They also make for a great last-minute food gift!

To freeze: I like to first place them on a tray in a single layer and place them in the freezer. Once frozen,  transfer them to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. By freezing them first, will prevent them from sticking together making it easier to remove just what you need.

Several pumpkin cookies on a counter topped with cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon

How to make a flax egg

Flax eggs make for a great, budget-friendly, egg-free/vegan alternative in baked goods. Our rule of thumb is that if a recipe calls for 2 or fewer eggs, there is a good chance you could substitute flax egg/s for the eggs in the recipe. While the texture will change slightly as compared to using eggs, the recipe will still be delicious. Because these pumpkin cookies were created to be egg-free, they really do have the best texture. You would never know that they are an egg-free cookie.

To make a flax egg, for every one egg you combine:

1 tablespoon of flax meal (ground flaxseeds) + 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 10 minutes or until a gel, egg-like consistency forms. These Soft Pumpkin Cookies call for 2 flax eggs, so that equals 2 tablespoons of flax meal with 6 tablespoons of water. This is the formula that has worked best for us.

Can I use eggs instead of flax eggs

Now if you don’t have a need to make these cookies egg-free, you can certainly use 2 whole eggs. Because the volume of liquid added may vary between the whole eggs and flax eggs, you may need to add more flour if the dough is too wet or a little water if it is too dry.

A gluten free soft pumpkin cookie topped with cream cheese frosting with a bite taken out being held up to show the texture of the cookie

Other gluten-free pumpkin recipes to try

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These big, soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting are made without gluten or eggs.

  • Author: The Real Food Dietitians
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 30 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies & Bars, Sweets & Treats, Egg-free
Several pumpkin cookies on a slate serving tray topped with cream cheese frosting

Ingredients

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp. flax meal + 6 Tbsp. water) or 2 whole eggs
  • 3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour* such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1:1 Baking Flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 12 Tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Prepare flax egg by placing 2 Tbsp. flax meal + 6 Tbsp. water in a small bowl, whisking to combine and allow to rest 8-10 minutes until a gel forms.
  3. In a large bowl add flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and sea salt. Whisk to combine well.
  4. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the chilled butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Add the flax eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla to the dry mixture then stir with a large spoon until the dough forms into a ball (we like to work the dough into a ball with clean hands). The dough should be smooth to the touch (maybe a hair sticky). If the dough is wet and sticky, add a little more flour and stir again. If the dough is dry, add a splash of water and stir again.
  6. Roll dough into 28-30 golf-ball-sized pieces, placing on two baking sheets allowing enough room so that they won’t touch when flattened.
  7. Using your hand, gently flatten each ball of dough so that it’s about ¼-inch thick and 2 ½-inches in diameter.
  8. Place pans in the oven and bake 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and the tops of the cookies are set – rotating the pans back to front (spin ‘em) and top to bottom (swap ‘em) halfway through cooking time.
  9. Use a spatula to carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Place softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a medium bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer).
  2. Beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice and continue to beat at high speed until fluffy.
  3. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and dust with additional pumpkin pie spice or sprinkles.

Notes

This recipe was tested using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1:1 Baking Flour. Other baking blends containing xanthan gum will likely work as well. If you have good results with a different flour blend, please leave a comment below and share your experience with others.

*Depending on the consistent of the pumpkin puree you use, you may need to add additional flour. The dough should be soft but not sticky where you can’t roll it into a ball. If it is too sticky add 1 Tbsp. at a time of flour.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 165
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Sodium: 165mg
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 1g

Pin now, make later!

 


All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Stacie Hassing

Stacie is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian from rural southern Minnesota where she, her husband and daughter reside with their two pups. She’s a co-founder of The Real Food RDs and content creator of simple and wholesome recipes. She loves all kinds of fitness and has a passion to inspire as many as she can live a healthier and happier life both in and out of the kitchen – the driving force behind the co-development of the The Real Food RDs brand.





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