Variations of these cookies – appearing more like clusters – are my favorite guilt-free treat. Let me reiterate, GUILT-FREE!! Packed with fall flavors of pumpkin, banana, oats, raisins and more (i.e. beta-carotene, potassium, whole grains, antioxidants and more) the consistency falls somewhere in between cookie and dense muffin. Refer back to the Banana Bread with Chocolate Chunks and Walnuts post where I share my affinity for healthy recipe substitutions. Here, I use an overripe banana where a cookie recipe would typically call for up to a cup of butter; slashing the total fat count from 176+ grams within the batch (ahh!) to virtually nothing.
The dough is among the most inviting I have seen, a rich pumpkin orange color sprinkled with deep purple raisins and large chunks of bittersweet dark chocolate. Because of the lack of butter fat, the dough will hold its shape once dropped onto a cookie sheet through bake time. Additionally, these cookies tend not to last as long as a regular recipe would when stored in an air tight container. Think about freezing what you may not enjoy within a a day or two. The cookies thaw within a few quick minutes.
For a year-round treat when pumpkin flavor doesn’t strike fancy, use an additional banana where the pumpkin puree calls. Eliminate or switch out the spices so to compliment the new ingredients. Raisins and chocolate chunks can be substituted for any variation of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, butterscotch chips or other confections. And while, yes, these cookies are a healthful treat, it is comparatively so to other baked goods (and dependent on your add-ins). Eating solely these cookies is not a prescribed health regimen - I do not count the pumpkin and banana as a full serving of fruit - but enjoy so without fear that the flavor will be deposited straight to your thighs. Now get baking!
Pumpkin-Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chunk Health Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1/4 c banana, mashed (about 1 medium overripe banana)
1/2 c dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 c old fashioned oats
1 c raisins
1 c bittersweet chocolate baking chunks, 70% cacao recommended (about 6 oz)
1. Preheat oven to 375˚ F. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin puree and banana. Add brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
2. Stir in the flours. Stir in the oats, raisins and chunks.
3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges just start to turn golden brown. *It can be tricky to tell if the cookies are done because they do not change form from dough through bake time. Trust the time and take careful look at browned edges. Let rest for 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.