It's pumpkin spice latte season which means we're loving everything pumpkin over here at Happy Healthy Motivated! These super light and fluffy healthy pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips are everything the title suggests. They've got the most amazing soft cake-like texture and are only 95 calories each. They're amazing for nibbling on while sipping a latte on a cool fall day.
Tricks to making these healthy pumpkin cookies
When baking, I know a lot of people mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl then stir them together before mixing in the chocolate chips...but I've never been a fan of that method. I get it when there's an obvious purpose - like creaming the butter and sugar together first. Or beating the eggs so they grow in volume. But I rarely see the point in keeping things separate when it comes to cookie dough.
That's why I recommend you toss all the ingredients into the same bowl and mix them all up when making these healthy pumpkin cookies. Yes, even the chocolate chips! It saves time, it saves washing up and I found absolutely no difference between mixing the ingredients separately. No one wants to create extra work for themselves for no reason. So I'm giving you permission to go ahead and throw everything in there!
It's more of a cookie batter than a cookie dough
This healthy pumpkin cookie dough is super wet and gooey. It's much more like a cake batter than a traditional cookie dough. I'm just letting you know so when you're in the process of making these cookies, you don't add more flour, thinking you're saving the recipe. Roll with that wet batter and you'll get great results!
The batter shouldn't be so thin that the chocolate chips sink to the bottom. It should be just thick enough so that the chocolate chips stay in place, but it will spread out a little when you dollop it on the baking tray. You definitely won't be able to use a cookie cutter!
Pumpkin pie filling vs pumpkin puree
I find this one a little weird because I live in Europe where pumpkin pie isn't a common thing like it is in the US. But I see a lot of recipes confirming that you need to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. So I thought I'd join in and let you know that, too.
This recipe uses pumpkin puree which is essentially the inside of a pumpkin that's been roasted and blended down. I've never seen pumpkin puree on sale when I live, so I always make my own. If you're a fan of making stuff from scratch and want to make your own pumpkin puree, too, here's a blog post and video showing you how.
This recipe doesn't use pumpkin pie filling. Which is the stuff you pour into a pie crust to make pumpkin pie. While pumpkin puree is purely pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling is pumpkin combined with eggs, evaporated/condensed milk, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. It has a totally different texture, taste and definitely won't result in healthy cookies!
In short, use pumpkin puree to make these healthy pumpkin cookies.
While you definitely can't substitute the pumpkin puree for pumpkin pie filling in this healthy pumpkin cookie recipe, there are a few substitutions you can make. Such as:
Chocolate chips. Yet another thing I struggle to get a hold of where I live! Instead, I simply chop up a chocolate bar and make my own. But you could also make these healthy pumpkin cookies with vegan chocolate chips, raisins or nuts.
All purpose-flour. You can swap this for white whole wheat flour. Don't use regular whole wheat flour because you'll get dense, heavy cookies. I haven't tried this recipe with any other types of flour. But I don't see why it wouldn't work using an equal amount of gluten-free flour and adding in a teaspoon of xantham gum. Give it a whirl!
Coconut oil. You can't taste the coconut oil in these cookies at all. But if you're not a fan or you don't have any, simply use melted butter. I don't recommend adding nut or vegetable oil because it doesn't behave in the same way as coconut oil does and I can't vouch for how the cookies will turn out.
Cinnamon. Don't like cinnamon? Skip it. Or switch it out for another ground spice that you do like, such as ginger or nutmeg.
Things you can't substitute
Pumpkin puree. I know we've covered this several times already. But I really want to drum it in there! You can't substitute pumpkin pie filling for pumpkin puree in this recipe. If you don't have any pumpkin puree, make these 3-ingredient banana cookies or healthy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies instead.
Sugar. A lot of the time - especially in oatmeal recipes - I suggest swapping out sugar for a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. This won't work with these healthy pumpkin cookies. They're cookies and they need some sugar for them to live up to their name. But remember, each cookie is only 95 calories and a tiny bit of sugar won't do you any harm.
Eat them on day one!
A lot of recipes claim to be better after a few days, when the flavours have had time to develop. This is so not the case with these healthy pumpkin cookies. To enjoy the light, soft and fluffy texture, you definitely need to eat them on day one. By day two, they're a little chewy. And by day three, they're really not worth eating.
This recipe makes 12 cookies and each one is just 95 calories. So if you're a family of 4 or so, you shouldn't have a problem in getting through these cookies in a couple of days.
If you know you're not going to be able to eat them in time and you don't want to suffer through super chewy cookies or throw them away, freeze them in a sealed container or Ziploc-style bag instead.
More fall-inspired recipes you'll love
If you loved these healthy pumpkin cookies, here are some more fall-inspired recipes that will leave you drooling:
- Super Easy One-Bowl 85-Calorie Healthy Brownies. The name says it all! This recipe is a great way of using up leftover pumpkin puree, too.
- The Fudgiest Fat-Free Healthy Pumpkin Brownies Recipe in the World. A denser, more fudge-like brownie that also uses pumpkin puree.
- Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. Get your pumpkin spice latte fix in the form of a smooth and creamy, easy-to-make cheesecake!
Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup milk chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
- Place all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until a batter forms. It will be a very loose batter that more closely resembles cake batter than cookie dough.
- Dollop 12 spoonfuls of batter on the baking tray. Each one should be around 1.5 tablespoons of batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just begin to set, but the centres are still soft.
- Leave the cookies to cool on the baking tray for at least 5 minutes. (They'll continue cooking during this time and will firm up a little).