Pumpkin Pie Cookie Sandwiches with Chocolate Cinnamon Filling (Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free)
These are officially my new favorite treat. Let’s start with the cookie, shall we? Vegan, gluten free, paleo AND refined sugar free, these little guys taste exactly like pumpkin pie filling. The insides are gooey and decadent, with a crispy crunch on the outer edge.
They’re then stuffed with the creamiest, most divine chocolate cinnamon frosting ever. Full disclosure: all of the frosting most definitely did NOT make it into these cookies. My fiance looked over at what point when I was guiltily licking my fingers and chastised me to stop; “you’ll have none left for the photos,” he said. “Arghwagabugga,” I said, my mouth full of cinnamon chocolate goodness. I swallowed, cradling the bowl protectively against my chest. “Go away.”
Spices add a ton of amazing flavor to this recipe, but they also have INSANE health benefits. I’ve always considered spices to be the original superfoods (OG, wha?!), and I seek them out often in even my healthiest recipes, like green smoothies, for their potent effect of both my tastebuds and my body. Let’s dig a little deeper on a few of them, shall we?
Cinnamon’s health properties come from compounds found its oils: cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, among others. One of my favorite health benefits of cinnamon is its ability to stabilize blood sugar – in studies, it was found to both stimulate insulin receptors but also to neutralize a compound that inactivates them, making it a double whammy for blood sugar control. Beyond being wonderful for diabetics, anyone can benefit from the inclusion of cinnamon in desserts, as it will help prevent the typical sugar spike and crash that accompanies eating sweets. Cinnamon is also anti-microbial – in studies, it was found to decrease the presence of food borne pathogens like e.coli (which, unfortunately, has been in the news a ton lately!) for 60 days. Because of this, I love including it in my green smoothies, as greens have one of the highest contamination levels of any food. Finally, breathe in deeply when you’re making these cookies, because simply the scent of cinnamon has been found to boost brain function, and tests are currently being done on its abilities to prevent cognitive decline and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. Plus, it smells like autumn in a spice, and that’s always lovely.
Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices to use in holiday baking. With nutmeg, it’s often worth it to grate it fresh – you buy the whole nutmeg, and use a microplane, zester or fine grater to shave off fresh nutmeg into your batter. It takes almost no effort and the resulting flavor is absolutely spectacular, light years above the pre-grated nutmeg you buy in stores. Nutmeg is known for its ability to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It’s anti-microbial specifically against many of the bacteria found orally that cause halitosis, or bad breath, so eating nutmeg is a great way to stay fresh at all those holiday parties. It’s active compounds, oils called myristicin and macelignan, have been found to reduce the degradation of neural pathways, helping to fight cognitive decline. I love nutmeg in oatmeal, as a dash of interest in savory sauces like bolognese, and in delicious pumpkin treats like these little guys.
- 1 cup creamy, unsalted almond butter
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour then drained well
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all COOKIE ingredients until well combined, then drop by the spoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet (these don't spread much, so they can be quite close). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove cookie sheet from oven and let cool completely before removing cookies from sheet.
- Meanwhile, use a food processor to combine all FILLING ingredients until very creamy. Once cookies are cool, spread a thick layer of FILLING on top of one cookie, then press another cookie on top to make a sandwich. Store on the counter for 2 days, or keep in freezer for an ice cream sandwich cookie! Makes 6 - 8 sandwiches.