Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies with Vegan Caramel Icing
One of my most vivid memories is arriving at our house after traveling back from college for fall break, walking through the back door and being instantly overwhelmed by the incomparable comfort of being home. There would be a fire in the fireplace, soup (creamy potato, without fail) on the stove, meatballs in the crockpot, and pumpkin cookies on the counter. Always these pumpkin cookies. They were a fall fixture in our house, as much a part of the season as jack-o-lanterns and Halloween costumes.
My mom is no stranger to cookies. She believed strongly then and continues to this day, that any holiday entertaining is incomplete without the Christmas cookie tray. So come December she bakes away, filling cookie tins with chocolate chip and sugar cookies and Russian tea cakes and chocolate peanut butter blossoms. But in the fall, before there is an expectation of a holiday cookie assortment, pumpkin cookies are king. They are delightfully soft and cakey with sweet pops of raisins throughout and a little cloud of caramel icing slathered on top. This recipe is adapted from Mom’s, to be wheat and dairy free and I am blissfully excited to say they are actually every bit as good as the original.
I kept my icing on the runny side so I could do more of a drizzle instead of a shmear, but if you prefer the cloud of caramelly goodness, just add more powdered sugar to thicken it up. The first time I made this recipe, I ate 95% of them……by myself. After the second batch, my husband told me that I cannot make them again because they are so addictively good that any attempt at portion control is doomed from the get go. Cookies will keep well for several days in a sealed container….if they last that long.
- 1 cup palm shortening
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used King Arthur Measure for Measure blend)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or raisins
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk refrigerated for at least 4 hours ahead of time
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 cups powdered sugar
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 2. Cream together white sugar and palm shortening until light and fluffy, using a stand or hand mixer.
- 3. Add eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Mix well.
- 4. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients except nuts/raisins. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat together until well combined. Fold in nuts and/or raisins.
- 5. Drop cookie dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, using two spoons or a cookie scoop. Aim for approximately 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie.
- 6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool.
- 1. Open the can of coconut milk. After refrigerating the can for several hours, the cream should have separated from the water. Measure out 5 tablespoons of coconut cream and reserve the rest of the cream and all of the coconut water for another use.*
- 2. Melt coconut cream and brown sugar in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- 3. Once cooled, whisk in vanilla, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt. For a runnier glaze, I used 1 cup of sugar. If you want a thicker icing, add more sugar, in increments of 1/4 up until you reach the consistency you like.
- 4. Ice cookies and store in a sealed container.
- *Not sure what to do with the rest of your coconut milk? Try adding it to coffee, smoothies, or oatmeal.