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October 7, 2013

On Vancouver Island, fall is marked by squash at farmer’s markets, crisp air, and gray, overcast, low skies. When I see all those colorful squashes, my mind turns to baked, roasted vegetables, and spicy, oat-y pumpkin dishes. Last week, my thoughts were filled with pumpkin cookies, so I came up with this recipe.

Filled with fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, these vegan, sugar-free cookies are a warm, comforting fall treat.

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies


  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • 2 cups spelt, kamut or rice flour (add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum if using rice flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats (not instant!)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (made fresh or canned without any additional sweetener or spices)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put maple syrup, oil and vanilla oil or powder in a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, use a fork and beat until combined.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, oats and spices until fully mixed and combined.In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, ginger and maple syrup mixture. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and combine just until the dough is uniform. Add nuts and mix just to incorporate. This dough may be a little more moist than traditional (butter and sugar-based) dough you may be used to.
  5. Take 2-tablespoon amounts in your hand and form into cookie shapes, about 1/3 inch thick. Place on a cookie sheet with ½ to 1 inch between each.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until edges are brown and tops are dry and solid.
  7. Let cook 1-2 minutes on baking sheets and transfer to a cooling rack.

Note: These are perfect to indulge in with hot chocolate after a hike, a run, or a cold bike ride home from work. Some substitutions you can try are using different types of squash (delicata or buttercup would be great) or sweet potato. Try different types of nuts, or substitute raisins, dry cranberries or chocolate chips – or a combination of nuts, fruit and chocolate! Add a teaspoon of orange oil for an extra Christmas-y flavor combination.

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Erica Fritch
Erica Fritch

Coming from a distinctly unphysical family background, Erica's introduction to yoga was in 1996 at university with a beginner's yoga series. It quickly became clear that once a week was not enough, so she started a home practice and found progress in her physical body and mentally. She has kept up her practice, at different levels, for the last 17 years, and in 2009, when her daughter was only 2 years old, heard the calling to start teaching. Teacher training at Moksana Yoga Centre in Victoria and then Yoga Therapy at Pacific Rim College were only the beginning of her trainings and learning in yoga. Personal practice, continuing education, and hours of teaching have all led her along the path of the yogi - a path that she has no illusions about finding the end of yet!