Paleo (and Vegan) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's the thing: sometimes you need a beer (or 3) and a cookie (or 10).

After 14 months of paleo, my approach to this lifestyle continues to evolve.  My reasons to avoid grain and sugar have certainly changed.  What started as a weight loss plan has changed into a fueling strategy.  Eat good food, lift heavy weights.  Repeat daily.

Yet on occasion,  I just need a treat, whether it comes in a 12 ounce brown bottle or hot off a cookie sheet.  Not that anyone is asking me to justify my treats, but here it goes: Just because it's not "paleo" doesn't mean I can't have any, and just because it is "paleo" doesn't mean I can have as much as I want.

I prefer not to call my treats cheats, but rather choices.  One of the many things I've learned to do in the last 14 months is to think about every food choice I make.  For example, walking through Costco, I ask myself, do I really need that sample just because it's there?  I figure I spare myself at least 500 calories every time I shop there now.  But if they happen to have cubes of horseradish cheddar, I'm gonna eat one, and then have my kids go get me another.

It's a good thing to think about what you put in your mouth.  It's also a good thing not to over think it.  I don't believe there is strength in denying yourself something you want, but there's absolutely no strength in thoughtless consumption.  Both extremes cause stress, and stress is NOT paleo.

So grab yourself a beer, if that's your thing too, and whip up a batch of guilt grain free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  They're also dairy and egg free, so vegans can eat them too!

   paleo pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 tablespoons almond butter
8 dates
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into small bits

Preheat oven to 375.  In a food processor, chop dates until they start to form a sticky puree.  Add remaining ingredients, except for dark chocolate, and mix well.  Add dark chocolate bits and pulse a few times to blend.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet (I like to use my pizza stones - they're still good for something!).  Slightly flatten cookies with palm of hand (this way they look more like cookies and less like "poop", as my children like to call paleo treats).  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Makes about 16 cookies.


  1. Molly, these sound very good! They are right up my alley! I am going to make these for sure. I've been mostly low fat raw vegan since the beginning of September. I say "mostly" because I still eat eggs..and I still do half n half in my coffee. So, as you can see, I am not actually a vegan...I just do my best to eat that way about 95% of the time. The other 5% is cooked veggies, eggs, and on occasion wild caught salmon. I'm feeling awesome and have lost 20 pounds so far. Mostly I eat fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. I don't do dairy, breads or pasta. I've started to incorporate a walk/run program as well. I wanted to a very beginner weight training, but have not got there yet. I, too, will choose to have a sweet treat now and then...just cause. It's funny, because I can actually tell you what those sweet treats have been since I started eating this way...because, like you, I am very aware of what I am eating. I was seriously craving garlic hot wings for weeks and finally just decided to go ahead and order some from the local pub. The wings were delicious...and I've moved on. I no longer crave them. I liked this post because I can relate to what you are saying. Thanks for posting this recipe...I'm sure I will love it!

  2. Hi Molly, here in New York I am looking for comfort food--well actually comfort anything, given what is going on, and any new post from you is always a comfort, so thank you. Looking forward to trying these today, all the best, Julie

  3. Yes, I am a fan of thoughtful consumption as well. And as Bonnie said, I too, find that if I indulge a craving...it goes away...fancy that! I read an interesting article in the latest issue of Scientific American that talked about the benefit of having dessert with your breakfast. I am paraphrasing, obviously, but the gist of the article and study was that people who ate a little something sweet (a cookie, a brownie) alongside their balanced breakfast (had to included protein) lost more weight over time and the speculative reasoning was that they satiated their sweet tooth early in the day and therefore craved less (and ate less cheats/treats) for the rest of the day.

  4. ...and then have my kids go get me another.
    This is why I love your blog!!

  5. i am making these tomorrow.

  6. I am thinking these just might be the thing.
    Some good words Molly.

  7. Those look amazing! I wish they had smell-o-vision on blogs; I'll bet the whole house smelled wonderful when these were baking:-)

    Catching up after a long internet hiatus, so glad to see yours, one of my all-timefavorite blogs still here:-)


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Michelle. Baking with pumpkin and cinnamon always makes the house smell good! Hope you had fun blog surfing after your hiatus.

  8. You have made my month (being vegan and havinbg followed my own little vegan-paleo concoction)!!! Thank you for this. XO

    1. Yay! Though I feared that including the words "paleo" and "vegan" in the title might ruffle some feathers out there, I'm sticking to my guns that the two have more in common than not. I'd love to hear more about your so called concoction. Enjoy!


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