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Pumpkin, Oatmeal, Pretzel, Pepita Cookies with a Vegan Option

I grow and cook my own pumpkins. I am especially fond of Blue pumpkins- blue on the outside and deep, deep orange on the inside- which is perfect for baking.

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I enjoy using pumpkin in a number of ways, such as in Gluten-Free Pumpkin Scones, Penuche Pumpkin Cookies with Optional Penuche Icing (original and gluten free versions), Vegan Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Pumpkin Cookies with Optional Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Icing, Pumpkin Pear Bread with an Almond Streusel Topping, (with original, gluten-free, vegan, and even diabetic versions!), and Diabetic Friendly Pumpkin Spiced Cookies. And there will be more pumpkin recipes coming soon, such as a Fireball Cinnamon Pumpkin Pie!

But after making pumpkin cookies, as listed above, that were slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, I wanted a pumpkin cookie that was crisp inside and out, which is not easy, since I am using a lot of pumpkin. The result: Pumpkin, Oatmeal, Pretzel, Pepita Cookies with a Vegan Option. The pretzels and pepitas add a wonderful crunchy texture to this cookie.

By the way, if you prefer cookies that are crisp on the outside, but chewy on the inside, add the optional egg that is listed in the ingredients. If you want a cookie that is crisp inside and out, omit the egg!


When both volumetric and weight measures are provided, the volumetric measures should be considered approximations. The standard measure for a cup of flour is 120 grams. By volume, this measure will typically be less than 1 cup. When baking, it is always best to use a food scale to measure dry ingredients, especially flour. However, if you don’t have a food scale, sift the flour three times, then spoon the flour into a measuring cup and use the flat edge of a knife to level it off. This should result in a cup of flour that weighs about 120 grams.

This is a very simple cookie to make. I have just a few comments:

Pepitas (the pumpkin seed without the shell), and pretzels give this a delightful crunchy texture. The pepitas need to be baked for approximately 8 minutes to keep them crisp once added to the batter. The salted pretzels should be broken into approximately 1/4″ pieces before stirring into the batter. To do so, place the pretzels in a resealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break them into pieces. Do not crush the pretzels- pretzels should be broken, but should still be “chunky.”

Most commercial canned pumpkin is very watery. To make a crisp cookie, the pumpkin should be fairly dry. To drain the excess water, place the pumpkin in a jelly bag and let the excess water drip out. OR spread several sheets of newspaper on a baking sheet, cover the newspaper with 3 layers of paper towels, and spread the pumpkin on top of the paper towels. The excess water will quickly soak into the paper towels and newspaper. The goal is to dry the pumpkin enough that it will hold a dent without filling with water if a finger is pressed into it.

To get a crisp cookie, the cookie dough should be rolled into a ball and then flattened to about 1/2″. However, the freshly mixed dough is rather sticky. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes to make it firm and easier to roll into a ball and then flatten. Refrigerate the remaining dough between batches. After you flatten the cookie dough, remember to add a LIGHT sprinkling of sea salt for an extra WOW taste!

Cookies ready to bake.
Baked cookies.
Cookies should be lightly browned around the edges and firm to the touch.

Pumpkin, Oatmeal, Pretzel, Pepita Cookies with a Vegan Option

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By Connie Teunis Serves: 46 1-ounce cookies

A delightful pumpkin oatmeal cookie with lots of crunchy pretzels and pepitas, and topped with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.


  • 60 g./ ½ c. Pumpkin Pepitas (the pumpkin seed without the shell)
  • 240 g./ 1 c. Cooked, Pureed Pumpkin, drained
  • 227 g./ 2 sticks/ ½ lb. Unsalted Butter (*See below for vegan alternative)
  • 1 Large Egg, whisked (opt.**)
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 240 g./ 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 160 g./ 2 c. Quick Cooking Oats (not Instant)
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 192 g./ 1 c. Light Brown Sugar (*See below for Vegan alternative)
  • 96 g./ ½ c. Granulated Sugar (*See below for Vegan Alternative)
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • 60 g./ ½ c. Salted Pretzels, broken into approximately ¼” pieces.
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Vegan Option:
  • Substitute 288 g./ 1 ½ c. Vegan Sugar + 1 T. Molasses for the Light Brown Sugar plus Granulated Sugar
  • Substitute 192 g./ 1 c. Butter-Flavored All Vegetable Shortening for the Butter



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pepitas on a sided baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until some pepitas begin to brown. Remove from oven; turn oven off. Cool pepitas to room temperature; set aside.


If the pumpkin puree appears slightly watery, drain the pumpkin. This can be done by placing the pumpkin in a jelly bag and letting the excess pumpkin water drain out. This can also be done by placing several sheets of newspaper on a baking sheet and covering with 3 layers of paper towels. Spread the pureed pumpkin on the paper towels. Let the pureed pumpkin drain until it is no longer watery and will hold a dent without filling with water if a finger is pressed into it.


In a medium bowl, melt the butter or shortening; cool slightly. Add the drained, pureed pumpkin; whisk together. Add the egg, if using, and vanilla; whisk together; set aside.


In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, quick cooking oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugars, and cinnamon. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the well and fold together. Add the broken pretzels and prepared pepitas; fold together. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until the cookie dough can be rolled into balls.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.


For each cookie, roll 1-ounce of cookie dough into a ball, place onto the prepared cookie sheet, and flatten to about ½ “. Space cookies at least 2” apart on the cookie sheet. Top cookies with a light sprinkling of coarse sea salt.


Bake in 325 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes, until cookies are firm when lightly touched. Remove from the oven, let cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minutes, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.


Repeat until all cookie dough has been baked. Makes 46 1-ounce cookies.




**For a cookie that is crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, add the egg. For a cookie that is more crisp inside and out, omit the egg.


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