Pumpkin Spice Dehydrator Cookies (AIP-friendly)

May 23, 2012 in Categories: , , , by

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One of the hardest aspects of eating paleo is the feeling of being deprived of treats.  Fortunately, there are hundreds of recipes out there for paleofied versions of our old favorites: cookies, cakes, ice cream, bread…  Most of these recipes rely heavily on almond flour, starchy root vegetable flours, eggs, flaxseed and other nuts and seeds for both flavor and for chemistry.  So what about those of us on the Autoimmune Protocol?  It is an enormous challenge to create a treat that contains no eggs, no nuts, no seeds, no starchy flour substitutes, only sweetens with honey, and still tastes good!  But I’ve done it!  I’m not sure what inspired me to try these cookies in my Food Dehydrator, but I’m glad I did.  They are soft and cakey with a wonderful pumpkin pie flavor.  I’ve tried these both with canned pumpkin and fresh pumpkin puree (I had some in my freezer leftover from last fall).  They taste better with fresh pumpkin, although canned was good too.  As an alternate to canned pumpkin, and if you can’t find fresh pumpkin, you could make these with butternut squash puree (roast or steam until cooked and then blend).

Note:  The spices used below are not all AIP spices.  Nutmeg is a seed spice, so to make these for the strictest version of the AIP, substitute mace for the nutmeg.  Cardamom and allspice are berry/fruit spices.  Cinnamon is a great substitute for cardamom and either mace or cinnamon (or a combination) is a good substitute for allspice.

How I make my pumpkin puree:  In early November when pumpkins are cheap and everywhere, I buy a bunch.  I cut them into quarters, scoop out the seeds and cut off the stems, and then lay them flesh side up on cookie sheets and fill my oven.  I bake at 350 until they are cooked (1-1½ hours depending on how big your pumpkins are).  I let them cool to room temperature, then scrape the flesh off the rind with a spoon into a big bowl.  I either mash by hand with a potato masher or give it a quick blend with an immersion blender.  I typically freeze in 1½ to 3 cups servings for baking throughout the year.

A note on coconut cream concentrate:  I have used both Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate and Let’s Do Organic Creamed Coconut.  They are the same thing.  I find it easier to use Tropical Traditions simply because it comes in a jar.  For either, when you first open your jar/bag, heat the coconut cream concentrate by placing the opened jar (or emptying the contents of the bag into a glass jar) in a big pot of hot water until the creamed coconut is soft enough to mix thoroughly.  Remove the jar and store in your pantry.  Coconut butter is also another name for the exact same thing.

This recipe makes 12 cookies.  I store them in the fridge (but I think they would be fine at room temperature if you were going to eat them within a couple of days).

Pumpkin Spice Dehydrator Cookies AIP-friendly


1.    Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
2.    Place Fruit Roll Sheets in your Food Dehydrator (alternately, you can cut parchment paper and place on your dehydrator trays).
3.    Spoon heaping spoons of batter (about 2 Tbsp per cookie) onto your Fruit Roll Sheets (aiming for 12 cookies per batch).  Shape the blobs of batter by flattening out with the back of a spoon until the cookies are about 2” in diameter and about ½” high.
4.    Dry for 12-16 hours, until cookies have a slightly crisp outside and cakey inside (or dry longer for a crisper cookie).  I prefer to remove the cookies from the fruit roll sheet after 10-12 hours and place the cookies on the dehydrator tray so the bottom dries more evenly.
5.    Enjoy!


These sound delicious! Is there a way to make your own Coconut Creme? Could you also cook these in a regular oven (since a dehydrator remains on my wish list, rather than in my kitchen:)?

I haven’t tried this myself, but you can make your own coconut creme by processing dried coconut in a blender or food processor (similar to making homemade nut butters). It does takes a while, but you can add a little bit of coconut oil to help the process along.

I think these would work in the oven on its lowest setting. I’m not sure what time to suggest. Usually drying in an oven takes a bit longer than a dehydrator (even though the oven is warmer, the air isn’t circulating). If you figure out the right timing for the oven, please comment back and let everyone know!


I make my own coconut butter all the time. I use Let’s Do Organic Shredded Coconut (cheap on Amazon if you subscribe) and process it in my food processor for 10 minutes or so, no oil needed.

I just tried baking these in the oven (a fan-assisted oven) and found that leaving them on 100 C (which is ca 210 F) for about two hours made them nice and crispy/gooey on the outsiden and soft and cakey on the inside.
I also tried baking them in the oven on a very low setting (ca 50C) but it took nearly 10 hours to get them anything close to crispy on the outside so that isn’t very economical.
I even tried baking them in on my slow-cooker (on the lowest setting) but after several hours they were still very soft so I aborted that attempt.

Oh – and make sure you bake them on a rack and not in a solid-bottomed tray (which I did at first), to ensure the hot air reaches the bottom of the cookies to get as much gooey-crispy goodness as possible!
Or to avoid the cookies sticking to your rack, first bake them for a short time on baking paper in a tray until the top gets crispy, then turn them over (with the crispy, dry side down) and carry on baking them on a rack.

My dehydrator has an on/off switch and that’s it. But it’s a 400W model, so that’s probably a lower setting for yours (but I would totally try it on a higher setting and then just see if they’re ready way earlier!).

Any other ideas? I’m allergic to sesame, almond and coconut so far… on SCD/AIP protocol. I’m supposed to try adding in pumpkin but I am not sure what to make with it and eating it out of the can sounds rather unappealing 😛

Maybe try ground chia seeds mixed with water to make a paste?? Or make your own nut butter with a nut you can have, like cashews.

I set out to make this recipe but there was no pumpkin available in the shops (pumpkin isn’t as common in Australia and we certainly don’t have premade purée or canned pumpkin)and i couldn’t find any coconut cream concentrate around at the moment). I used 1/3 cup of sifted coconut flour and 5 TBS coconut oil instead of concentrate and a cup of applesauce instead of pumpkin (are apples AIP and SIBO-safe?… I’m easing into AIP and SIBO-safe foods instead of cold-turkeying so I’m not up on all the danger foods yet). I switched the spices around to apple pie spices (heaps of cinnamon, some cloves, some mace and some vanilla) and they turned out delicious! Like apple pie and apple crumble both simultaneously impregnated a cookie. Lovely and cakey like you said! Thanks for the inspiration!

Chocolate apple dehydrator cookies
½ cup Coconut Cream Concentrate
¼ cup Honey
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coco powder
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinammon
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp cloves

I am allergic to coconut. I have been on many paleo websites, and EVERYONE uses coconut for EVERYTHING!! Do you think olive oil is a good substitute for this?

Check out my decadent dark chocolate cookies. nut-free and coconut-free. 🙂 For these, can you do a seed butter? I’m not sure if olive oil would work on it’s own (the other aspect of coconut butter is the fiber which helps hold it together).

Good morning, and thanks for the quick reply. Unfortunatly, I have become allergic to all tree nuts, seeds, most fruits and veggies. I am seeing an alt med chiropracter, and she has put me on the AIP. I didnt realize how terrible I felt, until i stopped eating all thngs that were not good for me. She recently said I can try gluten free oats, and plain wild rice. I know neither of these items are paleo-friendly, but I am going to try and use the oats, in many different ways and see how I feel. The dr says I have “leaky gut” and candidia. I also was dx with PCOS at around 14, and now I’m 33, so I guess this was a long time coming. I love your site, and thanks for all the inspiration to get my son and husband on board. Its so much fun to see them eat butternut squash pancakes, with cooked apples on top instead of syrup, AND LIKE IT!!

Coconut flour is very difficult to substitute and you will not get the same result with other AIP flours like sweet potato or plantain. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Allergic to coconut and sesame seeds. Any other chances for substitutions for these two ingredients? My hands are tied with multiple allergies for my son….

Well, coconut works because of the fat but also the fiber. What about trying whatever fat you aren’t allergic too and adding some extra pumpkin? You might have to dehydrate a little longer…

Woo Hoo – I got my new dehydrator & the first load is drying… Pumpkin Spice Dehydrator Cookies of course. Thanks for the recipe & the inspiration!
I hope to try SophieE’s applesauce version also.

Oh here’s a super weird AIP and starch-free dessert custard thing that I had last night based on leftovers. Boiled lamb brains and steamed cauliflower pureed with fat of choice (coconut oil, ghee, cocoa butter etc) then flavoured with cinnamon and mace and sweetened with whatever you like (i used maple syrup). Offal for dessert is pushing it though I guess :p

I live in Australia. Most of the butchers here either have it in the freezer section in packs of 4-8 or will order it in for you if they don’t. I’ve heard that in other countries you can’t get CNS-stuff because they worry about prion diseases. I don’t know if that’s the case in the US.

I’m currently trying my oven for these cookies. I am just using the lowest setting which is 170, and putting the oven on the convection setting. I’ll see how they turn out!

We are moving to Australia for a six months. We will have to try the lamb brains dessert! My kids will love that they are eating brains!

Sarah, we just made these yesterday. We actually doubled the recipe. We use our own pumpkin puree. We have had them in our dehydrator for over 16 hrs set at 135. There is absolutely no crunch to them though. They’re closer to a fruit leather consistency. Any ideas?

: (
Ours were not cakey at all. Leathery might be the wrong word since they weren’t too chewy to eat, just more of a soft-dried-fruit consistency….still very dark in color. We checked them a few different times throughout the dehydrating process and they never really changed. I’m just stumped on what the difference might be. We’re going to try again, as we were hoping to enjoy them Christmas Eve/Day. I’m curious if they need a higher heat? Lower? Hmmm.

Sarah, thank you for taking the time to respond. From the information I was able to find it looks like a 400W dehydrator will produce about 160-170º F temp. We’ll try that next time.

I just made these last night in my electric oven at 170 F. Perfect texture as you described! Yummy for breakfast!

I haven’t tried them in the oven, but if it has a low temperature setting (around 150F), then about the same amount of time. You could try them at 200F and check after 2-3 hours to see how they’re doing. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Delicious! Just ate my first! Thank you for these. I used acorn squash, plenty of grated fresh ginger, lots of cinnamon and a little mace. Only used a tbsp of wildflower honey and found that was plenty since I haven’t had any sweeteners for a year. Until five minutes ago. The house smelled great too. Hard to stop at two, I want to eat the whole batch but I’ll use my restraint. It’ll be nice to have these for traveling.

Hm..I am making these now, but I think by ‘coconut cream’ you mean coconut butter. I used coconut cream – the thick part when you open a can – and they are melting into oblivion in my dehydrator. I think that is what another reader did when she said they look like fruit leather. Maybe a more detailed descriptor for coconut cream is needed. They smell good, though! I’ll have to try them again with coconut butter.

Sarah’s recipe does use coconut cream, not coconut butter. You can find her notes on the brands she uses, which may work better than scraping the cream out of a can of coconut milk, above the recipe. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

These are wonderful! Thank you Sarah! I loved how my apartment smelled like Thanksgiving while they were in the dehydrator, too. 🙂

Is there a way to make these with a normal oven? I do not own a food dehydrator. They sound fantastic I would love to try and make them. (Sorry if this question was already asked)

I think these would work in the oven on its lowest setting. I’m not sure what time to suggest. Usually drying in an oven takes a bit longer than a dehydrator (even though the oven is warmer, the air isn’t circulating).

Is there any way you could sub the coconut concentrate for coconut oil? Coconut milk,butter, and cream give me terrible stomach trouble (fructose malabsorption).

I made these. Mine had a consistency like those super soft caramel candy you can get at some Mexican restaurants here in Texas (though I haven’t eaten any in a long time). Or it was like a cross between that texture and a soft cookie. I liked it. I thought the flavor was good.

I used two cans of pumpkin, one box of coconut cream and molasses instead of honey (gives it a darker, richer flavor). Added cherries and some nuts. Very good. Will continue to play around with this recipe with different nuts and berries. Love it! Paleo Mom’ recipes always turn out well for me. Thank you!

¾ tsp Ground Nutmeg
¾ tsp Ground Allspice
¼ tsp Ground Cardamom
How are those 3 spices AIP-friendly when you just posted (in 2012) about which ones to avoid.
And, if mustard and nutmeg being cooked/roasted are the problem, then what about seeds and nuts being bought as raw, and not roasted or cooked in anyway?
I ask ’cause I know I’m having reactions to the nightshades of Tomatoes, Potatoes, and definitely peppers, I always avoid the hot and chili peppers, ’cause they’d almost always give me instant running to the bathroom. But, even sweet bell peppers are hazardous, and in order for me to cut them entirely out while living with my family, who are completely ignorant of what Nightshades do and such, I’d have to basically cook all of my own food, which I somewhat already have to do when something is encased in wheat.
And, if I can’t have roasted nuts, then that just limits me even more on what I can bake with almond or other nut flours, I don’t have any skin problems when I eat nuts, the main thing I’m concerned about is the nightshades.

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