A Healthier Autumn Cookie (Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Snaps)

When developing this particular recipe I had two goals in mind: to create a healthy cookie as equally desirable to my children as their beloved (yet overly sugar-filled) gingersnap, and to make a prettier pumpkin cookie than the standard lumpy brown drop cookie versions.

These pumpkin spice snaps are a success on both accounts.

I’ve eliminated the white sugar, reduced the butter, added whole-wheat flour and incorporated pumpkin for extra flavor and beta carotene. Raw ginger and freshly ground cinnamon kick in to make these spice snaps live up to their name.

These cookies are soft on the inside, thanks to the pumpkin purée, but are not cakey; they still have that chewy factor that is always desirable in a cookie. Still, don’t expect the same texture as a traditional gingersnap, as the caramelizing of all that white sugar is what give the gingersnap its ‘chew’.

Still, these cookies snap with flavor, and most importantly, my kids are crazy about them. As a bonus? They’re kind of pretty in an old-fashioned way.

Do Ahead: Here’s an interesting observation about these pumpkin spice snaps – they were better on the second day. Warm from the oven, I didn’t love the flavor of the whole wheat flour that came through. But after several hours in an airtight container, the spices and the pumpkin really took over the cookie.

The cookies remained moist for up to three days after baking, and also froze beautifully. So go ahead, make a big batch and store them for a snowy day. After all, winter is just around the corner.

Pumpkin Spice Snaps

If you're really crazy about spicing up your cookies, replace the cinnamon in the recipe with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Spice Blend - a homemade mix of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Desserts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 36 2-inch cookies
Calories: 77kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar plus 1/4 cup for rolling the cookies
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger root peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift together flours, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until creamy, about three minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula a few times to be sure that everything is incorporated.
  • To the butter mixture add: molasses, pumpkin purée, white vinegar, and egg. Beat well.
  • Using a microplane or rasp, grate cube of fresh ginger over the wet ingredients so the pulp and juices fall into the bowl. Mix batter to combine.
  • Add dry ingredients and stir on low speed to combine. Turn off mixer and remove paddle.
  • Roll the dough into 36 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in whole cane sugar and place on a baking sheet, 12 per tray. (This is a good job for kids.)
  • Bake for 8 minutes on the middle and lower shelves of the oven, rotating the pans once midway though the baking time. Cool on a wire rack.


Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.5mg


Are you thinking about holiday baking yet?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. These look so wonderful, I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

  2. Hi Aimée,

    Loved the recipe, and am looking forward to trying it out as well. It sure has come at the right time as it’s Halloween today and my kids are getting all ready for their party.

    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  3. This sound delicious – I love the taste of gingersnaps and it’s wonderful to see a healthier version of my favourite!

  4. Oh yes! These look amazing. I’ve stashed two containers of holiday cookies in the freezer already, and am hoping to make at least one batch a week for the month of November.

  5. Mmm. I want to eat these for breakfast! I won’t, promise. I’m planning on making some pumpkin spice muffins for Thanksgiving. If figure they’re easy, taste good, and will travel well on the drive to my aunt’s house. Now to hope that those of us in the car won’t eat them all on the way. 😉

  6. Those look and sound delicious! Love the fresh ginger in there. Have to try them! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanx Aimee – These look delicious. I’ll def have to try these when my mom is down next week. 🙂

  8. Roxana GreenGirl says

    I love gingersnaps and I bet I’m gona fell in love with these pumpkin spiced snaps! They look great! Thanks for sharing Aimee

  9. I’ve gotten seven (yes, 7) pumpkins from my CSA this year, so it’s pumpkin everything in my world. Pumpkin cookies with molasses & ginger? Next up on my list!

  10. My favorite part of gingersnaps is the cayenne and pepper I put in – I wonder if these would be good with those additions. I’ll have to try it and see! Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Can you please clarify about the amount of ginger? The recipe calls for “1 square inch ginger root”, but that’s just an area. Do you mean a 1″ cube of ginger? Thanks!

  12. I love ginger snaps, but never thought about pumpkin. What a great idea!!

  13. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    I’m digging these cookies big style, Aimee! I wonder how they’d be with maple sugar in the dough and cane sugar for the outside…

  14. That looks so good.

  15. What a perfect recipe! Trying it today!

    • They were delicious, Aimee! The cookies took longer than 8 minutes to bake through and were fluffier than regular ginger snaps, but I’ll surely make them again.

      I also like to roll my ginger cookies in sugar mixed with ground ginger. Even more ginger flavor that way. =)

  16. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says

    My son really loves WW banana cookies, so this is a must try. Holiday baking…getting recipes in order and will be starting soon!!! Today though, I give full attention to popcorn balls. I had them every Halloween as a child.

  17. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) says

    Thinking about holiday cooking? Yes. Doing it? Getting there. These sound scrumptious!

  18. Yay! I have been searching for a healthy cookie alternative. We’ve loved and eaten Happy Planet cookies for 6 months straight, but we’re ready for some different options. Thanks for this recipe! I will be making them very soon.

  19. These look absolutely wonderful! I love pumpkin and I love cookies and if I can mix the two together and they be halfway healthy is wonderful!

  20. It’s like a light pumpkin snickerdoodles :))

  21. Steve @ HPD says

    you just can’t go wrong with pumpkin. it’s bomb-proof.

  22. I just made this dough and it tastes delicious! But it is really sticky and I can’t roll it. It is rainy here today so maybe that’s why. Do you think I should add more flour or just refrigerate until it sets up a little.

    • You could add a little more flour, yes. It *is* a sticky dough, though. Dust your hands with a little flour when rolling, too. Happy baking!

  23. I’m all about pumpkin right now – these sound fantastic!

  24. Beautiful cookies, Aimee! And I love that they are healthy, too.

  25. Mmmmm! I’m going to try those tomorrow morning. I absolutely love pumpkin and really like that you figured out how to remove the white sugar. But I think I’ll add some extra butter. 🙂

  26. My 2 year old and I had a great afternoon on Sunday making these delicious cookies! Thanks for the great recipe.

  27. these are sooooooo good! I managed to get half of them in the freezer before the kids and I ate them all.

  28. These are delicious! I’ve made them three times alreadyM

  29. My family LOVES these. And that’s saying a lot. All three of my boys will eagerly split the last cookie and try to fight over who’s got the bigger piece. My husband, who doesn’t like sweet things, loves these cookies. They do freeze well, which is lovely, so that my kids won’t eat an entire batch in a day. One thing about me going grain-free is that I’ll miss these terribly!

  30. Thanks for posting the recipe Aimee, I need to try it they look so delicious.

  31. What a great healthier version! Plus, the kids love it! Thanks!

  32. If yoou are going for mօst excellent contents like I do, onlky visit this site everydaу because it offers feature contents, thanks

  33. 5 stars
    I just made this dough and it tastes delicious! But it is really sticky and I can’t roll it. It is rainy here today so maybe that’s why. Do you think I should add more flour or just refrigerate until it sets up a little.

  34. 5 stars
    These look so wonderful, I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

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