These gluten-free, vegan pecan pumpkin cookies with spiced cashew buttercream are downright dreamy. A simple, nearly raw pecan pumpkin cookie base is made with a combination of raw pecans, pumpkin, oats, Natural Delights Medjool Dates, and cranberries. This naturally sweetened dough is formed into cookies and slathered with an ultra-thick spiced cashew buttercream. The festive, chewy cookie base pairs perfectly with the spiced buttercream icing, making this recipe perfect for any and all holiday parties you have on the horizon!
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These holiday cookies are a play on the frosted oatmeal raisin cookies I shared a few months back. This version is decked out with festive flair—sweet, spiced, and altogether nice.
To make these vegan pecan pumpkin cookies with spiced cashew buttercream, you’ll start by making the icing. It’s a spiced, non-tangy version of the frosting in this blondie recipe.
To make it, you’ll add the following to a high-speed blender:
» Raw cashews
» Almond milk
» Coconut butter
» Pure maple syrup
» Coconut flour
» Pumpkin pie spice
» Sea salt
Give everything a 2–4 minute blend, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
Then, transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, whisking every 15 minutes or so.
Once the buttercream has finished chilling, it will be thick and fluffy like this…
While the buttercream chills, you’ll get to work on the cookies.
Add rolled oats to a food processor and process for about 1 minute, or until ground into a coarse flour.
Then, add raw pecans, Natural Delights Pitted Medjool Dates, pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse several times and then process until the mixture begins to clump together.
The dates serve the dual purpose of binding these no-bake, nearly raw cookies together and naturally sweetening them. Plus, they add a generous boost of dietary fiber and potassium.
Once you’ve pulsed together the base, add a generous heap of dried cranberries and pulse to chop and incorporate them into the cookie dough.
Scoop out small mounds of the dough and drop onto a lined baking tray.
Then, press and compact each mound of dough into a round cookie, like so…
Once your cookies are formed, grab that bowl of spiced cashew buttercream and a trusty spatula, and slather, slather, slather.
You want each cookie to be topped off with a generous, thick mound of icing. In this instance, more is more.
These vegan pecan pumpkin cookies with spiced cashew buttercream are a healthy and crowd-pleasing holiday treat.
While their pumpkin-spice flavor makes them perfect for Thanksgiving celebrations, they can easily hold their own throughout the full expanse of the holiday season.
I hope you enjoy these fall-spiced holiday cookies as much as I do!
Vegan Pecan Pumpkin Cookies with Spiced Cashew Buttercream
These gluten-free, vegan pecan pumpkin cookies with spiced cashew buttercream are downright dreamy. A simple, nearly raw pecan pumpkin cookie base is made with a a combination of raw pecans, pumpkin, oats, dates, and cranberries. This naturally sweetened dough is formed into cookies and slathered with an ultra-thick spiced cashew buttercream. The festive chewy cookie base pairs perfectly with the sweet buttercream icing, making this recipe perfect for any holiday parties you have on the horizon!
Spiced Cashew Buttercream
- 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight) and drained
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup melted coconut butter (it should be runny and pourable—see note*)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 packed tablespoon coconut flour**
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
No-Bake Pecan Pumpkin Pie Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 3/4 cup packed and pitted Natural Delights Medjool Dates
- 1/4 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin purée
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
For the Spiced Cashew Buttercream
- Add all buttercream ingredients to a high-speed blender, and blend on high for 2 to 4 minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy.
- Scoop the icing into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to thicken. If you have the time, I recommend chilling for up to 1 hour and vigorously whisking every 10 to 15 minutes (to prevent freezing) to thicken to a fluffy, easily spreadable texture.
For the No-Bake Pecan Pumpkin Pie Cookies
- Add the rolled oats to a food processor. Process for 1 minute, or until ground into a coarse meal.
Add the pecans, Natural Delights Medjool Dates, pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt. Pulse several times and then process until the dates are thoroughly chopped and the mixture begins to clump together along the side of the food processor. The mixture should be slightly damp and sticky. If needed, add more pitted dates, one at a time, until the mixture begins to gather on one side of the food processor.
Add the cranberries and pulse several times to incorporate and chop into the cookie dough. The dough should clump together along one side of the food processor and easily stick together when pressed between your fingers.
- Line a small baking pan with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop (or small ice cream scoop) to scoop out and compact heaping 1 1/2 tablespoon mounds. Drop on the lined pan and repeat. You should have about 18 to 20 cookies.
- Use your fingers to press and compact the balls into round cookies. Freeze for 15 minutes to set.
- One at a time, slather each cookie with a generous amount of the buttercream.***
Store the cookies in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
*I find it easiest to make a fresh batch of homemade coconut butter and simply measure off 1/2 cup while it's still in a liquid state. However, store-bought coconut butter will yield a smoother icing because it's typically much smoother than homemade coconut butter. That said, store-bought coconut butter can be tricky to melt because it scorches and burns easily which leads to a seized, hardened texture. It's also WAY expensive (i.e., $14) compared to homemade, which usually only costs $2–$4 to make.
**Do not substitute the coconut flour. Coconut flour is highly absorbent, much more so than any other flour, which is why it's perfect for thickening this buttercream.
***You'll have quite a bit of leftover buttercream icing (about 1/3 to 1/2 of the recipe, depending on how generously you frost). I've tried halving the recipe, but it becomes finicky and fussy while blending, so I don't recommend going that route. Fortunately, it freezes well and can be used for a future batch of cookies. Simply scoop any leftover buttercream into an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.