Here’s a recipe for healthy, holiday pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that uses up leftover oatmeal. These cookies can be used for breakfast or for a treat, and they’re so easy to make that you’ll never again wonder what to do with leftover oatmeal. This is a great no waste recipe for your holiday kitchen! We’ve included a gluten-free option, as well as different sugars and fats that you can use to suit your diet. These cookies are a taste of the season!
Why Do They Always Leave an Offering?!
Before we get into the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, I have a few questions!
Have you ever heard of the Chinese kitchen god named, Zao Jun, who visits during the New Year celebration? Families leave Zao Jun his own treats next to the stove in the hopes that he will provide good luck for the coming year.
We’ve studied foreign cultures in our homeschooling adventures and I’ve finally decided that my kids must think our house has a family version of Azo Jun because they’re constantly leaving uneaten little bits of this food and little bits of that food.
Seriously, what is it with children and leaving the last 1/2 cup of oatmeal in the pot?! Is it just my kids that do that? By the end of the week, I have a several cup of cooked oats sitting in the fridge.
I use real butter and fresh milk to make the morning oatmeal – I’ll usually include flax or chia seeds, too. The last think I want to do is give this lovely concoction to my chickens, as much as I love.
I created this holiday pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe that includes leftover oatmeal out of desperation and it turned out to be a big hit. Now, I think the kids might be leaving that extra oatmeal in the pot on purpose so they can squeeze a batch of these cookies out of me once a week once the weather turns cold.
If your family is constantly leaving leftover oatmeal for “the kitchen gods”, try your hand at this super easy recipe!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
The idea of adding pumpkin to this classic cookie recipe is NOT new – there are a lot of great recipes out there for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Something that makes them unique is the texture and flavor that naturally comes with pumpkin.
Since pumpkin puree is often something we have extra of during the winter holiday season, it’s nice to have an easy recipe on hand that uses it.
A Few More No Waste Recipes
Which Pumpkin is Best for Baking?
If you are making pumpkin puree for your holiday recipes, the best pumpkin varieties* for baking these leftover oatmeal pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (or anything else for that matter) are the:
- Cheese wheel varieties like Long Island or Cinderella (Rouge Vif d’Etampes) – these winter squash are simply so sweet with a delicious aroma
- Blue-skinned kinds like Hubbard or Jarrahdale – these have flesh that is dry, creamy, and come in a variety of bright colors
- Small, classic pumpkin-shaped varieties like Baby Bear or Sugar Pie – these are classic pumpkins with smooth, sweet flesh that smells like holiday season
Another worthy inclusion on this list the banana winter squash, aka Pink Banana. I’ve grown some that smelled and nearly tasted like melon, they are that sweet!
*Please Note: Pumpkin is a generic word that we often use to mean any hard-skinned, sweet-fleshed winter squash. In reality, the genus Cucurbita to which true pumpkins belong is very large and includes, not only the varieties from the list above, but other favorites like gourds, zucchini, crookneck and patty pan squash, and several others you’d recognize from your garden.
We’ll answer a few more commonly asked questions about leftover oatmeal and pumpkin puree after we’ve given you the recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in case that’s all you really wanted and don’t have other questions.
Leftover Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
If it’s the kids racking up the leftover oatmeal, be sure to have them join you in the kitchen for this pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe! This is NOT a finnicky recipes, so it’s particularly well suited to little hands helping in the kitchen. Plus, you’re going to need some qualified taste testers!
- 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour
- 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. Cloves
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Oatmeal
- 1/2 - 3/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1/4 Cup Real Maple Syrup
- 1/3 Cup Coconut Sugar (Rapadura, Raw Sugar, or Monk Fruit/Xylitol Sugar*)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/2 Cup Melted Butter or Coconut Oil, or Avocado Oil
- 1/2 Cup Each Chocolate Chips & Dried Cranberries, optional
- 2 Tbsp. Candied Lemon Peel, optional
- 2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Zest, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sea salt, spices, and soda. Mix in the leftover oatmeal and pumpkin puree until the flour mixture completely coats the oats and pumpkin. It will look a bit crumbly.
- In a liquid measurer, add the maple syrup, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the oil if using and mix well.
- Melt the butter or coconut oil, if you're not using oil. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the melted fat. Mix until just incorporated.
- Similarly, if you're using oil, make a well in the flour mixture and add the maple-oil mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Over mixing may flatten the finished cookies, making them more dense.
- Add the chocolate chips, dried fruit, and zest according to taste. Mix.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease it) and place 2-3 Tablespoons of cookie dough 2-3 inches apart. You may also use a small ice cream or melon scoop to dose the batter but it will stick a bit.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies firm up and becomes slightly brown. Browning is hard to observe when the dough has wheat flour, maple syrup, and coconut sugar! Look for the tops of the cookies to lose the their glossy shine and to even crack just a little.
These cookies are very simple, so don't overthink the process. They're a lot like a drop biscuit in that the recipe is very forgiving and will bake up nicely if you have to make a few adjustments.
The moisture of the leftover oatmeal, as well as the pumpkin puree, will effect the final cookie dough. If you need to add a little more flour to firm up the dough, start with 1/4 cup. If you end up a little dry, you may add a few tablespoons of whole milk or cream, or even almond milk.
You may substitute any dried fruit you have in place of the cranberries. You may also switch out the lemon peel and zest to orange.
*If you use Monk Fruit/Xylitol sugar, begin by reducing the amount to 1/4 cup. You can make this recipe further low carb-friendly by omitting the maple syrup and using a Keto-friendly chocolate chip (they're often sweetened with stevia). Furthermore, you can omit the cranberries and candied lemon peel.
Changing the sugar and omitting the maple syrup will change the color of the finished cookie, FYI.
Leftover Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chips Cookies FAQs
I’ve tried to anticipate a few of the questions you might have about this recipe and its ingredients. No waste cooking, or upcycling leftovers into new meals and recipes, can be intimidating at first. This is especially true if you have the personality type that feels more comfortable with specific recipes and clear nut instructions.
A lot of what we do with zero waste cooking is get creative in the kitchen, so don’t be afraid to try something new!
How Do You Eat Leftover Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is SO easy to reheat if you do it the easy way! I’ve tried recovering it with water and even warming it by itself in a pan, but both ways just make a mess!
The easiest way to eat leftover oatmeal is to use a vegetable steamer.
- Place a cup of water in the bottom of a sauce pan that will hold your vegetable steamer.
- Place the steamer basket into the bottom of the pot.
- Add the oatmeal and move it around to evenly distribute it on the bottom of the steamer.
- Heat the pot on high until it boils and then reduce the heat to simmer until the oatmeal is reheated to your liking.
- Rinse the steamer and the pot immediately after putting the oatmeal into a bowl. Leftover oatmeal is like glue if it dries!
This works really well for reheating rice, too.
What Can I Do With Old Oatmeal?
If the oatmeal is under a week old, and you’ve already made these leftover oatmeal pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, then you can also try the following recipes:
Leftover Oatmeal Muffins from Schneider Peeps – you’ll love all of Angi’s practical, healthy recipes!
New Life on a Homestead has 25 Delicious Recipes to Use Up Leftover Oatmeal. I like this post because it has the actual recipes in the body of the post, not just links. It’s really easy to see quickly if the recipe is one you’d like to use!
You can make our recipe for baked oatmeal with leftover oatmeal, as well. Eating baked oatmeal on a cold morning is like giving yourself a big bear hug. As a bonus, the maple pecan butter we include in the baked oatmeal post would be delicious atop these pumpkin chocolate chips cookies.
Is Pumpkin Puree the Same as Canned Pumpkin in Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies?
When you see the term pumpkin puree, it often indicates that the author of the recipe has made the puree themselves. If they’ve bought the pumpkin, it will most likely be listed in the ingredients as canned pumpkin.
Store bought isn’t necessarily an inferior option, although it’s probably not pumpkin in the strictest sense of the word. Most canned “pumpkin” sold in stores is actually a mix of winter squashes like butternut and pumpkin.
I think you can get better flavor by growing your own baking pumpkins and making your own puree, however.
- Learning and Yearning can teach you to grow pumpkins in the garden from seed.
- Winter squash can be difficult to time in a place with a shorter growing season, so Joybilee Farm can teach you grow pumpkins where it’s cold. Chris lives in Canada and she knows what she’s talking about!
To Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree
You can learn to bake any winter squash to use as a substitute for canned pumpkin puree from the store.
To do that:
- Wash winter squash and slice in half, removing seeds.
- Place face down in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom.
- Bake at 350F/177C for 45-60 minutes.
- Remove carefully and rest until cool to the touch.
- Scrape squash flesh into a bowl and mix smooth with an immersion blender. You may also use your food processor.
More Holiday Traditions
Zao Jun actually makes an appearance in our newest book, Homestead Holidays. He’s featured in the winter chapter in the section about Chinese New Year. We often think of the holidays as being those special days between Halloween and the Christmas, but there’s actually something to celebrate every month of the year!
We compiled all our favorite holidays and traditions from around the world and put them into Homestead Holidays – we only included the best!
We’re an active homesteading, homeschooling family and we just don’t have time for anything that isn’t edifying, uplifting, and, very important, fun. This book has the best recipes, crafts, stories, and games for you to use to build your homestead family right along with your homestead infrastructure.
Both are so important, especially in this crazy world!
Get your own copy of Homestead Holidays from our shop and we hope you have a wonderful, tasty season!
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