At times I wonder if I am watching too much TV / PVR - not to mention occasional binge-watching. Yet, decades of working full time meant that I never became acquainted with the doyennes of daytime TV - Oprah, Ellen and, locally, our own Mairlyn Smith. Only recently did I discover that friends who began their day with breakfast TV knew and loved her. A veteran of Second City, she describes herself as the "funniest home economist in the world" - and signs all things with her tagline, "Peace, Love and Fibre". Our paths began to cross last year on social media, at food shows and then at FBC2015/16. She doesn't know me from Adam, but with everyone she meets she is authentically an upbeat conversationalist, willing to share and ever curious to learn - and laugh. Follow her on social media and you'll feel like you know her - and her tea cups! She has consented to me sharing this recipe from her cookbook "Healthy Starts Here!". The book and recipes are organized according to food categories and with each use you learn more about healthy eating - even when making cookies! Check out her You Tube channel. Think you can watch her without smiling? Resistance is futile.

This recipe share is linked to my blog post about pumpkins and "stealth health".


Mairlyn's version of these cookies is pictured on the right. She's a pretty straight talker - no stranger to scatological humour (not shy when it comes to talking about "tooting") so she may not mind if I say that despite my best efforts at presentation, these yummy cookies tended to look like a little pile of turds. I dip them into an icing sugar glaze and sprinkle them with shredded coconut. Both taste great!!

Getting Ready: some of this can be done the day before:

  • chop dates, chop ginger
  • measure / mix ingredients
  • bring egg and butter to room temperature
  • preheat oven to 350 F
  • line cookie sheets with parchment

1 1/4 cups (310 ml) whole wheat flour
2 T (30 ml) wheat germ
1 T (15 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground ginger

Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl. (In Notes below, I mention that I used hemp hearts instead of wheat germ. I also get to use my handy nutmeg grater!)

2 T (30 ml) finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup pitted baking dates

Stir chopped ginger into dry mix. Chop the dates into small (1/4" to 1/3") pieces. Add small amounts of the dates to the dry mix at a time, using your hands to make sure they are evenly distributed.

1/4 cup +2 T unsalted non-hydrogenated margarine (or butter)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. (That may take 2-3 minutes.) Scrape the sides of the bowl; add the egg and beat again until fluffy.

Add the pumpkin and beat just until combined. 

Using the mixer or a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture to the wet, mixing only until combined (no streaks of flour).

Portion cookies - ideally 2 tsp mounds - and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes in oven preheated to 350 F. (Mairlyn says to bake until they look firm and are lightly browned - but the mixture itself is so brown it's hard to make that judgement.) Let them cool first on the baking sheet and then rack, and store in an airtight container. These gems can also be frozen for up to two months.

Notes and Tips...

  • Dates - Mairlyn specifies "baking" dates - I just use the usual dates from my grocery store. Sometimes date chopping can be a challenge - they may stick to the knife blade. Try giving the knife blade a quick spray with oil - but for safety's sake keep your hands and the knife handle clean and dry.
  • Wheat germ - Mairlyn says she likes to add healthy ingredients to cookies. I didn't have any wheat germ on hand, but used Hemp Hearts instead - support a Manitoba enterprise! I love their chocolate Hemp Heart Bars! BTW - dates are also super healthy.
  • Margarine? Butter? I am assuming she used margarine to make the recipe lactose-free. I use unsalted butter.
  • Pumpkin Purée - purchased in a can, and not to be confused with "pumpkin pie filling". You can also make your own purée. Since no recipe I make ever uses an entire can of purée, I freeze leftovers in 1/2  or 1 cup measures.
  • For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.

<== Questions or Comments about this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!

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