These pumpkin shaped chickpea cookies are my kids' favorite fall treat. This is the traditional recipe for nan-e nokhodchi, or Persian chickpea cookies that I make during Persian New Year, with a slight twist! I have added saffron to give them a sweet floral aroma and a vibrant orange tint, and then shaped them into little pumpkins. But these cookies can be enjoyed all year long and made into any shape that you like.
Compared to many of the other treats my kids eat during the holiday season, I feel good about letting my kids eat one, two, or even three of these chickpea flour cookies. They are nutritious compared to many of the other treats we have during the holiday season. The chickpea flour has over 70 grams of protein and over 60 grams of fiber in the batch alone. It is also naturally gluten free, and can be dairy free by replacing the butter with an equal amount of shortening.
See my video.
- Nan-e Nokhodchi, with a Twist
- Ingredients for Pumpkin Shaped Chickpea Cookies
- How to Make Pumpkin Shaped Gluten Free Chickpea Cookies with Cardamom
- What is Chickpea Flour?
- Where Can I Buy Chickpea Flour?
- What is Saffron?
- FAQ for Pumpkin Shaped Chickpea Cookies
- Did You Make the Recipe?
- Gluten Free Chickpea Cookies with Cardamom
Nan-e Nokhodchi, with a Twist
Nan-e nokhodchi are traditional Persian cookies you make with fine chickpea flour, butter or oil, powdered sugar, cardamom and rose water. They are flattened on a floured surface with a rolling pin, then pressed with mini clover-shaped cookie cutters before baking. Although popular during Persian New Year, they are available at bakeries all year long. Since chickpea flour is high in protein and fiber, you can enjoy nan nokhodchi guilt-free any time of day with a glass of tea or a cup of coffee.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Shaped Chickpea Cookies
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Chickpea flour, or Besan flour
- Rose water
- Saffron (optional)
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Pumpkin Shaped Gluten Free Chickpea Cookies with Cardamom
STEP 1: In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with powdered sugar, then add saffron water, cardamom, and sifted chickpea flour. Continue to beat for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of rose water if the dough is not coming together, and continue to beat. Then cover with plastic wrap.
STEP 2: Using a small cookie scoop, make 18-20 balls, then roll them in your hands until smooth. Using a sharp knife, make 4 long indentations on the cookie, each 45 degrees from the previous one. Add an almond sliver to the top and place on a baking tray, each 2 inches apart from each other.
OPTIONAL: To make the almond stems green, add 1 drop of green food coloring to 2 teaspoons of rose water and swirl to combine. Add the green coloring to the almonds, stir, and place in the microwave for 20 seconds, then stir and repeat. Lay flat on parchment paper until fully dry.
STEP 3: Bake in a 300 degrees Fahrenheit oven on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes, or until the bottom of each cookie is just golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cook for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan. Store in an airtight container.
What is Chickpea Flour?
Made from ground, dried chickpeas, Chickpea flour is a naturally gluten-free. It has a slightly nutty and earthy flavor. Chickpea flour is high in fiber and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. While you can use it as a substitute for all purpose flour in some recipes, because of its lack of gluten and high moisture absorption, it is not a direct replacement in all recipes.
Where Can I Buy Chickpea Flour?
You can buy chickpea flour in most grocery stores, Mediterranean markets, and online. You can even buy dried garbanzo beans and place in a food processor and process in small batches until it becomes a fine powder, sifting the flour to remove the harder bits that did not process.
What is Saffron?
Saffron is sometimes referred to as "red gold" because of its color and high price. It is made from stigmas of the saffron crocus flower, a flowering plant in the iris family. Each flower only produces a few crimson red stigmas that are hand-cultivated in the early morning to avoid the risk of sun damage. It is a very labor intensive crop and highly sought after, therefore making it the world's most expensive spice.
You can use saffron for culinary and medicinal purposes. Some people believe that it has mood boosting properties, as well as antioxidants that can protect the brain and reduce inflammation.
FAQ for Pumpkin Shaped Chickpea Cookies
Yes, these are gluten-free cookies. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten free, as well as the other ingredients I have listed for this recipe.
No, since I use butter, they are not vegan. To make these cookies vegan, replace the butter with a plant based shortening.
You can replace the saffron with orange food coloring or leave it out completely like I have in the image below.
Did You Make the Recipe?
Gluten Free Chickpea Cookies with Cardamom
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ¾ cup chickpea flour sifted
- 1 ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 5 teaspoon rose water divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground saffron optional
- 20 almond slivers (or pistachio)
- 1 drop green food coloring optional
- Beat the butter with powdered sugar until light and fluffy, then add the bloomed saffron and beat until blended. To bloom saffron, simply mix the ground saffron with 1-2 teaspoons of rose water and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Add the cardamom powder and sifted chickpea flour to the mixture. Beat on medium for 3-5 minutes, stopping every minute to scrape the mixture down from the sides of the bowl. Alternatively, you can knead the dough with your hands. If mixture is too grainy and not coming together, add 1 teaspoon of rose water and continue to beat. Rest for one hour, covered.
- To make the green almond stems, add 1 drop of green food coloring to 2 teaspoons of rose water and swirl to combine. Add the green coloring to the almonds, stir, and place in the microwave for 20 seconds, then stir and repeat. Lay the almond slivers on a flat surface to fully dry.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius). Using a small cookie scoop, shape the dough into 18-20 similar sized balls. Roll them in your hands until smooth. Then using a knife, make 4 long indentations across and on the sides of the cookies to resemble a pumpkin. Press in the almond stem in the center, and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or just enough so that the bottom of the cookie is slightly browned. Allow to fully cool, at least 10 minutes, before removing from baking pan. Enjoy.