Monday, July 21, 2014

three-way oatmeal cookies (gluten free option)

I  used to love the "vanishing oatmeal cookie" recipe off the rolled oats container. And vanish they did indeed.

So when I decided to eat (mostly) vegan a couple of years ago, plus cut back on sugars and oils, I was at a loss for how to duplicate that buttery flavor or texture in a "healthified" oatmeal cookie. Multiple scraps of paper with oatmeal cookie attempts floated around my kitchen for the first few months, but nothing was worth making a second time so I gave up trying.

Until now.

The inspiration for these cookies comes from Angela's Turtle Oatmeal Cookies over at Oh She Glows - one of my favorite sites for vegan recipes. Since I've continued to look for ways to reduce or eliminate sugars (and syrups, honey and nectars are still sugars), I eliminated the brown sugar in the original recipe and used date paste instead but added stevia to boost the sweetness. And because pecans are pricey, I added in some raw walnuts as well (but feel free to use all pecans). As an added bonus, the walnuts sneak in some omega 3 fatty acids.


Baking Tip! It's really the pecans that make this recipe. I've learned that toasted pecans approximate the buttery flavor of an oatmeal cookie. God is good!

For fun, I also created these cookies three ways: with raisins, with dairy-free chocolate chips, and the super-healthy way (because raw chocolate is a health food) with fair trade raw cacao nibs.

three-way oatmeal cookies (recipe notes follow)
dairy free, gluten free option, reduced sugar, peanut free, soy free, stevia sweetened, vegan

dry ingredients:
1 1/4 c. pecans
1/2 c. walnuts, raw
2 c. rolled oats, gluten free if needed
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. date paste
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

wet ingredients:
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
3.5 T coconut oil, melted
2 T almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. raisins or chocolate chips or fair-trade cacao nibs

1. Lightly toast pecans in a pot over high heat. This takes 2-4 minutes or until pecans are fragrant. I recommend stirring constantly. Many a pecan have I burned by leaving them unattended. Let cool slightly.
2. In a food processor or blender, combine date paste with 1 c. of oats and blend to a small pea/fine crumb consistency. Then add to a mixing bowl.
3. Add nuts and remaining cup of oats to the processor/blender and mix to a fine crumb consistency. Add to the mixing bowl.
4. Stir in remaining dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
5. Combine wet ingredients in large glass measuring cup and stir to combine. Depending on the temperature of your milk or maple syrup, you may need to warm them slightly before adding the coconut oil or the oil will solidify.
6. Stir the wet ingredients and mix-ins into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be sticky.
7. Using a large spoon (I use a soup/cereal spoon), spoon out dough, roll into a ball and drop onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Flatten each cookie ball with the palm of your hand. The cookies don't spread too much, so you can place them 1 inch apart after flattening.
8. I don't recommend sampling the raw cookie because once you start, it's hard to stop. But if you must, you must. ;)
9. Bake cookies in a 275 degree oven (I use low temperatures when I a bake) for 18-22 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Let them sit 5-10 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

Recipe notes:
  • As mentioned above, you can use all pecans if you like, but I don't recommend reducing the amount.
  • Feel free to try this recipe with whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour but it will affect the consistency slightly.
  • If you can't find date paste (I get mine at a middle eastern store), you can use 1 c. pitted medjool dates.
  • Feel free to sub in a different dairy free milk.

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