Friday, January 29, 2010

Flourless Oatmeal Cookies

These oatmeal-raisin cookies are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and gluten-free without a special flour mix if you use GF oats.* They have 5 key ingredients, and three of them are endlessly adaptable.[For the record, I'm not on the gluten-intolerance bandwagon. I know there are some genuine diseases and allergies -- and I'm concerned that the genetic modifications that make our grain crops withstand bad weather and long storage may also make it more difficult for our guts to break down and digest -- but I also think people eat too many rich bakery goods and put a lot of junk bewteen the halves of their fluffy white, low-protein/gluten sandwich rolls and then blame their indigestion on the bread.
I think going the other way and embracing whole grains and hearty breads is a better way to go but, that said, I have a limited audience and an significant minority have expressed a desire to cut gluten... and I like a baking challenge.]
The inspiration for this cookie came from a tuile/macaroon hybrid in Ginette Mathiot's I Know How to Cook [Je Sais Cuisiner] that used only nuts, chocolate, egg, and sugar. While I love exotic cookies, I also like reengineering classics. The thought that someone with Celiac's disease simply cannot have an oatmeal cookie is unacceptable to me.

Herewith, the Recipe: Flourless Oatmeal Cookies
You can substitute up to a cup of the oats with nuts and use any dried fruit you like... or chocolate chunks. I buzzed everything in my food processor because smaller bits hold together better, but you could use quick cooking oats and roughly chopped raisins and squeeze everything together by hand. Salt, cinnamon, and vanilla are optional flavorings.

Makes ~3 dozen 2-inch cookies

3 cups rolled oats [gluten free, if desired]*
1 1/4 cup sugar [I used 3/4 white, 1/2 cup brown, you could also replace 2 Tbs with honey or sorghum]
1 tsp kosher or sea salt [ or 1/2 tsp table salt]
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Water for flattening [or booze, but it'd be wasteful]

Preheat oven to 375F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse ~5 times to crush the oats. [See header for by-hand instructions.] Add raisins, egg, and vanilla and pulse until mixture clumps together.

Use a tablespoon or #60 scoop to make walnut-sized balls and space them evenly across the 2 sheets. [You should be able to fit 20 on one large cookie sheet; they won't spread much.] Dip a flat-bottomed glass in a shallow bowl of water and flatten cookies until they are ~1/8-inch thick and 2 inches across, rewetting the glass before each cookie. [Twisting the glass as you pull up helps it release from the cookie.]

Bake ~14 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Slide parchment onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cookies should peel cleanly from the parchment. Store in an airtight container.

*As I understand it, the little gluten that exists in oats is not actually a problem for those with gluten sensitivities; it's just that oats are usually milled in the same place as wheat flour and pick up a lot of cross-contamination. The separate-mill requirement is also what makes GF oats more expensive.


  1. How long can these cookies be stored?

  2. Quite a while since they don't have dairy; I'd say up to a month if kept in an airtight container. They'll stay chewy if you use part brown sugar and get crispier if you use just white.