Another snow day and one sick kid, what else can I do, but make cookies! Ask me any day of the week and I’ll tell you my favorite type of cookie is a soft and chewy oatmeal cookie. When I haven’t had one in a while, I dream about eating them. When I was pregnant with Evan and eating no treats whatsoever due to gestational diabetes, oatmeal cookies was the thing that I craved the most and wanted to bake the moment we left the hospital (although, let’s be realistic, I did not bake anything for weeks!). For me, it has to be a soft and chewy oatmeal cookie, keep your crunchy cookies (sorry mom), I don’t want them. I’m happy to eat them plain Jane, with chunks of chocolate (of course), even dried cranberries or apricots, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, all yum, but never ever never try to slip me an oatmeal cookie with raisins! I am sorry if you are a raisin fan, but raisins have no place in any oatmeal cookie I’m going to eat!
I have made A Lot of oatmeal cookies over the years and really just try to throw oatmeal in most any cookie I make, so I guess pretty much every cookie I make is in some form an oatmeal cookie (except these perfect peanut butter cookies, no oatmeal here and just perfect without it). But, hands down, these right here, these soft and chewy and might I add gluten free oatmeal cookies, are my absolute best most favorite cookie ever! I make these gluten free, but I do give instructions below for adding the gluten back in if that’s your preference.
I don’t use a pre-mix gluten free flour blend as I find all of them have some ingredients I just don’t want to eat (namely, Xanthan Gum, which does not agree with my tummy), so I made up my own mix with not too many ingredients and nothing weird. Just a simple mix of brown rice flour, oat flour (make it yourself!), almond flour (you can make this too!) and a little cornstarch, easy peasy. But again, if you want the gluten, see instructions below…
I use coconut oil in place of butter (but butter would work too) and my secret to making cookies extra soft and yummy, wait for it…Neufchatel (that’s just naturally low fat cream cheese). A big spoonful of vanilla, pumps up the flavor and if you’re feeling fancy you can toss in some chopped chocolate, nuts and cranberries or really anything you like (just don’t tell me if what YOU like is raisins!). Now go bake some cookies!
Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten Free) (Gluten optional)
Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
½ cup Coconut Oil – I use Organic Extra Virgin – softened *
½ cup Neufchatel – low fat cream cheese – room temperature *
2 Extra Large Eggs
½ cup Natural Cane Sugar
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon pure Vanilla Extract
¾ cup Oat Flour *
1/3 cup Brown Rice Flour *- Millet flour is a great substitute
1/3 cup Almond Flour or Almond Meal *
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch (GMO free!)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
2 ½ cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (gluten free if needed)
Optional: ½ – 1 cup chopped Bittersweet Chocolate or Chips
Optional: ½ cup dried Cranberries
Optional: ½ cup chopped (toasted or not) walnuts
OR: do as I do, make half a batch just plain Jane oatmeal cookies (with or without walnuts) and then mix in half the amount of chocolate/nuts/cranberries to the rest of the batter if you have different taste personalities in your household 🙂
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, using either an electric hand mixer or your own muscle power, cream together (room temperature softened) Coconut Oil, Neufchatel Cheese, Eggs, Sugars and Vanilla, until completely combined and cohesive.
Next, into the same bowl mix in all Flours, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt until combined. Next, add in Rolled Oats, about 1/3 at a time so it’s easier to mix in. Add in Chocolate, Nuts & Cranberries, if using.
Chill the batter about 30 minutes or up to overnight. Note* if you really can not wait, you can skip this part, but your cookies will spread and bake up much flatter, but still be super yummy!
On an ungreased baking sheet, scoop out balls of batter, do not flatten. I like to use either a heaping 1 Tablespoon measure OR my smallest spring loaded ice cream scoop. The full Tablespoon measure will yield about 32-36 cookies, while the mini ice cream scoop yields about 40-42 cookies.
Bake about 10-12 minutes at 350° F. Remove pan from oven and let cookies rest about 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Note, if you try to move your cookies from the pan immediately they will be too soft and may fall apart, be patient! Cookies made from un-chilled dough will be even more delicate.
Coconut oil – needs to be softened or it won’t mix well with the other ingredients. Depending upon time of year and temperature in your home, your coconut oil may either be very firm and solid, soft and easily scoopable or even verging on liquid. Too firm and the oil won’t mix in, while liquefied oil will seep out of the cookies as they bake (chilling the dough will help avoid this from happening), go for a consistency similar to room temp softened butter.
Neufchatel Cheese – is simply lower fat cream cheese. Use the bar form, not the whipped. Neufchatel has about half the fat as butter or oil, but even better it helps give cookies the soft texture I’m always looking for.
Oat Flour – there is no need to buy Oat Flour, simply whiz up the same amount of rolled oats in your food processor until they look like flour, a little bit of texture left in the flour is just fine. OR, I also like using Organic Baby Oatmeal, which is not quite flour, but super tiny flakes that work perfectly in these cookies.
Brown Rice Flour – while I don’t think you can easily whiz up rice in the food processor to form flour (or maybe you can!), you can easily sub in Organic Baby Brown Rice Cereal for the Brown Rice Flour. Baby rice cereal has the same super tiny flaked texture as baby oats and will work perfectly well in these cookies.
Almond Flour – if you can’t find this in your local store or simply don’t want to buy a whole bag for one recipe, you can easily make your own by whizzing up whole almonds or even better blanched slivered almonds in a food processor. Make sure not to process past the point of a floury texture or you’ll end up with almond butter!
Gluten Free or Not: Even if you or your family don’t require a gluten free diet, chances are you know someone who does, so it’s great to have a gluten free recipe or two up your sleeve. IF, you are baking for someone with celiac disease, be sure to use only certified gluten free oats. Oats are technically gluten free on their own, but oftentimes are processed in the same plant as gluten containing products, so to be safe look for the “gluten free” label.
IF you want to make these cookies NOT gluten free, you can sub out the Brown Rice Flour, Almond Flour and Corn Starch for about ¾ cup either White or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (or a combo of the two), I would still use the Oat Flour as it helps add to the soft and chewy texture of the cookies.
I think that’s enough notes, now go bake some cookies and Enjoy!