Autumn has hit New York City. I’m typing at my desk by my window, and a sharp chill sneaks in.
It seems that, practically overnight, we’ve said goodbye to sundresses and sandals, to bare arms and walking in the shade. One part of me loves this crisp air, and is day-dreaming of pumpkins and pie, of Halloween and Christmas cookies. The other part of me is mourning how the streets are already a little bit emptier at night, how my dog is going in hibernation mode, how I have to buy new shoes to replace the ones I wore out through the city slush last season. Of being cold for the next few months.
Saturday I took Mitra for a walk in Central Park with a friend, decked in worn fall boots and a scarf. And when I got home I knew what I needed to get me through the weekend: oatmeal cookies.
I had spent the morning working out a recipe for a Dusty Baker reader in the UK (Hi, Peter!) – and it wasn’t quite right. The night before I had tried a sweet and savory cookie recipe for a local friend – it also wasn’t quite right (all I’ll say is peanut butter and duck fat… it’s coming). I was a bit of a grumpy dusty baker.
So there was to be no failing with this recipe. Not only did I have some friends I wanted to bring something sweet to, but I wanted to get back to the gluten-dairy-sugar alternative baking that is a major part of my food lifestyle, which had been neglected a bit by all the baking I’ve been doing for other organizations. And I had a short amount of time before heading downtown again.
I looked at a bunch of cookie recipes – both those with and without gluten – and was shocked at the amount of sugar or sweetener the recipes called for. White and brown sugar, and a lot of it?! A cup and a half of agave syrup? No, thank you!
I wanted my cookies to be simple, wholesome and just-sweet-enough.
So I used only 1/2 cup of maple syrup for sweetness, added a bit of dark molasses to replace the flavor missing from the absence of brown sugar, and added some flaxseed meal for fiber. I used shortening for stability. I added some black pepper for a savory kick, and threw in a healthy spoonful of my favorite Vietnamese cinnamon along with some freshly grated nutmeg (they’re totally worth it). I followed the advice of Karina at the Gluten-Free Goddess and kept rice flour out of the recipe (I based my proportions off of her recipe, which is stellar – thank you Karina!).
I love the results. For me, these are the perfect cookies to dunk. Slightly sweet and spicy, soft, a perfect vehicle for the delicious chocolate that sits nestled within the oatmeal.
They’d also be stellar with raisins.
Start to finish, it took me 45 minutes to make, bake and wrap 36 of these babies.
I was a happy camper. I brought a few to a friend to nosh on over some cheap whiskey and a game of chess (which I’m not as bad at as I had previously thought) and to another friend I met up with for a post-show glass of wine. And may have eaten a few for breakfast before heading off to a late brunch with food-blog people the next morning. Followed by an awesome Bloody Derby and Stumptown Coffee.
OK, Autumn weekends in New York City can be pretty awesome. This one was delicious.
Wait, what’s a Bloody Derby, you ask? Oh, let’s just say an incredible cocktail I introduced a few people to at the Ace hotel (and had to name). I think it will go along swimmingly with a duck-fat cookie. Coming soon to a Dusty Baker near you.
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
- 1/4 cup millet flour
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds meal
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp dark molasses
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts or pecans, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats (totally worth the $).
- In a medium bowl, whisk all dry ingredients up to the black pepper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large bowl) beat shortening on high heat until fluffy.
- Add eggs, maple syrup and molasses and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes (beating the eggs gives a little lift and body to the coming flours).
- Quickly beat in the vanilla.
- Add all the flour, turn speed down to low, and mix until just combined.
- Fold in the oats a cup at a time until distributed evenly.
- Fold in the chocolate chips (or raisins!) and optional nuts.
- Drop in rounded tablespoons onto mats.
- Put in upper and lower third of oven and bake for 6 minutes.
- Press down on each of the cookies with a metal spatula to flatten, then rotate the trays (switch upper and lower) to ensure even baking.
- Bake for 7-9 more minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Cool a few minutes on trays before removing to cooling rack.
These are stellar when warm, and when dunked in a glass of unsweetened almond milk.
These will make soft and chewy cookies. If you like them crispy, turn heat down a bit and bake for about four more minutes.