By KAITLYN WIEDMANN
When I was little, I used to love the months leading up to Christmas because it was the time of year everyone undusted their baking supplies and made up enough sweets to last through the whole winter. While I never learned to bake things like gingerbread or rolled cakes, I jumped at the opportunity to make as many batches of chocolate chip cookies as my family and I could eat. They were one of my favorite parts of the season by far.
However, a few years ago, I became gluten intolerant. I could no longer eat any of the cookies I made, and while it seems silly, it felt like a part of my childhood had been taken from me. I scoured books and the Internet for alternative gluten-free recipes, but being new to gluten-free baking, all of the best-reviewed recipes were more intimidating than I was prepared for. In order to mimic the taste and texture of wheat flour, I found out I would need to mix four or five different flours in precise ratios along with several ingredients I had never heard of. Xanthan gum? Arrowroot powder? I still can’t tell you what those are.
Experimenting with recipes was an expensive, time-consuming and ultimately disappointing process. More often than not, the cookies would turn out oddly grainy, crumbly and unappealing. For a long time, I gave up on ever having good homemade cookies again.
Then, one day, I found a cookie recipe in a place I wasn’t expecting: the back of an oatmeal bag at Trader Joe’s. At first I thought nothing of it, but when I read it over again, I noticed something about it that was different than every other gluten-free recipe I had seen to date. It had no flour in it whatsoever. Of course you can’t fail to mimic wheat flour if you avoid flour altogether. It was the kind of simple genius that made me feel like a fool for never considering oatmeal before.
I tried the recipe out that very day and it was a resounding success. For the first time in years, I had a homemade cookie that, well, wasn’t exactly like the ones from my childhood, but was just as delicious in its own way and just as simple to make.
Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar*
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 12oz package chocolate chips
*Use light brown sugar for a more peanut buttery flavor, dark brown sugar for a more typical chocolate chip cookie flavor.
Cream the butter and both kinds of sugar together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla and baking soda and beat well. Beat in the peanut butter then stir in the oats one cup at a time. Then, stir in the chocolate chips. Cover the dough and place in the refrigerator to chill for several hours.
Roll dough into 1 ½ inch to 2 inch balls (don’t press them down) and place 12 per cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, turning the tray around about halfway through.
Cookies are done when their edges are just starting to turn golden brown. This recipe makes between four and five dozen cookies. Original recipe by Trader Joe’s, modified (nuts removed, some quantities altered) by me.