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Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Egg-Free Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Cranberries

Posted Oct 25 2011 10:59am

A batch of homemade drop cookies may not sound particularly Halloween-esque. Yes, I've given these beauties an ample dose of fall flavor in the forms of cinnamon and cranberries, but I haven't fashioned them into mock tarantulas, ghosts, goblins, or monsters.

But according to my husband, the prospect of a sugar-free, gluten-free, egg-free cookie is nothing short of terrifying. 

The fear is warranted. At the beginning of the school year,  I tried my hand at a number of sugar-free, über-health cookies, including chocolate-avocado cookies (I know, what was I thinking?) and carrot-zucchini cookies. I admit to feeling somewhat self-righteous as I mixed my batters: do they give mother-of-the-year awards for best and most sugar-free cookies baked for school lunches? I'd give it my best shot.

Oh, what a fool I was. The carrot-zucchini cookies were laughable; think lawn clippings, bananas, and oats pressed into gummy disks. I imagine they would be effective for equine bowel disorders. At least the chocolate avocado cookies looked like cookies; however, the taste and texture were a marriage of guacamole and cocoa that ended in a bitter divorce.

So why on earth did I try again?

Stubbornness, for one. And a bunch of extremely over-ripe bananas, second.

I found what looked like a reasonable "template" recipe at the blog Choosing Voluntary Simplicity , but the recipe called for butter and milk; I decided to keep the cookies dairy-free and opted for oil  and no milk. (Please, please do not cut back on the amount of oil; it is essential!) In addition, I didn't want the cookies to read "BANANA." Nothing against bananas, but we do a lot of banana bread and banana muffins as it is. I needed some stronger flavors, so I upped the vanilla and stirred in a significant amount of cinnamon.

From my previous sugar-free cookie experiments/disasters, I knew that going leavening-free was literally a recipe for leaden cookies. In went a bit of baking soda.

Flourless oat cookies need some texture, so I doubled the amount of walnuts and toasted them for added flavor. Please don't skip this step! The walnuts are exponentially more flavorful and crunchy with a bit of toasting. Last,  to make this more of an autumn cookie, I chose dried cranberries over raisins. Like the walnuts, I doubled the amount, this time for sweetness. I realize that dried cranberries are sweetened, so technically these are not entirely sugar-free cookies. If it bothers you, please fell free to use an unsweetened dried fruit. It doesn't bother me (I can only restrain my sweet tooth so much...)

By George, I think I've got it! These really are delicious, perfect for breakfast in particular (a bit like a bowl of oatmeal in handheld form). And both Nick and Kevin have been goblin them up.

The starring players. The browner and mushier the bananas, the better (browner=sweeter).

I could eat this right out of the bowl, as is. Oh wait, I did. Some managed to make it to the oven, though.

Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon, Cranberries and Walnuts

You can vary the fruits, nuts and flavorings (spices and extracts) to your heart's contents. If you are baking for a nut allergy, too, consider using roasted seeds in place of the walnuts (roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds would be wonderful).

Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 cups old-fashioned (large flake) oats (choose Gluten Free Certified Oats if baking GF)
1 cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of choice)
1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1-1/2 cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cranberries, and walnuts
2. In a medium bowl, combine the banana, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until well-blended.
3. Add banana mixture to oat mixture, stirring to combine. Let stand 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets.
4. Bake 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden-brown. Let cool on sheets 1 minutes Transfercookies to wire racks; cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (or freeze in airtight bags/containers)

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