Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oatmeal Lace Cookies: Gluten Free

When Sebastian began preschool I could only send in treats that were peanut free, when he entered kindergarten I had to avoid apples when baking for his class. The following year the list of allergies, food intolerances and chosen eating requirements meant any treats for all his classmates needed to be vegan, gluten free, with no nuts and no citrus.

I have a memory of being in the kitchen of my friend Cheryl's house shortly after her oldest sons birthday. She offered me a taste of the gluten free vegan "goodies" she had sent in to preschool to celebrate his birthday. Perhaps I should have been wary when she mentioned that the previous year (when there were no restrictions on what she created) there were no leftovers to come home while this year she received a whole tray back. I took a bite and swallowed the whole chalky mess before asking, "Do you really hate me that much?" From previous experiences in her kitchen I knew it wasn't her cooking ability.

With that memory in my mind I discussed our options with Sebastian. Sebastian's teacher told me I could make what I wanted because she kept a stash of treats for the children with eating restrictions. However my son really wanted to share with everyone, and he wanted brownies. So I followed a friends vegan no gluten brownie recipe. She has a lot of experience with cooking with food restrictions and promised it would be wonderful. After I baked them my whole family agreed, they would have been great, IF I had used wheat flour, eggs and butter. I sent in my regular brownies and the teacher had candy for 2 students.

This year I was going to make brownies again, that is until I tried the Oatmeal Lace Cookies from Dinner with Julie. Sebastian took one bite, asked for another cookie and promptly decided he wanted to bring them into school for his birthday. I loved the recipe the first time I made them but they were a little fragile for bringing to school. I had visions of arriving at Sebastian's classroom with a container full of crumbs and suggesting the teacher give everyone a spoon. So I played with the recipe until they had the same flavor profile but held together better. While I was experimenting I tried substituting rice flour for the wheat flour to make them gluten free. The only problem I had when I made these was sending almost all of them away.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Adapted from Dinner with Julie

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 cps gluten free rolled oats
1/4 cup rice flour (If you don't need them to be gluten free you can substitute white whole wheat or all purpose flour)
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 350° Melt the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium pot over low heat. Turn off the heat and add the flour and oats to the butter sugar mixture in the pot and mix well. Allow the batter to cool for a few minutes before adding the egg to prevent cooking the egg. Add the egg and stir well to combine.

Prepare baking sheets either by spraying with cooking spray or lining with parchment of a silpat. Drop 1.5 - 2 tsps of batter 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. This goes much faster if you use a cookie scoop*. Use the back of a spatula to flatten each cookie out to a diameter of approximately 2 inches.

Bake for 10 to 18 minutes, rotating tray positions midway through baking, until the cookies are golden brown and look set. The original recipe says to allow cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheets, I needed to reuse the sheets so I waited a minute or so to allow the cookies to set and then slid the parchment onto cooling racks and then gently transferring the cookies to cooling racks from the parchment so I could reuse the parchment.

*If you buy a scoop, or anything else, from Amazon through the link provided I get a tiny credit to use at Amazon.

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