gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies

Oatmeal cookies are my ultimate comfort food: crisp on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside, generously-spiced, and perfect for dunking in a strong cup of coffee. I don't even like raisins that much, but for some reason they are unbeatable with cinnamon and walnuts in oatmeal cookies. One of the main drawbacks of these cookies being vegan is that they don't have raw eggs in the batter, which means I usually end up eating half the cookie dough.

Whoever had the genius of putting raisins in oatmeal cookies is unknown, but we do know oatmeal cookies are a descendent of oat cakes, baked in Scotland as far back as 1000 BC. The cakes were more like a staple food, and didn't evolve into a cookie until the 1800s, when oatmeal had become more popular throughout the world. They then gained popularity as a health food, which is unfortunately misleading.

  • The dough stays well in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for much longer.
  • While I like to make most pastries as small as possible, these are better large because the outside can be crispy while the interior remains soft.
  • The cookies freeze very well and make phenomenal ice cream sandwiches. I bet you can also heat them up and crumble on top of an ice cream sundae, although they've never lasted in the freezer long enough for me to try this. 
  • If you don't need wheat-free cookies and you don't have arrowroot, brown rice flour, or xantham gum, omit these ingredients and add 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour. The cookies will be a bit chewier.
  • Can't find affordable maple syrup? No problem--just replace with 1-1/3 cups vegan brown sugar or Sucanat and 1/2 cup non-dairy milk. 
  • If coconut oil is also a splurge, you can replace up to half with another oil. I usually use 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of a neutral oil, such as sunflower or canola (don't be afraid to use olive oil in sweets--it gives a subtle savory backdrop). The coconut oil definitely gives the cookies a buttery richness, so I wouldn't omit entirely. 
  • If you don't have almond flour, grind 1/2 cup almonds or hazelnuts in a food processor or sturdy coffee grinder until the ground nuts just begin to clump.
  • VARIATION: Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
    Omit the nutmeg and raisins, double or triple the cinnamon, and add 4 oz (115g) chopped dark chocolate bar and 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.

Makes 2 dozen smallish or 1 dozen huge cookies
Total time: 1.5 hours

1 cup (320g) maple syrup
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed 
1/2 cup (110g) melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup (100g) brown rice flour
1/3 cup (40g) almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
2 cups (200g) gluten-free oats
1 cup (150g) raisins
2/3 cup (70g) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

With a fork, whisk together the maple syrup, arrowroot, and flax for several minutes. Whisk in the coconut oil, vanilla, and spices and stir until hardened. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda, and xantham gum. Stir the mixtures together vigorously for 1-2 minutes, then add the oats, raisins, and walnuts. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Roll dough into 1.5" balls, flatten with your palms slightly, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cook the sheets one at a time for the most even baking. Halfway through baking, tap a spatula lightly on each cookie to flatten the tops of the domes, rotate baking sheet, and continue cooking. Remove the cookies after 12-14 minutes, when browned around the edges but still soft and slightly wet in the center, and let cool. However, if you're like me, you'll dive into the cookies while they're still hot and get a fistful of crumbly oat goodness. These also taste ridiculously good dunked in coffee.


hazelnut scones with raspberry jam

If you want a scone you can split and slather with jam, these are the way to go. Note that the raspberry jam is the key part of this recipe; while the scones are okay without it, the subtle tartness of the raspberries truly brings out the orange and hazelnut flavors, making the scones heavenly.

Follow the blueberry lemon scone recipe, but replace the blueberries with 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted 6-8 minutes, rubbed together to remove most of the skins, and coarsely chopped. Replace the lemon flavor with orange flavor and the lemon zest for the zest of 1 orange. Instead of making the icing, serve with raspberry jam.


lemon blueberry scones

Scones are possibly my favorite pastry: unfussy, flaky wedges that always remind me of downtown cafes and sunny mornings. I get requests for these particular scones more than almost anything else, and the last time I made them, someone remarked, "Wow, I could be vegan." As much as I like to brag, I can't take all the credit; the delicate flavors of lemon and blueberry enriched with coconut oil do all the work here. If you don't have fresh blueberries, hazelnut scones with raspberry jam are equally delicious.

I like to make these smalljust big enough for a few rich bitesbut if you want larger scones just cut the dough into 10 or 12 larger triangles instead. For making scones, it also helps to have all ingredients cold ahead of time.

Makes 18 small scones
Total time: 1.5 hours

3/4 cup coconut milk, plus another 2-3 tablespoons for brushing
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or substitute olive oil)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup maple syrup (or sub 1/2 cup brown sugar and increase the coconut milk to 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon lemon flavor
zest of 1-2 lemons
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Measure out 3/4 cup coconut milk. With a fork, whisk together about 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk with the coconut oil until the mixture solidifies. Refrigerate for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the chilled coconut mixture into the flour mixture with a fork or hands (just like cutting in butter), then chill.
  4. Stir together what remains of the 3/4 cup coconut milk with the maple syrup, lemon flavor, zest, and blueberries. Pour into the flour mixture. Gently mix together until batter just comes together in clumps, then gather the clumps to form a soft dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, cover and refrigerate.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a square about 1 inch high. With a sharp knife, cut into nine smaller squares, then cut each square in half diagonally to make 18 small triangles. If you want wedge-shaped scones instead, form two circles and cut each into eighths.
  6. Place the scones on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little coconut milk, which helps the browning during baking.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. While scones are cooling, prepare the icing.

1/2 cup vegan powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1/8 teaspoon lemon flavor

Stir together the sugar and milk, and microwave for 20-30 seconds. Stir until smooth, and mix in the oil and flavor. Microwave for another 15 seconds and stir again. Repeat until the icing is runny, and drizzle over the tops of the scones, letting it drip down the sides. The icing will set once it’s cooled.


sesame tofu scramble

Tofu scrambles have become my staple food in the last year--I can make them with pretty much whatever ingredients I have and they come out good as long as I add coconut milk and salt of some sort. This asian-cuisine-inspired version is probably my favorite; I always double the batch and store leftovers in the fridge for breakfast or lunch the next couple days. 

Serves 2 very hungry people

1 tablespoon sesame, peanut, or coconut oil
1-2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2” piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
1 (around 14 oz) package firm or extra-firm tofu

¼-1/3 cup coconut milk
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari/Bragg’s Aminos, or to taste
2 teaspoons cumin, ground or whole
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
pinch of ground hot pepper, such as cayenne or chipotle, to taste
½ bunch greens (kale, collards, chard), stems removed and coarsely chopped OR several handfuls of baby spinach

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (at least)
black pepper

In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and bell pepper about 10 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add mushrooms, if using. Squeeze the excess water out of the tofu with your hands and crumble into pan. Saute another 10 minutes, until tofu is slightly browned. Stir in coconut milk, yeast, soy sauce, cumin, turmeric, and pepper. Add greens and cook another 5 minutes, until they’re wilted. Stir in sesame oil and black pepper, and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Remove from heat, and serve hot.