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.


  1. Love the photo! Three's a charm! ...and the variations are enticing.....

  2. Gauri Radha गौरी राधाMarch 21, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Those look fantastic!!! I love vegan cookies.