I’ve been a fan of oatmeal cookies for a long time. Cue the flashback.
Once upon a time, in a chocolate and toffee scented land, far far away . . . actually not that far. Five hours by car give or take. If you closed your eyes and drifted off to sleep, you could get there in mere seconds. At least, that’s the story my parents told. And being eager to get to Grandma’s house, I heeded their advice. Why risk it?
Grandma always greeted me with a big hug and the sweetest words – “I made extra cookies for you. They’re in a bag under your pillow. Don’t tell anyone, okay?” My lips were sealed of course. Busy eating cookies, sealed.
Her oatmeal cookies were tender and chewy, full of chocolate chips, and subtly flavored with a magical combination of spices. The flavor eluded me for years until I baked with mesquite flour. Know that moment when you recognize something new as familiar and comforting?
She may not have used mesquite flour, but Grandma’s cookies were always cause for celebration.
Just a few tablespoons of mesquite flour takes this cookie from good to really great. Skip it and you'll miss out on the magic. See notes after recipe for substitution ideas.
- 1 3/4 cups gluten free flour
- 1/4 cup mesquite flour
- 1.5 teaspoons guar gum
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch each: cardamom and ginger
- 3/4 cup organic shortening
- 1 1/3 cups brown or coconut sugar
- 2/3 cup RIPE mashed banana
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup gluten free oats
- 1 cup chocolate chunks
In a medium bowl, combine: gf flour, mesquite flour, guar gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, and ginger. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine: shortening, sugar, ripe banana, and vanilla. Blend thoroughly, scraping down side of bowl as needed.
Add flour mixture and blend well. Add oats, a little at a time, mixing well to incorporate all. Fold in chocolate chunks. Refrigerate dough or scoop into balls, then refrigerate overnight.
It's easiest to scoop dough into balls before refrigerating. Use a #40 disher to scoop 30 cookie dough balls.
To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dough balls on parchment lined pans. 12 cookies will bake comfortably on one pan. Flatten dough balls slightly. Sprinkle tops with additional oats if you like.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies cool before removing from pan. Cookies will firm up more as they cool.
(If you like extra large, meal-sized cookies, use a #12 disher to scoop about 10 dough balls. Bake large cookies for 18-19 minutes.)
Organic shortening, what? It's naturally solid at room temperature. Sub coconut oil (2/3 cup) or a vegan butter in place of the shortening.
The taste of mesquite flour is unique. Sub an equal portion of gluten free all purpose flour if you must. Add a teaspoon of cocoa and slightly increase cinnamon as well.
Look for gluten free oats in stores or online. If you can't find or use gluten free oats, try quinoa flakes. Ask at stores if you can't find them - sometimes they're in the cereal aisle, sometimes in the gluten free/organic section.
A combination of flours usually gives the best result for gluten free baked goods. Both sorghum and rice flour blends work well in this recipe.
Ripe bananas are a must. Cookies LOVE ugly bananas.
Ripe bananas are crucial for this recipe. They’re sweeter and so much better for baking when allowed to ripen fully. Those bulk bagged bananas sometimes available in produce sections? Ugly, but rarely ripe. The bananas turning brown in this photo are starting to get ripe, but not ready for baking. After bananas ripen, throw them in the freezer, peel and all. Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave as needed.