Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

rutabaga, Sharon Newport on the Levee, Pass The Plate 010Converting recipes can be a big challenge.  I started converting this recipe before Christmas in 2011.  I was wanting a good cookie after going dairy-free and I was missing making the Grandma Brown’s (Dawn’s grandmother) chocolate chip cookies.  Dawn and her mom shared the recipe with me long ago and there was always something comforting about visiting Dawn and making these cookies with her.  Fast forward to a little over a month ago when Heather of Gluten-Free Cat (link is for the cookies she sent me) emailed me asking if I wanted to participate in BeBetsy’s Pass the Plate even though I already had a lot going on with work.

I had to sit on it for a bit before I responded.  I probably should have said no.  I probably should have let her pass it on to someone else.  I probably should have just focused on me.  But I didn’t.  I said, yes.  With the craziness of work and putting in my two-week notice, the general holiday craziness, and trying to get myself on track to really recover from this adrenal fatigue I really didn’t need something extra to do.  Then I thought about my friends who are breast cancer survivors and a friend who is battling breast cancer right now.  I felt compelled to do this no matter what else I had going on.  KitchenAid is donating $5 to the Komen Foundation each time these plates are passed.

The plates.  Oh my goodness, the plates!  They were designed by Jacques Pepin.  Isn’t it gorgeous? rutabaga, Sharon Newport on the Levee, Pass The Plate 027

The cookies took many conversion attempts because I was trying different egg replacers and different all-purpose gluten-free flours.  I finally hit the jackpot with the attempt that I should have done first but I know some people who are gluten-free who have problems with the brand of flour I used.  I was trying to find one that is fairly readily available.  For those of you who have difficulty with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free products, I did this for you!  However, the other two brands I tried along with different egg-replacers resulted in a cookie that was too grainy.  Grainy cookies will not do.  If this recipe hadn’t worked, my next attempt was going to be flourless.  I will try it in the future, but right now, I’m a bit cookie’d out.  As it is, I packed as many of the cookies into the container to ship to Johnna as I could.  My SIL has already requested the remainder of the cookies.  Thank goodness!

A few other notes about these cookies before I give you the recipe.  Dawn, Mom, and I all agree that Black Walnut extract is what makes these cookies versus using Vanilla extract.  Vanilla can be used, but Black Walnut extract is definitely our preference.  For the chocolate chunks I chopped up some Lindt 85% Special Dark Chocolate bar because I prefer dark chocolate and this particular bar has no dairy or soy.  I did use up some Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips but they were too sweet for me even using less than I would normally use.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies – about 2 dozen

1/4 cup palm shortening

1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (I used the soy-free), room temperature

1 cup palm sugar (I pulsed mine a little in my spice grinder)

1 tablespoon flax meal

3 tablespoons filtered water

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free flour (King Arther and 1-2-3 Gluten-Free brands made the cookie grainy)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats

1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (use 1/3 to 1/2 cup if they are mini chunks or chips)

1 teaspoon black walnut extract (or vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.  If this is your first time baking gluten-free cookies, please don’t skip lining your cookie sheets.  You’ll thank me later.  Cream together shortening, Earth Balance, and palm sugar.  Mix together flax meal and water and set aside.  If you are doing egg-free for the first time, this is called a flax egg.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir up the flax egg again and add to the creamed butter and sugar.  Mix well.  Add in flour and mix well again.  If you are using a stand mixer, take the bowl out and add in the rolled oats and chocolate, mixing together by hand with a spoon or spatula.  Add in the extract and stir well.  Drop by tablespoonfuls (I used a tablespoon sized ice cream scoop for uniformity) onto the lined cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Leave on the sheets when you take them out of the oven and let them sit for 2-3 minutes more to help them set better.  Remove from the cookie sheets to a rack to cool.

rutabaga, Sharon Newport on the Levee, Pass The Plate 026

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesday at The Gluten-Free Homemaker and to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free