Recipe: Maple oatmeal (raisin) cookies

I took this before going to bed on Saturday. They were all gone by 1 pm on Sunday. Guess they weren't too bad...
I took this before going to bed on Saturday. They were all gone by 1 pm on Sunday. Guess they weren’t too bad…

I’ve been planning to make oatmeal raisin cookies basically since I got to the UK, but their place in the recipe queue (queue? gasp! I’m turning British!) was supplanted by baked apples. They’re similar enough recipes that making the cookies very soon after making the apples seemed kind of boring; besides, I didn’t have any wheat-free flour until a few weeks ago. Now it’s been a few weeks, the Halloween candy and Bonfire Night toffee apples are gone, and I just felt like baking something again. Plus, I found spelt flour that’s only marginally more expensive than the GF flour blend I bought, and decided that the extra 30p per kilo is worth it for the nutritional benefits and knowing what I’m working with. I need to use up my old flour before I go out and buy new stuff (I know flour keeps really well, but I’m less than 100% confident in the rodent-proofness of our house in general and my personal cupboard in particular, so I’d rather not have too much ), so cookies it is!

Most of the ingredients, all ready for use.
Most of the ingredients, all ready for use.
The dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
The dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Mixing demerara sugar and melted vegan margarine...because it's what I have. Use brown sugar and real butter if you've got them!
Mixing demerara sugar and melted vegan margarine…because it’s what I have. Use brown sugar and real butter if you’ve got them!
Goopy dough being mixed in a soup pot because we have no large bowls.
Goopy dough being mixed in a soup pot because we have no large bowls.

These were going to be plain old oatmeal raisin cookies, but then I saw maple syrup at Aldi for a reasonable price and was instantly convinced that this would be a great recipe for it. Very few things are not improved by the addition/substitution of maple syrup. I wasn’t sure how well maple and raisins would go together, so I omitted raisins from half the cookies. I also opted to fancy-up the plain maple ones by rolling them in demerara sugar before smashing them on to the baking sheet, figuring that a little extra sweetness and crunch would no go amiss (it did not).

Sugar for rolling, chilled (still quite sticky) dough, and a greased baking sheet.
Sugar for rolling, chilled (still quite sticky) dough, and a greased baking sheet.

In the end, these turned out to be nicely chewy and reasonably delicious cookies, though not normally something I would write home about.  I found the maple flavor a little too subtle for my taste, though it came out better the next day. I would probably try increasing the amount of maple syrup and reducing the amount of sugar and yogurt to compensate. The raisins were not a bad addition, but they overwhelmed (or at least didn’t complement) the maple, so the second half of the batch just tasted like standard oatmeal raisin cookies. My oatmeal-loving housemates didn’t find either of these aspects particularly problematic, or they were too polite to say…in any case, they were gone pretty quickly. 🙂

The no-raisin cookies, just pulled from the oven.
The no-raisin cookies, just pulled from the oven.

Other suggestions for future iterations: I think dried cranberries would go better with the maple flavor, so substituting those for the raisins might be good. Stirring in some chopped walnuts or pecans would add a nice change in texture and also complement the maple. I’d also increase the amount of cinnamon to 1/2 tsp or more, since I couldn’t taste it much this time (adding smaller amounts of  nutmeg and/or allspice could also be good). I’d almost be inclined to add orange zest with those craisins…but too many flavors can spoil the cookie! Perhaps it’s best to stick with maple.

Still warm but ready to eat!
Still warm but ready to eat!

Maple Oatmeal (Raisin) Cookies

Adapted from: The Healthy Maven and No Gluten, No Problem.

Yield: ~2 dozen cookies.

1/4 c melted butter or coconut oil, plus more for baking sheets
1/2 c brown sugar (I used demerara)
1/4 c plain yogurt or unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c pure maple syrup
2 medium eggs (or 2 large egg whites)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 c rolled oats (I used oatmeal because it’s what I had)
1/2 c all-purpose GF flour blend (Dove’s Farm in my case)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c raisins (optional; I used half the quantity in half the dough)
Demerara sugar for rolling (about 1/4  to 1/2 c)

In a large bowl, combine melted butter/oil and sugar and mix thoroughly. When they are combined, stir in yogurt, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Optionally, stir in raisins (I actually did this right before baking, but just because I only wanted them in half the cookies.)

Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably several hours. (This helps gluten-free and low-gluten cookies set up and not spread too much while baking.)

When ready to bake: preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Lightly grease/oil two baking sheets. Scoop tablespoons of dough, roll into balls, roll in demerara sugar (optional). Place on the cookie sheet (12 per sheet for a standard-sized cookie sheet) and flatten lightly. Bake for 12-15  minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool ~5 minutes on sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

Serving suggestion: warm or at room temperature, with milk or tea, at tea time or after any meal. Maybe spread a little peanut butter on there. You know you want to.

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