Monday, December 9, 2013

Gluten-Free & Vegan Granola Cookies: Now We're Talking...

According to my boss and mentor (she's the first to have coined me a "canary"), this is "a real cookie."  Not that she was saying that my other cookies haven't been "real," but that this was clearly a cookie, as opposed to a biscuit, and this was also clearly a dessert.  And when she went so far as to say that perhaps I should think about selling her the recipe so she could add them to the restaurant menu, I knew I had a winning recipe on my hands.

[commence proud papa dance]

Now I will be the first to admit that my idea of dessert is far from ordinary.  I love toeing the line between sweet and savory, surprising the palate with herbs and spices that seem out of context, and giving one the opportunity to rediscover and redefine the parameters of what a final course can be.  I want dessert to be more than just sugar, fluff, and empty calories - I want it to be dynamic, fun, complex, evocative, bold, satisfying, and ultimately, memorable.  


Tartlette with cashew cream, fig, and cherry tomato.

Fennel sugar cookie with black pepper.

Garam masala spiced granola.

But alas, I can't always bake for myself.

Now, that being said, these cookies still manage to check all the boxes for me.  I've ever so slightly adjusted the sweetness to make them a bit more "public sweet" so even the least adventurous of diners will still find them enjoyable.  With the heartiness of oats, the chewiness of candied ginger and raisins, and the sensation and aroma of cardamom like fog rising from meadow grass, the sweetness is totally balanced and the overall experience simply lends itself to leave you wanting more.

So, without further ado, I present today's recipe for oat granola cookies with candied ginger and raisins.  

It's a real cookie - for real, for real.

Spiced Oat Granola Cookie with Candied Ginger & Raisins
Adapted from my Auntie Edna's recipe for Cereal Cookies
Gluten-Free & Vegan

Active Prep Time:  5-10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time:  15 minutes
Baking Time:  20 minutes
Yield:  about 2 dozen

1 c (5 1/2 oz) gluten-free all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) slightly softened coconut oil
1/4 c (1 1/2 oz) coconut sugar

2 oz oil
1/8 c (1 oz) raw coconut nectar
1 tablespoon whole psyllium husks
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 c (4 oz) gluten free oat granola cereal
1/4 c (1 oz) unsweetened raisins
1/4 c (1 oz) candied ginger
2 teaspoons whole flax seeds

What you'll need:  two mixing bowls, whisk, spatula, tablespoon-sized baking scoop, parchment paper, insulated baking sheet, wire cooling rack

1.  Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk well.
2.  In other mixing bowl, cream coconut oil and coconut sugar with whisk until fluffy and light in color.  It is important for the texture of the cookies that the coconut oil only be slightly softened and not liquid at this point.  
3.  Add remaining wet ingredients and psyllium husks and whisk to combine.
4.  Fold granola, raisins, ginger, and flax seeds into wet mixture until completely incorporated.  I used cashew coconut granola that I had made a few days before, but if granola is not available or not desired, feel free to substitute another cereal or muesli.  Just be sure to follow the weight prescribed in this recipe (4 oz) as opposed to the volume (1 cup).  Muy importante.
5.  Then fold wet mixture into the dry mixture.  The resulting dough will be greasy and sticky.  Cover and chill for 10-15 minutes.
6.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
7.  After chilling, the dough will be much more manageable.  Arrange tablespoon-sized balls of the dough at least 2" apart and flatten slightly.  The cookies will spread, so be sure to leave sufficient room for them to do their thing.
8.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, matte in appearance, solid to the touch, and awesomely aromatic.
9.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Creamy & sweet.

Chopped both big and small for a diversity of delicious texture.

This is where it gets fun...

A sticky and greasy dough means you're on the right track!

Much more manageable after chilling.

Too pretty to eat?  Perish the thought.

I sincerely hope that you will enjoy this cookie as much as I do.  Credit must go to my Auntie Edna in the Philippines who gave me the recipe that this cookie is based on.  I had asked for some of my late grandmother's recipes during my visit in 2012, and along with them, she also transcribed some of her own "famous" recipes.  From my first trial adapting the cookies to be both gluten-free and vegan, they were already really good.  And with every successive trial, they have been super cooperative in my efforts to make them even more delicious.

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful Holiday season thus far, and I hope that it only continues to grow brighter and more loving every day.


  1. They are stunners =) I bet you were doing a similar dance when you were eating them as I was the other night while trying my vegan and gluten free double dark chocolate miso brownies. Success! Auntie Edna will surely be delighted with your adaptation. She will of course demand a batch or two for the family; the next time that we're in town.

    Let us toast with a cookie and enjoy the fruits of our labor =)


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