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  • Jules Shepard
    Jules Shepard

    Gluten-Free Oats? YES! Chewy, Yummy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Gluten-Free)

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    In the celiac world, there remains a long-standing controversy over whether to exclude oats and oat products from the list of "safe" gluten-free grains.  When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, standard protocol recommended against including oats in a gluten-free diet, but more recent studies show that oats themselves are likely not the source of a celiac reaction.  Instead, researchers now believe that the fact that milled oats are often contaminated with other gluten-containing grains has skewed diagnostic testing of reactions to gluten from oat products.

    The most recent scientific statements on the inclusion of a reasonable amount of oats (1 cup or less per day) in a gluten-free diet indicate that most individuals with celiac disease can actually tolerate uncontaminated oats.  However, health professionals (including the American Dietetic Association) recommend that newly diagnosed celiac patients avoid oats until the disease is well-controlled with full resolution of symptoms and normal blood tests demonstrate that tissue transglutaminase levels (IgA tTG) are under control.  Gastroenterologists also universally caution that introducing oats into your diet should only be done under the guidance of your physician.

    Federal food labeling laws and rules have incorporated this recent research and have not per se excluded oats from future "gluten-free" labeling, so long as the manufacturer seeking to dub its oat containing product "gluten-free" demonstrates that there is less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in that product, just as in any other.  Thus, it seems the greatest hurdle to reintroducing oats to your gluten-free diet will be the shortage of mills and processing plants which produce certified "gluten-free" oats (and the resulting high cost of those few products)!

    I decided to try these outrageously expensive "gluten-free" oats myself to expand my baking horizons (of course, I discussed this with my physician first...).  I doubt I will be sitting down to a big bowl of oatmeal anytime soon, since I still love my grits and they are probably 1/5 the price of gluten-free oats!  However, as it would be challenging to make oatmeal-like cookies with grits, I dove into my $12 box of oats to see what happened.  (Granted, as time goes by, companies like Bob's Red Mill are thankfully making gluten-free oats more prolific -- and thus, less expensive -- they will always be more expensive than my grits!)

    Just as an aside, I recently found a product available (finally) in the United States that would probably make a mean oatmeal cookie for those of you who are unable or unwilling to give the gluten-free oats a try.  On one of my European adventures many years ago I thoroughly enjoyed German muesli made with rice flakes, but have since been unsuccessful finding them Stateside.  Imagine my surprise when, on a slightly less exciting adventure last week, I discovered them at David's Natural Market in Columbia, Maryland!

    But back to the oats.  I used them quite successfully in the first oatmeal-raisin cookie I have had since 1999, and I'm pleased to share the recipe with any of you who would like to try!  The oats I used were Lara's and the rice flake substitute I found at my local organic market was made by Shiloh Farms.  The cookies are soft, moist, chewy, full of cinnamon-y flavor and are almost totally gone, so I only had 2 left for a picture!  I probably should have doubled the recipe, but my oats were so darn expensive!  Oh well, these are worth splurging for next time.

    I hope you enjoy!
    ~jules

    Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    ½ cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or butter
    ½ cup granulated cane sugar
    ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1 egg + 1 egg white
    ½ teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
    1 cup All Purpose Nearly Normal Gluten-Free Flour Mix
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 ½ cups gluten-free oats*
    ½ cup baking raisins**

    Cream the sugars and butter until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and thoroughly incorporate into the batter.  Stir in the vanilla last.

    In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except oats), mixing well.  Stir into the creamed mixture until integrated.  Stir in the oats and raisins.  Cover the bowl and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

    Preheat oven to 350 F for static ovens or 325 F for convection.

    Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until lightly brown.  If you can wait, let them cool on a wire rack before removing.

    *Note: Not all people with celiac disease can include oats in their diets. For more information on whether they are appropriate for your diet please see our Celiac Disease and Oats section.
    **If you do not have baking raisins on hand, gently boil ½ cup of raisins in a saucepan with enough water to cover them.  Drain, then add to your recipe.


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    I tried these cookies yesterday...and they turned out awesome! Well, my first batch in the oven didn't, but I added more flour because I am at high altitude (I figure 1/2 cup more for the total recipe) the first batch was flat and sticky...but the rest were Oh so yummy ! I also used my own version of flour mixture using rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, and xanthan...as I did not have the other, and it worked great...and yes, chilling the dough is a MUST! My dad thanks you for this recipe! I thank you too...as now I have moved considerably up the ladder in the favorite daughter department!

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    These are good cookies, if you double the amount of flour and bake them for 15 minutes. I am not at an altitude that this should be a problem, but the first batch was so flat/thin and fragile that you couldn't remove them from the pan without breaking (called that batch granola) I did chill the dough, but it was just a mess. The flavor is good and worth adjusting the flour.

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    These cookies are amazing!!! I made them for my family yesterday and they are almost all gone. Jules flour is the best.....I can bake anything with her flour!!!! Thank you Jules.

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    Just finished making a batch and they look great, I added a half teaspoon of nutmeg, (because I love it so much) but everything else I followed according to the recipe. Can't wait to share these with my friends.

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    I've been told it is very hard to find oats in the US that are not milled on equipment that is used for wheat--therefore, no matter how safe oats are, they are likely to be contaminated through the milling equipment. Do you have a source that is milled separately?

    Bobs Red mill has gluten-free oats....can only find it in my local family run health food store...hope that helps....good luck!

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    The taste of the cookies was good however I had the same problem as some others, the cookies flatten and difficult to remove from cookie sheet. These were used as loose granola. I though placed the second batch in lined muffin pans and they came out like granola muffins, shaped by the liners.

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  • About Me

    Atop each of Jules Shepard’s free weekly recipe newsletters is her mantra: “Perfecting Gluten-Free Baking, Together.” From her easy-to-read cookbook (“Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten Free Eating”) to her highly rated reference for making the transition to living gluten free easier (“The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free”), Jules is tireless in the kitchen, at the keyboard and in person in helping people eating gluten free do it with ease, with style and with no compromises.
     
    In the kitchen, she creates recipes for beautiful, tasty gluten-free foods that most people could never tell are gluten free. As a writer, she produces a steady stream of baking tips, living advice, encouragement and insights through magazine articles, her web site (gfJules.com), newsletter, e-books and on sites like celiac.com and others. Jules also maintains a busy schedule of speaking at celiac and gluten-free gatherings, appearing on TV and radio shows, baking industry conventions, as well as teaching classes on the ease and freedom of baking at home.
     
    Her patent-pending all-purpose flour literally has changed lives for families who thought going gluten free meant going without. Thousands read her weekly newsletter, follow her on Twitter and interact with her on FaceBook.  

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