If I have to eat oatmeal, I prefer it in cookie form.  I love cookies — butter and sugar in perfect balance.

Alton Brown got me started down the “all oats” line of thinking.  The resulting cookie should be at least as healthy as a bowl of oat-based cold cereal, shouldn’t it?  His recipe involves toasting oats and all kinds of fiddling around, which is ok if you have the time.  Not quite an every-day sort of adventure.

Lately I had an oatmeal bar in a coffee shop that looked promising. On tasting, apparently it contained oats, butter and sugar all right, but not much of the latter two ingredients.  Kinda shortbread-y, pretty dry, and not quite what I wanted.  I wanted a virtuous cookie, but a cookie nonetheless. The recipe had to be fast, easy, and not make 6 dozen.

I have tweaked a recipe that Epicurious dropped into my email, that seemed headed in the right direction, and leant itself to a little variation. See what you think.

Almost Breakfast Oaty Oatmeal Cookies


  • 2 ¼ cups rolled oats (not quick, not instant)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Up to 1 cup nuts of choice, toasted if you have the time
  • Up to 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Optional:  2 Tbsp cocoa


I make these in the food processor, start to finish.  You’ll need a processor or blender to make the oat flour, but after that you could use an electric mixer of some kind, or good old muscle power and a spoon, if that’s all you have.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment or Silpats – even waxed paper will do.
Don’t attempt to bake these on a plain greased cookie sheet – you’ll never get them off.

Measure out 1 ¼ cups of oats.  Whiz them in a food processor or blender until they are as finely ground as you can get them. It might take up to 3 minutes of continuous running — don’t stop too soon.  You could toast them first for a slightly nutty flavor, but when I want cookies, I want them NOW and I don’t usually take time to toast anything.  Toasting nuts really does bring out their best character though, and I suppose the same can be said for oats.

Pour the oat flour into a bowl and combine it with cornstarch, baking powder and salt.

The Epicurious recipe suggested the cornstarch as their goal was a flourless cookie.  It acts as a binder, along with the egg.  If gluten isn’t an issue for you, I think you could add a tablespoon of regular old all-purpose flour in place of the cornstarch.  A gluten-free flour blend would work just as well.

Just for fun, I added a couple of tablespoons of cocoa to this batch, as well as the cornstarch. There’s enough butter and egg to hold the batter together, and my eggs were really large.

Back in the food processor, cream the butter and sugars until, well, creamy.  This will go quickly if the butter is at room
temperature.  If the butter is right out of the fridge, cut it into 1cm cubes, pulse with the sugar, and then run the
processor until its heat warms everything up and the mixture is well-creamed.  If working by hand, this is the hard part.



Add in the eggs and vanilla, processing until smooth, which only takes a few seconds.  You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add in the reserved oat flour mixture.  Process until smooth, scraping as needed.  This is where I added in my cocoa. My batter was pretty thin — you might consider adding in an extra tablespoon of flour, cornstarch, or gluten-free blend.  My eggs were extra-large, and I think that made a difference.  Xanthan gum is not strictly necessary, but 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon wouldn’t do any harm.


Add the remaining cup of rolled oats and the nuts.  The nuts are optional, but they really add flavor and texture to an otherwise plain-jane cookie base. Pulse until the nuts are nicely chopped, about 5 times.  If you’re working by hand, chop the nuts before stirring them in.

I like to stir in the chocolate chips by hand, so they don’t get pulverized.  Suit yourself.  If you don’t want chocolate chips in your cookies, by all means leave them out.  If you like coconut, add it in.  Raisins would be good in these cookies, unless you hate them (Robin, you know I understand) in which case you could use dried cranberries.

Drop rounded tablespoons-ful of dough two inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Wet your fingers, and flatten the dough balls a little for more even spreading during baking.  I always use a 2-Tablespoon portion scoop, because I have one — in fact I have three sizes.  If you bake often, I would strongly suggest you get one too, in the size you think best reflects the perfect cookie.

Bake for 12 minutes if you want slightly soft and chewy cookies, 15 minutes for a crisper result.  Cool on the sheet for at least a minute.  Use something like a pancake flipper or an offset spatula to move the cookies to a rack to cool completely — they tend to stick, even to the Silpat.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature, or freeze.  I really like the crunchy texture of a frozen cookie, so hiding them in the freezer doesn’t impede my consumption at all.

You could do the math and easily cut this recipe in half, but since these are good “keepers”, having a few stashed away isn’t a bad thing.  Send them into the office — they’re great to share at coffee break.

You can leave out the chocolate and the nuts and just make plain oatmeal cookies. I would suggest adding a little cinnamon, or ginger, or nutmeg, or all three.  The number of cookies will drop dramatically without the bulky extra ingredients, which might be an asset if you don’t want a lot of cookies cluttering up your freezer.

Next time I’m going to try using ¼ cup butter and ½ cup peanut butter.   If it’s a success, I’ll let you know!