Oat-chocolate cookies (whole grain,
no refined sweeteners, & still worth their butter

February 25, 2011 · 14 comments

I had the pleasure of leading a short discussion this week, with a group of parents at a friend’s church. The topic was sugar — I came armed-and-ready with all the notes from my sugar series, and proceeded to dump information on small a group of (perhaps unsuspecting) moms (plus one dad) for an hour. What I learned this week was that I’m a much more concise writer than talker. When I talk, rabbits get chased, shiny objects get followed, and trains-of-thought get derailed. There’s no “undo” button for my spoken word, no way to go back and not waste so much time on one thought when another one was just as deserving.

It kind of reminded me of the very situations that caused me to start blogging: by the end of the conversation, I wasn’t sure where I stood with my listeners, whether I did more damage than good to their thoughts about sweeteners. An admittedly appealing aspect of blogging is that I don’t have to witness anyone’s eyes glazing-over, or know if someone clicks away without finishing a post. I am a blissfully ignorant sharer of information.

But what I can’t do, ever, in blogging, is give everyone a cookie. Which is exactly what I did at the end of my talk — I figure if I’ve left anyone’s brain in a minutia-induced fog, the least I can do is end on a sweet note.

Of course, it helped that I wasn’t just passing around a box of Oreo’s (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — but homemade, edible example of using the kind of unrefined sweeteners I’d been talking about. I have no shame in the fact that I do use white table sugar in recipes (often, cookies) in our house. But when a recipe takes well to the molasses-y tones of an unrefined dry sweetener, I’ll reach for it every time. It was a bonus that, since this recipe calls for whole oats, they also hold their own using whole-grain flour rather than all-purpose (or a combination). Truly, these are some of the most addictive unrefined cookies I’ve ever made.

The recipe is loosely adapted from one acquired from a bakery I worked at in Georgia. Their dessert case offered a single egg-and-dairy-free cookie — the Vegan Oatmeal-Chocolate. They were, by far, my favorite cookie to sneak at work. I think most of this is due to their saltiness — I’ve long been guilty of bumping up the salt just a touch in cookie recipes, to give (what I consider to be) a better sweet/salty balance in our favorite hand-held dessert. But they were also sturdy and somehow delicate, an oatmeal cookie that didn’t too-closely resemble a version of what I ate for breakfast.

I use my own sprouted wheat flour in these, but you can use whole-wheat pastry flour with equal success. If you don’t have sucanat (or Rapadura) you could substitute a mixture of 1/2 white sugar, 1/2 brown sugar. But I encourage you to pick up sucanat in bulk at your health food store, and experiment with it. It’s flavor is earthy and rich, and the unrefined nature is gentler on spiking blood sugar (something mine is quick to do).

Watch these carefully in their last minutes in the oven, especially if you use a dark pan — they can go from perfect to charred very quickly.


Whole-grain Oat-Chocolate Cookies
makes about 36 2″ cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry (or sprouted) flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sucanat
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Have oven racks in two middle positions.

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients (oats through salt).

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer), cream together the butter and sucanat until well-combined and a bit fluffy, about 2 minutes (scrape down the bowl as necessary). Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix by hand or on low-speed until well-dispersed.

Scoop tablespoon-sized balls and place 2″ apart on cookie sheets. With a greased palm, flatten each ball into a disk.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, switching the cookie sheets from front to back and top to bottom, about halfway through. Watch closely at the end — it’s hard to tell they are browning until they are almost overcooked.

Let cool completely on racks, and store in an airtight container.

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Katie February 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Sounds yummy! Think I could sub a gluten free all purpose flour?

katy February 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I do! (You have access to gluten-free oats? They are sometimes hard to get, aren’t they?)

SK February 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Would agave nectar work as a substitute? Or is that a no-no in baking — substituting a liquid ingredient for a dry one?

katy February 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm

SK, you obviously didn’t read my damning critique of agave nectar in my last post???????

But even if you use it, you can’t use it as a substitute, as it throws off the liquid/dry ratios.

SK February 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Doh! Just read your last post on sweetners. Didn’t know that about agave nectar.

Have you tried sucanat in coffee? That’s really the only food I add a sweetner to these days. So if it’s not too bad, I’m golden. However, I would imagine the molasses piece of sucanat might color the taste of coffee in a negative way.

katy February 27, 2011 at 11:35 am

I have not tried sucanat in coffee — though I think you’re right, it might taste funny.

Solution: keep the creamer, lose the sweet! Especially if you drink more than one cup a day.

I’m guessing you drink more than one cup?

erin from swonderland February 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

1. blogging is so funny. remember when i stopped paying attention to what i was saying and instead was thinking about my mayonnaise the other day? that’s what happens when i talk instead of write. i get all twittery and confused.

2. i always bump up the salt in cookies. and oatmeal cookies are my favorite.

katy February 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

I do remember your mayo distraction — only because as I watched you struggle to keep your thoughts, I completely related.

Salty cookies = the best cookies

Hannah February 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Your posts always come at the perfect time for me! I was thinking cookies were what were missing in my life when I got the notice for this, so I made these this afternoon, and they were great! I have been using sucanat in cookies for awhile now, but it worked the best so far in these. The whole family loved them. I chopped up a good dark baking chocolate instead of chips, and also did my favorite new cookie trick discovered by accident. Recently I didn’t have any fine salt, so I used a coarse Kosher sea salt in my cookies in the same amount. Turns out I loved it! Now, I just kind of rub the sea salt in my fingers to break it up a bit, but I find that even though it’s the same amount of salt, the flavor comes out more in these wonderful little bursts. Might not be for everyone, but for those of us who like a salty counter to the sweet, it’s an accidental tradition I’m gonna keep! Have you ever tried that?

katy February 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

Hannah, I think kosher or coarse sea salt would be fantastic in a cookie — I will definitely try it next time! And dark baking chocolate sounds wonderful — I wish I’d had some good dark chocolate on-hand — I think it would be better than semi-sweet.

Another friend said she added dried cherries. Perfect.

sj February 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

so what is whole wheat pastry flour?

katy February 28, 2011 at 8:12 am

you can usually get it in bulk at Whole Foods. It’s a finer flour, with probably(?) a different protein content than regular whole-wheat flour. It makes for lighter results in baking — but don’t use it for whole wheat bread!

Heather from TPS--Tarrey's wife March 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Katy–you did a great job at our church last week! I loved listening to you, and hopefully I didn’t talk too much myself! Like you, I seem to have found a passion/obsession with food lately! Oh yeah—and the cookies were awesome!

Lily and I made your granola (I added some carob chocolate chips) this weekend and we love it! The kids snack on it everyday, and I just had it with some almond milk for dinner! Yummy!

Hope to see you more often!

katy March 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Thanks Heather! I was glad to have you there — it’s always nice to look out and see someone nodding their head in agreement ; )

Glad you enjoyed the granola — funny, I soon plan to post a third variation — I just can’t keep from tweaking it over the years, and each time I think it’s better.

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