When creating recipes I do my very best to provide options for those that perhaps have diabetes, have gluten allergies or don’t eat meat. Now one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard people say when they talk about gluten free baked goods is that they lack flavor or have ‘odd’ textures that regular flour type desserts don’t have. While I personally do not have an intolerance to gluten I have many friends that do. And I’m a firm believer that everyone should be able to eat cake, cookies and delicious foods without having the flavor suffer.
In creating this recipe I wanted to make it so people who had gluten allergies would fall in love with gluten free baked goods that were delicious and have those that didn’t have the allergy shocked that something gluten free tasted awesome! Being a conscientious recipe creator I try to make myself well rounded so that there is food for everyone. So I set out on making a cookie that everyone would love and most could eat. I wanted to go beyond the cookie sheet and branch out into the skillet. I just so love making desserts in skillets. They are homey and just comforting. They are simple and almost have that ‘small town’ appeal. Meaning it’s welcoming, inviting. Just pull up a spoon and dig in. Plus I had an ulterior motive with the cast iron pans. I had just re-seasoned mine and wanted to test them out. But shhhhh that’ll be our little secret *wink*
Now the big thing I’ve found with gluten free cookies is while you can add 9 million things to make it taste good, the texture is just, well.. weird. Well wait, let me rephrase that.. the texture in those gluten free packages cookies are ‘off’. It was either crispy or just rubber-bandish. It was just weird. So I set out to make a non-weird gluten free cookie. Since I had my GF All Purpose Flour mix here and Gluten Free Oats (no, oats made by the Quaker dude on the can are not gluten free). I called them and was informed that since their oats travel in trucks that carry other items there is a potential that the oats could come in contact with those items that have gluten in them. I’m actually glad they state this instead of saying this. It’s rare that companies these days will say “Yes our oats are gluten free but due to them possibly coming into contact with other items that are not, we are saying no to certifying them GF.” Hats off to you guys!
Now one thing about gluten free baking is that you don’t get that rise or chewiness that regular flour lends. So you have to add other things to help. I use Xanthan Gum. Xanthan gum is a corn-based, fermented product. It’s made by fermenting corn sugar with a microbial called “Xanthomonas campestris.” It’s used extensively in the food industry to make products thicker and it’s a common ingredient in gluten-free recipes. If you can’t have this you can use Guar Gum. Guar gum comes from the seed of bean-like (legume) plant, sometimes referred to as the Indian tree. It is high in soluble fiber. According to Bob’s Red Mill Guar Gum product literature “Guar Gum has eight times the thickening power as cornstarch.” Like xanthan gum, measure carefully when using guar gum in gluten-free recipes or you may end up with heavy, stringy baked goods.
- Bread and pizza dough recipes: Add 1 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum per cup of gluten-free flour used in bread and pizza dough recipes
- Cake, muffin and quick bread recipes: Add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum per one cup of gluten-free flour used
- Cookie and bar recipes: Add 1/2 tsp (or less) xanthan gum or guar gum per one cup gluten-free flour used
As I was making this cookie dough it originally started off as just plain oatmeal with cinnamon which is amazing on it’s own but I had remembered that I bought a huge bag of macadamia nuts that I had yet to use. See I rarely buy them as they are RIDICULOUSLY expensive! I mean the first time I went to buy a pound and saw them for close to $25 I about lost it in my drawers. I actually asked if it was a typo but was assured that was correct. Yeah.. I didn’t buy them. Well a few weeks later I was shopping downtown Pittsburgh and spied a 2 pound bag for $17 which still is a lot but I was craving them and thought the price was semi more reasonable. I brought them home and put them in the freezer.
Due to their high fat content, nuts can turn rancid, especially once they’ve been shelled. When stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, most unshelled nuts keep for up to a year (walnuts and pistachios, up to 3 months). Store shelled nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 months, or freeze for up to 6 months. Since they contain almost no water, there’s no need to thaw nuts before chopping, eating, or cooking.
Since I was adding the nuts I needed to balance it out with sweetness. Now sure I could have just dipped my finger in it to add that additional sweetness (cause I’m sweet like that… or so I’m told. LOL) or add more stuff to it. I didn’t want more brown sugar but rather natural sweetness. Now to me one of the most perfect cookies out there are oatmeal raisin. They are considered the ‘ugly’ cookie in the cookie industry as they are lumpy, nothing is ooey gooey or melty when you bite into them. They are kinda the wall flower as cookies go. But that’s fine by me as I love them! I threw in some raisins and to give it some more color (and flavor cause I love them) I added in dried cranberries. You can easily put in dried blueberries in place of the raisins and cranberries.
Now I don’t know if it was a hormonal thing or not as I can’t quite explain why I threw white chocolate chips in there but I’m so glad I did. THAT made the cookie!
Now if you’re never cooked a dessert in a cast iron pan before it is AWESOME! Brownies, cakes, crumbles, crisps and cookies come out excellent! My skillet brownie was devoured in minutes! These have a rustic sort of appeal. You can make individual ones in smaller pans or make a communal one for a family-style dish. If you want a date night dessert, go with two 6″ pans and make this cookie or the brownie, top with ice cream and break out 2 spoons. PERFECT date night dessert. You can have one for dessert and one for breakfast (wink). And people, if your date saves you the last bite… they are a keeper! Kinda of like when you eat a sugar cone ice cream cone and you can’t eat all of the ice cream but the tip of the cone is your favorite part. See I’ll do that. Mr. Fantabulous and I will each get waffle cones. He devours his while I’m still eating a few bites of my ice cream. I’ll then give him mine but he always, always give me the bottom part of the cone. THAT is true love!
Now my very first time making a cookie in a cast iron skillet I was pretty scared as I didn’t want it to stick. You all know I am a firm believer of parchment paper when baking. But Mom and Grandma never used it in their cast iron and their stuff was always awesome so I gave it a shot. Once the dough was made up I lightly sprayed my re-seasoned pan and patted the dough down into it. I popped it in the oven and watched it evolve into the most amazing looking oatmeal cookie. The smells were incredible! You could smell the warm toasty macadamia nuts, the cinnamon and brown sugar. Seriously I want a perfume of this stuff!
Now as you can see I made 2 as one is cut and another is in the pan. While they cooled I drizzled some melted white chocolate on top. When melting white chocolate you most likely will have to add a trace bit of fat to help it melt and become smooth. White chocolate doesn’t have much fat in it so it often doesn’t melt smooth. Once cooled I took the one out (which came out with no effort!) and cut a slice. I wish you were in my kitchen when I made this as the smell was intoxicating. The crust was crisp but the parts that didn’t touch the pan were soft and chewy. Seriously the texture was perfect. BUT the big test was the taste.
Once I was done with the photo shoot (and sneaking about 37 pieces of crumbs) it was time to taste it. Like I said earlier gluten free baked goods can often look pretty but taste like the box they came in. So I took that first bite…and then a second bite…followed by a third and fourth bite. Hey I’m an engineer, I had to be sure it was good. Like I felt that I owed you folks an in-depth analysis done on it. It was my civic duty… right? *wink*
As I finished my slice I then felt confident to give an assessment. What would I change? How could I improve it? Honestly… I’d change nothing and it needs no improvement. It’s THAT good! Seriously, make this. You can thank me later.
Now not everyone has (or needs) gluten free products at home so I made a 2nd one that was made with regular all purpose flour and oats. I left out the xanthan and honestly I could not tell the difference in taste or texture. This Gluten Free Loaded Oatmeal Skillet Cookie ROCKED! So I ended up leaving one here for us (me) to snack on, took one to my girlfriend at work and then the others I froze. We had had unexpected company pop by so I hurried up and grabbed one out of the freezer, let it thaw and served it with tea and coffee. They LOVED it! So yes, this freezes beautifully!Print
- 8 Tbl unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 Xl egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup Gluten Free rolled oats (not quick or instant) *can use regular oats when making non-gluten free)
- 3/4 cup gluten free flour or regular all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xanthan *omit when making non-gluten free
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup rough chopped macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips, divided
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter, light brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. ~4 minutes.
- Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Shut off the mixer and add in the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and xanthan.
- Turn the mixer on low and mix just until combined.
- Shut off the mixer and add in the oats, nuts, cranberries, raisins and 1 cup white chocolate chips; mix just until combined. Do not over mix (no more than 15-30 seconds).
- Lightly spray a 10-12” cast iron pan.
- Place the dough in the pan and pat down until even.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes or just until lightly golden brown (the inside may seem under baked but this is ok as it will continue baking due to the residual heat from the pan).
- Place the pan on a heat-safe cooling rack.
- While the cookie is cooling melt the 1/4 cup with 1/2 tsp vegetable oil until smooth.
- Drizzle on top of the cookie.
- Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
To freeze allow to cool completely, double wrap in plastic wrap then place in a freezer safe bag or foil. Label and date the outside. When ready to serve, just take out of the freezer for 30 minutes or so and dig in!