The best kind of recipe is one that is tried and true. To me that means, the recipe is easy to make and the results are always delicious. What brings a recipe up the next level in my opinion is when it’s really easy to change the recipe up just a bit and end up with a whole new and equally good—or better!—recipe. These Cashew Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are a great example of changing up a tried and true recipe. They are the latest cookies that I have created using my Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies recipe as my starting point.
It’s hard to believe that recipe has just three main ingredients —peanut butter (or nut butter or seed butter), brown sugar, and egg. It is a recipe that is easy enough for a young child to make and it can be reinvented again and again. It’s already been reinvented many times here on gfe and I’m pretty sure that I’m still not done with it!
With these Cashew Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, I planned to simply use cashew butter—instead of peanut butter, cashew butter, or sunbutter. I really love cashew butter. It’s rich and creamy and has a lovely sweetness. Sometimes I even prefer it over peanut butter or almond butter. I usually buy a small jar at our local healthy grocery store, but sometimes I make it myself.
Cashew butter is really quite easy to make. Some say that you have to add oil when making it, but I usually don’t. I just throw some raw cashews into my food processor and slowly process them until they turn into cashew butter. I’ve even used roasted salted cashews instead of raw cashews and processed a small amount of them in my mini chopper. That actually worked just fine. (I am always careful to do the processing in “spurts” when necessary so as not to overheat my appliances.)
Back to the Cashew Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
When I started to make them I was about ¼ cup short of the amount of cashew butter I planned to use so I decided to add ¼ cup of granola—specifically, Gluten-Free Prairie’s Montana Mornings Granola—as my “filler.” If you don’t have granola on hand, you can substitute certified gluten-free oats or certified gluten-free oat flour, hence, the more multipurpose recipe name. You can even substitute shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened) for Cashew Butter Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. The results will be slightly different for each substitution, of course, but all variations will yield wonderful cookies.
Deb Wheaton of Gluten-Free Prairie (GFP) had sent me a package of their Montana Mornings Granola to sample. The ingredients are certified gluten-free oats, brown sugar, coconut, honey, canola oil, pecans, almonds, blueberries, and cranberries. (Note: I usually steer clear of canola oil because it’s typically GMO but all GFP’s products are non-GMO.) Although I obviously only added a small amount of granola to the recipe, the granola factor was still noticeable in the best possible way, as these cookies were delicious.
These are softer cookies, but not too soft. The addition of the granola with the oats and the small bits of fruits and nuts adds some additional texture, flavor, and chewiness. Mr. GFE and I really enjoyed these cookies and they work for a filling snack or a terrific breakfast cookie, too.
Gluten-Free Prairie not only offers Montana Mornings Granola, but their other products include Oat Groats, Oatmeal, Oat Flour, Granola Bites, and Hunger Buster Cookies. See all their products on Amazon here. (Remember that an Amazon Prime membership offers free shipping; I love it!)
Gluten-Free Prairie is located in Manhattan, Montana (they call it The Little Apple!) and their oats are grown in dedicated fields, and harvested and processed on gluten-free dedicated equipment. Their hull-less oats consistently test to less than 3 ppm gluten per their website. They also have a higher protein content than most oats. That probably explains why after eating a small bowl of the Montana Mornings Granola, which is a lighter granola in taste and appearance, I was surprisingly and pleasantly full. That’s a really nice bonus!
I always like to know more about the people behind companies and you probably do as well. I was introduced to Deb by a mutual gluten-free blogger friend several years ago and started reading her blog, Not Even a Crumb, to keep up with her gluten-free adventures and advocacy efforts. Although Deb has a new blog, Little House on the Gluten-Free Prairie, she has been too busy sharing GFP’s products in the store and around the country at gluten-free expos to write too much there as of yet.
Deb co-founded and runs the Gluten-Free Prairie with her son, Jeremy. Husband/dad Rick is also part of the family operation. Deb has used her background from “show business” (in front of and behind the camera) in Los Angeles to create a public service announcement on celiac disease and share information on GFP’s products and recipes via videos. (Incidentally, you might know Deb and Rick’s other son, actor Wil Wheaton–yes, only one “l” in his first name—who still gets lots of attention for his previous role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation and currently has a recurring role playing a fictionalized version of himself on The Big Bang Theory. I know so many who are die-hard Star Trek fans, including Mr. GFE. I thought that all of you who fit that category would appreciate knowing that tidbit.)
Both Deb and her daughter Amy have celiac disease. They spent many oat-less years after going gluten free before being introduced to naturally hull-less oats that they could enjoy without issues. They were absolutely thrilled when they were able to reintroduce certified gluten-free hull-less oats into their diet successfully and Deb knew she wanted to share them with the gluten-free community.
Deb’s family’s dedication to bringing these safe oats and other products made from them to the gluten-free community has been pretty amazing. Only 2 weeks before their brick and mortar store was scheduled to open, their store and the whole town were flooded. It took the Wheatons from March to August of last year to restore their store and re-open. I’m happy to say that they got some support from the gluten-free community via a Go Fund Me campaign. We are all so glad that disaster didn’t stop the Wheatons from providing safe and healthy gluten-free oats and oat products to our community! Read more about Gluten-Free Prairie on its website and specific info on its oats here.
The safety of oats is being talked about a lot these days in the gluten-free community because of General Mills’ use of mainstream oats in its “gluten-free” Cheerios products. Mainstream oats are highly contaminated with gluten from the field via being grown in a shared environment with gluten grains and via harvesting equipment, processing equipment, and shared facilities that are all contaminated with gluten. Certified gluten-free “purity protocol oats,” are what are absolutely required by the gluten-free community. Please always choose oats that are grown using the purity protocol and certified gluten free by a third-party certification agent. Gluten-Free Watchdog has an up-to-date listing of companies that use purity protocol oats. Please also read my last post Stop Eating “Gluten-Free” Cheerios Plus 9 More Thoughts on This Appalling Situation to get a more in-depth understanding of the situation with oat products in the gluten-free community.
Cashew Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- ¾ cup cashew butter
- ¼ cup granola (or certified gluten-free oats or oat flour, or shredded coconut)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar, or a mix of each)
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels or Equal Exchange semi-sweet chocolate chips)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (I like my homemade vanilla extract)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Drop batter using a tablespoon (not a measuring spoon, but a smaller serving spoon) or a smaller cookie scoop about an inch or so apart.
- Press down the batter some with your fingers.
- Bake about 8 to 9 minutes. Remove baking sheets and let sit 15 minutes before removing cookies.
Full disclosure: Gluten-Free Prairie provided me with a single pouch of its Montana Mornings Granola. I received no other compensation for this post and the opinions expressed here are my own.