Gluten free cranberry almond (or peanut) coconut cookies: 4 trials and counting

This post is about five days later than planned, and even now I’m not sure I can shake the hovering feeling of unfinished business connected with it. The reason, though this week I’ve felt a little bogged down with work and chores and scheduling logistics, part of my brain has been obstinately obsessed with striving for perfection when it comes to creating these cookies, which have embodied an idea that has been a tantalizingly yet tiny bit elusive. Ironically, the whole reason I’ve been chasing the “perfect cookie” (in quotes because it seems like cookies are made all the more endearing for their little imperfections) comes down to the fact that I just really loved my first batch,  which was an utter mistake. Delicious, but not accurately called a cookie.

Recently it seems like a lot of friends have been asking for gluten free cookies, and I had this idea I wanted to experiment with almond butter. I threw in some eggs, whole oats, raw sugar, dried cranberries, cinnamon and vanilla, and some shredded coconut. Then I added baking soda, double the amount I was planning on considering I was making half of what I had in mind as a recipe. The result was a bubbly, spottily golden pancake spread across a cookie sheet. I tried hastily to smush bits of cooling, hardening dough into roughly circular cookie shapes, but ended up instead with a few wavy sad circles, oblongs, and ellipses, and a whole bunch of pieces. Pieces, however, reminiscent of both a macaroon and a meringue but shaped like almond brittle, and yummmy. It seemed an easy, logical  “fix” to bring the evolving recipe back into cookiedom would be to remake the recipe exactly, but with half the baking soda. Only it wasn’t, nor was the result actually quite as good as the first mishap. So commenced the seemingly endless train of cookie experiments. There was so much to alter, even slightly, from number of eggs to amount of sugar. Here are the three (or four, or five, depending on your viewpoint) top variations so far, distinct enough from each other to be worth noting. If you want one to try without reading through all of the below, skip to trial 3. : )

All these recipes contain oats which are gluten free, but given the ever changing opinions on what belongs in a gluten free diet, you’ll still want to be certain you can eat these. If you want to try something like these without outs, you can double the amount of almond butter.

Given that my first trial could still be considered my favorite, in spite of being an utter mess, it seems reasonable to include that recipe. However, as much as I enjoyed the broken result, I can’t say for sure I’ll ever try to re-create it myself. It may be a fun base for other explorations, though, so here it is:

 

Assorted broken pieces--not very pretty, but really good nevertheless!

Cranberry Almond (or peanut) Coconut Cookies Trial 1

Outcome: cross between almond brittle and a macaroon. Eat in pieces.

Yield: a bunch of unique and tasty shapes which might have been about 20 thin crisp-yet-chewy cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet OR 9X13 baking pan.
  2. Combine almond butter, oats, eggs,  sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking s, and mix until smooth. Stir in cranberries and coconut.
  3. **Here’s where I’d tell you to drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet, but truth is, you may as well spread the batter out in a pan, because it’ll spread and crack anyway. BUT, the pieces were so good!
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. I pushed the still soft dough into oddball “cookie shapes” before they cooled, and broke them anyway scraping them from the pain with a spatula.

Trial 2, I added oats, but processed half of them into flour. I also ran out of almond butter, so I substituted peanut butter, thus the inclusion of -or peanut- in this post’s title. Further, I reduced the sugar too much for the result to come close to the original it was working on perfecting, essentially baking a totally different cookie that shared some common ingredients. I later re-made this recipe with almond butter, and increased the sugar to make them more crunchy and less cake-like. The peanut version was tested at school under the umbrella of a long disclaimer, and was well received. Next time, I think the peanut version could skip the coconut and include dark chocolate pieces. I recommend these with at least 1/2 cup sugar for better hold.

 

Trial 2, peanut butter version

Cranberry Almond (or peanut) Coconut Cookies Trial 2

Outcome: pretty, but especially in the context of being a  “good for you” cookie. I think these went over best after some freezer time. When using one-third cup,  are too low in sugar to be really successful, but nevertheless tasted pretty good, especially in the context of being a bakery snack with less guilt attached than your typical cookie.

Yield: 15-18 small to medium cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all natural almond or peanut butter
  • 1 cup whole oats, divided
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
  2. Place 1/2 cup oats in a food processor, and process into fairly fine flour. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add almond or peanut butter and all remaining ingredients to the oat flour and combine.
  4. Spoon cookies by tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes.

 

Someone told me the back of this version looked cool, so here it is.

Cranberry Almond (or peanut) Coconut Cookies Trial 3: virtually identical to trial 1, but more less baking soda and more oats.

In addition to the changes included above, I also chilled the dough (more appropriate a term than batter, probably, but it’s a close call) for 30 minutes prior to baking. These can spread A LOT, and you’ll be surprised at how little dough you can spoon for a decent-sized cookie. They are not the most attractive cookies, either, but they do taste great, especially if you like a custard-like flavor. If you’ve ever tried Chocolate Puddle Cookies from 101 Cookbooks (and if you haven’t, they’re amazing), which Heidi Swanson describes as a cross between a brownie and a meringue, the spread is a lot like that.

Yield: about 18-20 medium to large cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all natural almond butter
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
  2. Combine almond butter, oats, eggs,  sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking s, and mix until smooth. Stir in cranberries and coconut.
  3. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet, leaving 1-2 inches in between each.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes.



  1. Lisa Smith
    September 6, 2010

    Thanks for posting the recipes! Have a friend who is gluten free and plan on sending these here way to enjoy 🙂

  2. Charles
    September 6, 2010

    I loved these cookies… simply outstanding.

  3. Christina Gillen
    September 6, 2010

    I love your perseverance! The morphing of a cookie made me even more aware of what a “true” cook you are!

  4. Tracie
    September 7, 2010

    Sounds awesome, I will have to try it with Barney Butter.

  5. Mary
    September 24, 2010

    OMG WENDY. I just made these cookies (version 3), and they are beyond awesome. Perfect flavor, perfect consistency, and beautiful. Bravo, I am so excited!

    I will also say that I think they would be even more awesome (albeit less virtuous) with dark chocolate instead of cranberries…or maybe dark chocolate and dried cherries? I came thisclose to buying cherries instead of cranberries, but they cost like 3 times as much and I decided I would stay true to the recipe. But next time…who knows. I will report back.

    I am such a good recipe stalker…your blog makes it easy. I can channel you through baking whenever I miss you. But we should chat next week. 🙂

    • Wendy McMillan
      September 25, 2010

      Thank you, Mary!! Funny, I was thinking cherries originally, too, but then they were so pricey I decided they weren’t enough in keeping with the frugal side of the “mission”. Will definitely try them in small amounts, though! I almost called you last night, driving home right about when you left this comment. Definitely talk this week! Miss you! : )

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This