Colorado: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Colorados cookie is a crispy, slightly sandy, gluten-free cookie with peanut butter and oats.

Recipe source:

I’m back, people! I know, I know, you thought the blog was dead (or that I was), and true I haven’t baked for the blog since we moved. Yes, we bought a house and now I have this setup:

It looks industrial and friends have already suggested I buy a cabinet but I’ve always wanted to hang my pots up and store my mixer, and I don’t have my big Martha Stewart kitchen yet. Maybe someday…

I didn’t bake much all summer, because of the heat, and my baking after that was mostly holiday related. Gabe just started walking and is now content to wander and play by himself as long as I am willing to stop now and then and play with him for a little bit, so one of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to bake more often for the blog. I’m sure my husband’s co-workers will appreciate it too.

So we’re on to Colorado! My husband spent his earliest years there and we went to Estes Park for our honeymoon. It was gorgeous, and bone dry, and cold in early October. Rugged outdoorsy-ness is one of Colorado’s hallmarks. According to the pre-recipe write-up:

Colorado doesn’t have time for soft cookies. Soft cookies get busted to bits on the bumpy roads that lead us to unforgettable weekend spots. They’ll melt in the glorious sunshine and get frozen into a shapeless blob when the temperatures drop at night. They’ll be smashed to crumbs after a long hike. Not these cookies, though. The day after these cookies are baked, they develop a perfect crunchiness. A crunch that’s akin to how I see Colorado. Rugged. Sturdy. Strong. And still so sweet.

*Rolls eyes*

In my experience, crunchy cookies are the first to end up a bag full of crumbs on a hike. This recipe was no exception. Maybe it was the coconut oil or the gluten-free flour, but the crunchier ones were definitely crumbly like crazy, at least right after baking when still a little warm. Perhaps they toughen up by the next day when fully cool. The recipe also mentions them developing a better crunch overnight.

First you have to melt coconut oil and peanut butter together. I use the coconut oil that’s minimally processed so it still has the scent and flavor of coconut, but I didn’t detect it in the final cookie.

Last time, when I made California’s Almond Cookies, I used regular flour so I didn’t have to buy special flour, forgetting I had an unopened box of King Arthur Flour’s gluten free AP. I figured if I have it, might as well use it. I used regular Quaker Oats though, not the guaranteed gluten free kind, so I can’t claim it’s entirely gluten free. The recipe doesn’t claim this, but it is vegan too… Until I decided not to bother making “flax eggs” and used regular eggs instead. Sorry.

Another change I made was adding the chocolate chips into the batter instead of doing yet another melt-and-drizzle attempt. I did that for Chex mix at Christmas and ended up having to smear the chocolate because it wouldn’t get drizzly.

They wanted me to roll the dough into balls, which seemed iffy because the dough was very soft. I forgot that this is something that seems to happen with dough made with coconut oil. I don’t know why, but it’s so greasy that even soft dough doesn’t get all over your hands, just the oil. The same thing happened when I made homemade teething cookies from coconut oil, ground oats, and mashed banana.

Rolling balls was okay but they did not stay ball shaped, as you can see in the photo. Then the instructions said to chill the cookies on the pan for an hour before baking. A little backwards, I thought. So for the rest, I chilled the dough in the bowl before scooping.

When I took the pre-scooped pan out, I thought I’d made a mistake because they were so hard I couldn’t dent them. Thankfully the dough in the bowl was still scoopable, and I got round balls that didn’t spread.

The recipe wanted balls of 2 tablespoon volume, and as always when I’m making a recipe that calls for huge cookies, I ignore than and use my 1 tablespoon scoop. Smaller cookies tend to bake faster, though, so I wasn’t sure if I should still bake them for 25-35 minutes. “That’s a long time to bake a cookie!” You’re right. The teething cookies I mentioned before were ten minutes per side (they had me flip them) so maybe it’s something to do with the coconut oil?

Anyway, with two and a half cookie sheets full, I decided to experiment. The first was baked for 20 minutes:

They weren’t soft, but chewy. Second batch was 25 minutes:

Now they’re getting a little darker on the bottom and are crunchy. I figured 30 minutes would be too long but this was the sheet with least amount, so no big loss if I ruined them:

Yeah, that’s a little too dark. Here’s a side by side comparison, left to right from lightest to darkest:

Overall impression: I tried them both that day and the next and the thing that impressed me is that they’re truly crunchy WITHOUT being hard. Some “crunchy” cookies are real tooth-breakers, and given the description in the recipe, I expected these to be the same. I missed the butter flavor you’d get with a regular Tollhouse doctored with peanut butter and oatmeal. For some reason the second day cookie was tastier to me. Next time maybe I’ll leave the chocolate chips out and see what it’s like with just the oatmeal and peanut butter.

Next time: We head to Connecticut for Nutmeg Log Cookies. I should have gotten on this in time for Christmas, how seasonal!

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