Monday, September 19, 2016

Bake Sale Worthy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bites

Don't you just love when your child says, "It's ok, you can do whatever's easiest!" when they really mean "I know it's a zillion steps, but do you think maybe you could pull off your latest kitchen wizardry, but in a bakery sized batch?"  Celia's class is sponsoring a bake sale, and in the past I've stuck a ten dollar bill in an envelope and called it good.  I figured there was no point to making treats she couldn't eat, and the class actually made out better.  This year, she wasn't going for it, and asked if I could make cookies -- enough for two dozen helpings to sell.  I told her I would if she helped make them, but in exchange she had to convince Neal to go get more bananas (since Damien at the last one this morning before I could rescue it). Fair trade, right?  Since she got Daddy to take her to the produce market,  I got to grind oats into flour, and we baked after dinner.

My original plan was to make oatmeal Marranitos, because they were a fairly easy cookie with minimal ingredients but a nice "wow" factor for a bake sale.  Ultimately, we didn't make them because the dough wasn't stiff enough to roll out.  I grabbed a bag of chocolate chunks from the cabinet, and boom! Oatmeal chocolate chip cookes.

Go ahead, applaud my genius.  Hey, with an almost-teen girl, anything chocolate makes me the hero!

My next big purchase is going to be something that is more efficient for grinding oatmeal into flour.  I've been using my blender, and it works, but it takes a lot of small batches.  For the moment, I'll have to be content with my measuring cups that have not just the standard cups but also a bonus 3/4 cup scoop.  It made measuring out the brown sugar easy -- only two scoops to pack instead of three or four.  If you're in the market for new measuring cups, I highly recommend these.

Back to the cookies -- these really impressed me.  They came out with a soft, pillowy texture - more like a cereal bar than a chocolate chip cookie - and held together well.  For all the sugar, they're not overly sweet -- one recipe makes 5 dozen two-bite cookies, so it's not much sugar per cookie, but the ratio of brown sugar and baking soda work together nicely for creating a cake-like cookie.  I've also recently discovered barrel-aged rum makes a really nice replacement for vanilla extract.  The aging gives it some bright toffee and vanilla flavors without adding extra ingredients to the extract (vanilla isn't something we've gotten the green light to trial with her yet, and it's not something I'm pushing because it would be a really hard trial to get sufficient volume into her.)   You can substitute vanilla if you prefer, but it did at a little bit of caramel undertone that was unexpected but added interest.  I have a feeling these aren't going to be bake-sale-day only cookies!

Baked Oatmeal Bites

Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies

1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil (solid)
1 banana (mashed)
1 can (12.2 oz) evaporated coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 1/2 tsp aged rum (or vanilla extract)
24 oz gluten-free rolled oats ground into oat flour (approx 7 1/2 cups flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 10-oz bag chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or no-stick aluminum foil.

Cream together the sugar and coconut oil.  Add the banana, milk, and coconut oil and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, and xanthan gum.  With the mixer TURNED OFF, add them to the work bowl.  SLOWLY turn on the mixer and stir on low until thoroughly combined.   Remove beaters.

Add chocolate chips to the bowl, and stir to distribute them.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until puffy and set with golden edges.

Store them in an air-tight container.

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