Very forgiving cookies (substitutes allowed)

When I first started to work out of my home, I craved a healthful snack  and there was a nearby kitchen beckoning. I started to make oatmeal cookies that are incredibly easy to make and forgiving. You can make all sorts of substitutes. I never use the same nuts/seeds/chips to make these cookies: I just add whatever is around.

After several months of making these, I actually diagnosed a late-blooming walnut allergy . . . and it was no problem; I just started to use other nuts–in my case, pecans, pistachios or cashews were the ones I was most likely to have around but I’ve also added hazelnuts.  Whatever I’ve added, they were delicious.

I’ve also made these gluten-free (not an issue for my household but an issue for others), using cashew flour from Trader Joes. Again, delicious.

Recently, I was put on a restrictive diet to control migraines. I don’t want to turn this into a blog about the diet—but a lot of my favorite foods are now verboten. With time, I’ll introduce some foods back into my diet and figure out which are my migraine triggers. In the meanwhile, I can make these cookies with pumpkin seeds, real flour, and unsulfured dried fruits but, sad to say, not with chocolate. Since I do think most people expect demand chocolate in this kind of cookie, I might make a few cookies for myself without chocolate and add chocolate chips to the rest of the batter.

However you make these cookies they are easy and delicious and you are likely to have most of the ingredients on hand. I recently whipped up a batch when I had some company coming on short notice. I always have the basic ingredients in my pantry and then I get creative with the add-ins.

oatmeal cookies

Very forgiving oatmeal cookies

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

½ cup flour (all purpose or whole wheat . . . or nut flour)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups rolled oats

your choice of any combination of the following, totaling around 1 ½ cups. Most people will expect demand some chocolate chips.

chocolate chips

dried cranberries

coarsely chopped nuts

pumpkin seeds

chopped dried dates

dried cherries


Preheat the oven to 350.

Blend the butter and oil until smooth and beat in sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add the egg and beat until smooth.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into the bowl and stir until well blended. Add the oatmeal and then your add-ins for a chunky batter.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the sheets. You will probably need to use your hands to shape these a bit.

Bake at 350 for around 10 minutes, until the cookies are light brown around the edge. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. This makes around 24 cookies—and it’s possible that they’ll be gone once your unexpected company comes over. If you do have leftovers, they can be stored in a covered container.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s