Crunchy, Chewy Oat Cookies with Homemade Carob Chips (& we’re Clearing up the “Gluten in Oats” dilemma)
Hot out of the oven…!
I can have oats. Not every coeliac can, but I seem to be one of the lucky ones.
In Australia and New Zealand a stand has been taken against labelling oats as gluten-free. This has two reasons:
1) “Regular” oats are often contaminated with gluten from wheat, barley and rye due to crop rotation and handling. This basically means that crops are regularly moved around to keep the soil fertile, resulting in the odd stray becoming mixed up in the batch.
But what about the oats that are grown on dedicated gluten-free fields?
2) Oats have a protein in them called Avenin, which approximately 1 in 5 coeliacs may have a reaction to (although these numbers aren’t exact).
Technically, gluten is a protein composite found in “grass related” grains, and is made up of two proteins called prolamins and glutelins. These proteins exist in all grains and confusingly enough they’re all called “gluten”. However, as of what we know today, only the prolamins in wheat (gliadin), barley (hordein), and rye (secalin) are harmful to those with coeliacs disease, DH or non-coeliac gluten intolerance.
Some research also suggests that the prolamins in oats (called avenin) can be a source for concern. The Celiac Sprue Association reports that avenin in fact contains some of the amino acid sequences found in gluten that triggers an auto-immune response, though in much lower quantities. Different authorities have taken different stands on this topic, and as a result you may find “certified gluten-free” oats (free of cross-contamination) in countries such as USA, UK and throughout Scandinavia. In Australia and New Zealand however it has been decided that oats are not to be considered gluten free.
If you do decide to include oats in your diet (after consulting your health professional), you absolutely must make sure that these are from crops that are not cross-contaminated!
Coming from Europe I was used to being able to purchase “gluten-free oats” at my leisure, but knowing that this would be a problem down-under I had several packets shipped down from Norway. Since I’ve been down here I have discovered one brand that I trust, and who label their products incredibly well. I assume because they feel the need to educate the consumers, and partially because they are trying to bypass the “gluten in oats” policy. Policy is policy however, and the regulations are there for a reason. However, each to their own, and one can only make a good decision when all the facts are known.
I have always used this brand before, and it is the one I had shipped down:
I like the full-sized oats, as they are brilliant for cookies and porridge! Since moving down-under, the brand I have started using is this one:
Freeoats are also nut free, non GM, and they test each batch for wheat, barley, triticale and rye gluten with the strictest testing methods available (3PPM). I’m happy with that, and with my extremely sensitive body, I am quite sure their promise is correct because they haven’t made me sick yet. I only wish they also had full-sized oats (not just the quick-boil type). If they do I haven’t found it. I’m not a big fan of the cut type because it turns into porridge whatever I want to do with them. I don’t always want to make oatmeal.
I am also on constant look-out for gluten-free oat flour, because I would absolutely LOVE to bake with it again! If anybody knows of a brand here in Australia, then please let me know!
I love using oats for several reasons; it has similar qualities to wheat gluten in baking, and using oat flour helps my bread taste and feel like “normal bread”. It also adds fibre, and oats are jam-packed with nutrients which to a coeliac are very valuable.
1 cup of oats will cover 41% of your daily iron intake, 53% protein, 69% magnesium, 22% folate, 41% zink and 79% thiamine! Oats are also high in calcium, potassium and dietary fibre, a whopping 66% of your daily recommended intake!
I grew up with a lot of oats in my diet. Norwegians love their breakfast oatmeal, and I am no different. My fiance loves his Anzac biscuits and his oat cookies, and in his honour I have just made up a batch of steaming hot, chunky, crunchy, chewy oat cookies, with homemade carob buttons scattered through them!
These cookies are absolute bliss, and they are so easy to make! I’m pretty sure he really doesn’t need my help baking them. He certainly doesn’t need my help eating them!
For ca 18 cookies you’ll need:
- 1 cup softened butter or butter substitute (I used Nutellex)
- 1 cup soft brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 3 cups gluten-free oats
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking soda
- 1 tsp natural organic vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of homemade carob chips (or more if you like) You can use homemade chocolate chips if you prefer
Heat oven to 190 c or 375 f (know your oven – take of 10 c for fan forced)
Beat butter and both types of sugar until it’s well mixed and fluffy, add eggs and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients, and stir into the wet. Add carob chips last.
Spoon dollops of batter onto a lined baking tray (any size you prefer), and press down just a little. Pop in the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes (depending on your oven). Let them cool slightly before you transfer them onto a rack.
If you are coeliac and have chosen to still use oats, I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.