Karma brought a surprise plate of crispy, buttery, brown-sugary oatmeal lace cookies to my door this weekend, in a cycle that began with my father-in-law Dave, a great doctor and much-loved local personality, who decades ago aided his neighbor Libbie and earned a lifetime of derby pie deliveries at Christmas. When my husband and I moved our family to Ohio three years ago, we landed next door to kind, gentle John, whose devoted lawncare puts our yard to shame, and Libbie – smart, funny, wise, and a killer baker. We haven’t earned it, but every year we receive our own derby pie from Libbie, and this Easter the unexpected delivery of these lacy treats. While the kids have indulged in belly-aching candy, I’ve been savoring these delicate cookies and silently thanking Dave for the love and care he has given so generously in his lifetime.
When it comes to gluten-free cookies, the naturally flourless ones that come to mind are peanut butter cookies or macaroons (coconut or almond). But oatmeal is an easy pleasing gluten-free option for those that avoid nuts or coconut.
Libbie shared her recipe with me for this simple, old-fashioned classic. I thought it only right to continue the karmic cycle by sharing it with you.
I love the minimalism of just four ingredients – rolled oats, melted butter, brown sugar and an egg – but you could also add vanilla, chocolate chips or dried fruit if the mood strikes.
It’s a loose dough, without flour binding it together.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet, forming rough circles of dough (don’t mound it up if you want your cookies flat). Lining with parchment paper is easiest to prevent sticking. Otherwise use a well-greased baking sheet or a well-greased, foil-covered baking sheet.
About 10 minutes in the oven, and the dough spreads and browns into delicately lacy cookies. You don’t want to undercook these, or they’ll fall apart when you try to remove them.
Cool for a couple of minutes before removing the cookies. If they are hard to lift even when cool, you can put them back in the oven for another minute or two.
Keep the cycle going and share these delights with a friend. You never know what may come of it.
Flourless Oatmeal Lace Cookies
A delicately crisp, old-fashioned cookie tasting of butter and brown sugar. Gluten-free too.
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick-cook, not instant)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets very well or line with parchment paper.
- Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Drop by teaspoonfuls on prepared baking sheets, forming rough circles. Leave space in between for cookies to spread.
- Bake 9-12 minutes, until cookies spread out and cookies are golden brown. Cool a few minutes before removing. If cookies are difficult to remove even when cool, bake for another minute or two.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
- For variation, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, a bit of cinnamon, or a couple of handfuls of dried fruit or chocolate chips.
- For gluten-free, check oatmeal before you purchase. Oatmeal should be gluten-free but is often processed in a facility that processes wheat or other grains with gluten.
Here’s the link to a printable version.