Big, Powerful Oatmeal and Peanut Butter Cookies


Just so you know, January is National Oatmeal Month. And next Tuesday is National Peanut Butter Day. To celebrate both, here is a very interesting recipe for big, wholesome cookies with both ingredients that have the added convenience of lacking gluten! Plus they come with an intriguing story.

Alice Janet Bartlett Easton of Oakland died in December 2015. Her family included the recipe for these cookies in her obituary. Alice was a celiac which meant she really could not ever eat gluten. Her recipe was called Colossal Cookies, and she apparently always had some on hand in her cookie jar. You can make them really big if you want. (I didn’t.) Helen, the proprietor of Heavenly Socks Yarn in Belfast, spotted the recipe in the paper, and because from time to time she makes treats to offer at her yarn shop, and likes to have non-gluten ones, she tried these out and took them to the shop. As it happened, one of my fellow islanders visited the shop that day, and ended up with a sample cookie to bring to me along with Helen’s promise of the recipe which followed in the mail. I thought the cookie was awfully good.

So by this recipe’s long and winding road, here it is.

The cookies have gone over very well at our house. Toby likes them very much, and took a tin box about a quarter full to the living room to snack on while watching the news. The picture above shows the result of that. Kate, our helper-in-residence, said she doesn’t usually like peanut butter cookies, but since these are not overwhelmingly peanut-buttery they won her favor. Even one cookie with a smallish diameter is pretty darn robust; I feel like I ate dinner after having just one.

They do take a pile of ingredients: a whole jar plus some of peanut butter, four eggs, three cups of sugar, and six and half cups of rolled oats. It makes six dozen two to three-ish inches cookies so the yield is fine. I used a little ice cream scoop I have but a soup spoon would work just as well.

As I experiment more with non-gluten baked goods I find that the best ones are those with lots of sugar and fat to caramelize and hold the rest of the ingredients together. I really don’t enjoy most pastries made with non-gluten replacement flours even if the flour claims to be a one-for-one replacement.

One note on baking time: Alice’s recipe called for ten minutes at three fifty. In my oven, it took fifteen minutes at three hundred and fifty. I sneaked the temperature up to three sixty and shaved a couple minutes off. Give three fifty a try in your oven and see what you’ll need to do. Look for an overall light golden color and firm texture to the touch.

Alice Easton’s Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies
Serves: Makes five dozen cookies
  • ½ cup butter or shortening
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups chunky peanut butter
  • 6 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • About 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter or shortening together with the sugars.
  3. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla and beat.
  4. Next mix in the peanut butter.
  5. Stir the oats and baking soda together and mix well into the butter, peanut butter, eggs and sugar mix. Make sure all the oats are incorporated.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Drop on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a couple of inches around each. Flatten slightly with a fork.
  8. Bake for ten to fifteen minutes until lightly golden and firm to the touch and cool slightly before removing from the pan to a cooling rack.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.