Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oatmeal Heart Cookies (gluten-free + vegan)

I just couldn't let Valentine's Day go by this year without making heart cut-out cookies with my children. I did it every year with my mom and have created it to be a tradition with my children now. This year I have created a new cut-out cookie recipe. A delicious, heart-healthy, gluten-free cookie made from rolled oats. This is a no-fail cookie recipe. No matter how much the dough is handled by little hands, the cookies are still perfect. As you can see below, the little hands really like to help......

This recipe is made in a food processor which make the whole process take less than 10 minutes to prepare. My 7-year old daughter made these the other night to share with her class for their Valentine's celebration. She thought they were very simple and said that her friends all like them except for one boy. :)

The dough may or may not need to be chilled depending on how solid your coconut oil is. If it is soft you will need to chill the dough for 20 to 30 minutes. If the oil is very hard then no need to chill the dough. You'll know by the way it forms a ball. If the dough is soft and doesn't form a ball when handled then it needs to be chilled. Also, you can make the dough ahead of time, cover, and chill until needed. You'll want to let it sit at room temp until it is soft enough to be rolled.

The kids have been really busy making Valentines. I cut out plenty of red hearts for my 2-year old twin boys to decorate. They worked hard with their crayons and stamps while my daughters used everything fancy and frilly to create theirs.

Oatmeal Heart Cut-Out Cookies

I created this recipe without xanthan gum and it worked beautifully. The binding action comes from the arrowroot and the oats. I think there are many possibilities to modify this recipe. For example, I bet adding one tablespoon of ground cinnamon to the dough would be delicious! Or dust each heart with cinnamon before baking. For those chocolate lovers out there, the cookies can be dipped in a chocolate glaze. I like them better plain, but you decide. Since this is a newer recipe, I'd sure love to hear your feedback if you make them. :)

Note: Please view the post I did on Links to Products we Use for specific info on my favorite brands of gluten-free oats, arrowroot, coconut sugar, etc.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Dry Ingredients:
3 cups GF organic rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut sugar or another granulated sugar
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the dry ingredients into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade. Process until very finely ground (not as fine as oat flour, still a little coarse).

2. Add wet ingredients, process until the mixture forms a cohesive ball. It may take a few minutes but it will happen. Pulse the processor if needed.

3. Remove dough, finish forming into a ball with your hands. Chill the dough if it is too soft for 20 to 30 minutes. Then place on parchment or waxed paper for rolling. Roll out dough. Cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter.

4. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 15 to 16 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

5. Dip in a glaze made from about 3 ounces dark chocolate, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, and 1 tablespoon sweetener. (Melted and whisked together over low heat). Enjoy! Source:

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day! -Ali, Tom, and family! :)

More Sweet Treats:

Subscribe to this blog via Email
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. These look great! Sure wish I knew if my boys could have GF oats yet or not. We're making cinnamon rolls instead for V-day. I'll hang onto this recipe and maybe we'll be making some 4th of July stars. :) I'm so glad there are blogs like this and others out there or I'd have been completely lost going GF. Thank you!

  2. Oh, Ali, what a fabulous recipe and post with all the adorable photos! I can't wait to give these a try ... even if there are no little hands at home to help any more. Valentine's Day was always our very favorite time to make cut-out cookies, well after the rush of the holidays. Making cookies for Valentine's Day just makes the day extra special. Love that you can make these so quickly in the food processor and no gums are required!

    Thanks, dear, and happy Valentine's Day to you all! Hope Tom got his thank-you package. ;-)


  3. Ali--Thanks, too, for the link love. You are the best! :-) Now I have to check out all the other treats ... they all sound so good. ;-)


  4. These look really great! Love that the kids got to make them. Wonderful!

  5. Yummm! What do you recommend for an applesauce substitute in this and other recipes? (apple allergy)

    1. Hey there, I also have an apple allergy and I use pear baby food as a substitute :)


  6. Yay! I am going to make them right now with my kids. Perfect timing! I will let you know how they go.

    We have been enjoying the apple cinnamon version of the teff pancakes...soo good! thanks so much!

  7. Oh, my kids are already drooling over these... hopefully we'll make them tomorrow. Thanks for all your great recipes!! I appreciate you :)

  8. Beautiful cookies! Glad you went for something chocolate after all ;). I haven't been able to find coconut sugar around here, and I'm so intrigued! I can't wait until we finally get it in Canada so I can play around with it (and make cookies like these).

    Oh, and I think I forgot to answer your question on my blog--yes, the surface under the plate in my photo is wrapping paper. :)

    1. You can get coconut sugar at bulk barn. :) and many health stores carry it too. Costco too I think.

  9. Yummy, we just made them and they were very easy and very yummy!! Thank you for all of your help on getting a handle on eating gluten free.

  10. I'll be making these tomorrow for the party I'm going to. thanks for sharing, I'm so excited to try these! Happy V-Day to the whole family! -Kim

  11. Thanks for the great feedback so far! :)

    Anon - what about using pear sauce or peach sauce (homemade)? You just need to make sure your sauce is thick like applesauce and has some acids in it to react with the baking soda. Hope this helps. :)

    Happy V-day!

  12. I just made up a batch of flour-free oatmeal cookies the other day and, while they were delicious, they were very crumbly. The arrowroot is a great idea. I'm very excited to try this out!

  13. Well, reporting back from my test kitchen!

    I made these today, but since I'm on phase 3 of the elimination diet (no flours or sugar), I had to get a little creative. I might have technically cheated.

    Making a half recipe, I subbed quinoa flakes for the oatmeal, light agave syrup (1/3 cup in half a recipe) for the sugar, a dash of pear nectar instead of applesauce, and added 3/4 tsp of cinnamon.

    The dough itself was heavenly tasting, though a little soft (I had to roll between two pieces of parchment even after refrigeration).

    Unfortunately, the Agave seemed to really affect the cooking time and behavior of the cookies. I accidentally burnt the first batch after only 11 minutes, and neither it nor the second (8 minutes at 250 deg) tasted nearly as sweet as the dough! It was really strange. They're not bad, but I'm wondering if Agave doesn't tolerate baking temperatures after all (I thought it did).

    Still, they're cute, and I even went so far as to make carob icing for them! Yum!!

  14. I made the cookies, they rolled and cut well. The only substitution I made was less than a quarter cup of guar gum because I didn't have quite enough arrowroot. The cookies had a sharp aftertaste, however, and a little detective work seemed to lead to the organic vanilla extract. I always use a real vanilla extract, but am not used to working with this one. Is it possible that with some vanilla extracts you need to use less than called for? It is an alohol base and that seems to be what I was tasting in the cookies. My daughter and our ESL student sure liked them though, with my daughter eating about eight today and our student eating about fourteen! Wendy

  15. I can't believe I still don't own a food processor or vita-mix....

    Also, I am looking for coconut sugar but haven't found it yet....I wonder how date sugar would perform in these. I'll look for coconut sugar again today when I'm out.

    These look great! Thanks for sharing!

  16. These cookies are awesome. My son and I just finished making these yummy cookies. I must admit I was tasting the dough a bit while i was rolling it. I did not space them enough as they stuck together a bit. No worries they still taste delicious. I have been searching for an oatmeal cookie recipe and this will be the one.
    For Ricki who is looking for coconut sugar in Canada. Whole foods just started carrying it in Canada. The brand name is "Coco Natura". I not sure if you are near one but it was in the Whole Foods in Oakville.
    Thanks Ali for your wonderful recipes

  17. Thanks for the great feedback! :)

    Evaline - sounds like you were doing some great experimenting, love that! I have found that agave nectar burns cookies so instead I use pure maple syrup or coconut sugar. But now you have offered me an idea for a quinoa flake roll-out cookie, hmmm. :)

    Wendy - did you mean 1/4 teaspoon or 1/4 cup of guar gum? 1/4 cup would certainly cause the cookies to taste and behave differently. I doubt the vanilla would cause any sort of strange taste. Though I am not familiar with the difference between "organic vanilla extract" and "real vanilla extract"?? Could you explain that? On Thursday evening when I created this recipe my kids ate most of the batch, then my daughter made a second to take to school, then I made a third the next morning to take a few pictures for this post. So I see how your batch disappeared so quickly!! :)

    Glad you all enjoyed, thanks for sharing your results. :)

  18. OMG, just made these (though i added choclate chips and made cookies, i'm easy that way) and LOVE them. My 7-yr old loves them too. Delicious!

  19. These were so good. It was great that they came along just in time. I was going to make the gingerbread cookies from the cookbook and was happy to see that these involved less prep! They were also extremely forgiving of toddler cookie cutting. We ended up with a lot of cookies! I should not mention that I ate most of the ones we did not give away to our Valentine friends :-). Thanks for posting a great recipe just in time!

  20. I just made your Oatmeal cookies tonight and they are really yummy--nice and crunchy with a delicious flavor! I just ate three! :) I wanted to tell you what I had to do! First, I am a bit of a Luddite and have a small processor that only holds a few cups--not large enough to do this job! So I used a coffee grinder to break up the oatmeal leaving some body and texture. I used 1/2 cup regular sugar and two packets of stevia and a bit of cinnamon. Then when I got to my wet ingredients I discovered I had only 1/4 cup of coconut oil so added 1/4 cup of Earth Balance to fill in the amount needed. I mixed in the wet to dry and kind of kneaded it around a bit to hold together and rolled out the dough between waxed paper sheets as I'm getting low on my parchment. I cut out hearts even though Valentine's Day is over--we can make it last all year, right?! :)

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  21. I love these cookies! They remind me of the Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal I used to eat a long time ago, but these are far superior - in quality, nutrition, and taste! I couldn't find coconut sugar, so I used date sugar instead and they came out just fine. I did find that my dough didn't want to hold together at first, but I just added a bit more applesauce and coconut oil until the dough could be balled and rolled. And I used tulip cookie cutters to reflect the fact that spring is blooming here in Portland! :)

  22. Thank you for the wonderful recipe! We had fun cutting out the cookies and then had the idea to cut them in rectangles, placed a little all-fruit jam in the center and placed another rectangle on top, sealed the edges and the result was like those nutri-grain bars, but far healthier and tastier! I'm sure the filling options could be many! This will be added to our cookie recipes and our granola bar recipes! This site is wonderful! Thank you!

  23. Ali, these look wonderful. I can't wait to make these!

  24. I just posted a sugar-free variation of these, that I added shredded carrot and spices to! So delicious!

    Thanks for a great recipe, Ali.
    Kim |

  25. I just stumbled upon your blog and LOVE it! This is my first time using coconut sugar and I'm LOVING it!! My husband says over the past 1 1/2 years of baking gf these are by far the best :D That made me smile. It felt good to make cookies with my kids that they wanted to eat and that I could eat :) These will be made again and again around here.

    My batch was a little delicate - is that suppose to be the case? I did increase the coconut oil to 3/4 cup because we are out of applesauce. I think I may add an egg or xanthan gum next time to make it a little more cohesive.

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  26. these cookies are so good! thanks for sharing

  27. I made your heart cut out cookies for Valentine's day and everyone loved them! They are so delicious.
    Thank you!

  28. I'm wondering what can replace arrowroot powder. I'm living in Japan now and i cannot find it anywhere!
    Thanks, N

  29. These look delicious and fun to do with kiddos. Wish my kids were aloud to bring homemade treats to school - much healthier than most store bought treats. Guess we'll just enjoy these with the neighbors.

  30. Nobuko - you can try tapioca flour in place of the arrowroot.

    Anon - I heard that most public schools don't allow homemade treats, only store bought now. This is really upsetting! We need to stop industrializing our schools! Our kids go to a private school where homemade, organic, gluten-free is the norm. It is really nice, but it is a bubble. :)

  31. These are great. If you roll them thin enough and add cinnamon, they taste kind of like a Graham cracker. Otherwise, they make a nice nutritious cookie. All 3 of my kids loved them.....and I plan on making for our next playdate.

  32. I haven't tried this recipe yet but made the Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from your Nourishing Meals Cookbook. The flavor is wonderful! The ingredients list applesauce but the instructions don't mention it. I have made them with and without the applesauce. Both times the cookies have not held together very well. I have refrigerated them and that helps. Any ideas on what I could be doing wrong? Thanks!

  33. Awesome recipe! Followed exactly except used tapioca flour instead of arrowroot powder...they taste wonderful!!!
    THX for the recipe!

  34. Great recipe!!! Thank you Ali!!! Can you please recommend any food to create an orange color for Halloween Pumpkin shape cookies?

  35. I have made these cookies over 30 times since you first posted the recipe - I'm a big fan of chewy cookies so I usually don't roll out the dough (and just shape them in thick "cookie" form) and decrease temp+cooking time. They're incredible!!! And so many people have told me how much they liked them! I had to let you know now that I'm about to make them once again :)

    ps sometimes I roll little balls of dough and pop them in the freezer. To die for!

  36. Im dying to make these cookies. What is the oven temperature to cook these beauties?

  37. These were fantastic. We had a lot of fun making them.

  38. These cookies are wonderful!!! Thanks for the recipe.
    They were delicious without the chocolate as well.(My husband doesn't like chocolate.) But, next time half the batch will have chocolate for me(I was thinking of adding chocolate chips.)


Join the Conversation!

I'd love to hear your feedback with my recipes. If you make any changes or substitutions then please share what you did so others can learn.

If you have a question about a recipe, please leave it here. I will do my best to answer it when I have time.

Comment moderation is in place. Your comment will be only be visible here once I publish it.

Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)