I hate math.  Always have, always will.  I am so embarrassingly bad at math that after nine years, the Husband knows to double-check the bill at restaurants to ensure I added up the total and tip correctly… and half of the time, I didn’t.  But I love writing – it’s my favorite thing to do!  One day, I realized that part of the reason that I hate math is because it is far too absolute.  In writing, there are many different ways to answer a question.  A paragraph can be composed twenty different ways, each as valid as the last.  A math problem can only be answered one way.


This is why I love to cook but hate to bake.  Cooking – making stir-fries, for example – builds in lots of room for error.  You don’t really need to measure anything; eyeballin’ it is just fine.  Baking is a science.  It’s exact math.  Too much flour or too little baking soda, and you’re done.  Now, I realize that this is the exact reason why many people love math and love baking.  There is only one right answer, and for some, that’s pretty comforting. 


You know what else is comforting?  Cookies.  Sorry, stir-fry, but you just don’t compare.


And for cookies, I’m willing to go out on a limb every now and then and bust out my measuring cup.  Because, like I said, a Saturday evening of cookies and quality DVR time is mighty fine.


These beauties happen to be gluten-free and dairy-free (do eggs count as dairy? I say not technically but the Husband says that in practical terms, most people consider them to be dairy – thoughts?).  They’re super chewy – aren’t all good oatmeal cookies chewy! – and the flavors are quite complex, thanks to the coconut, almonds, and peanut butter


I may not like math and measuring, but I know this… Caitlin + Tea + Cookies = Bliss.  Dig in!


Coconut Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies


Ingredients (makes 30 cookies):


  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance (you could also use butter; not positive if the replacement would be the same, but it probably would be)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups oats (to make it gluten-free, be sure to use GF oats)
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using an electric mixer, combine Earth Balance, brown sugar, and white sugar until combined and creamy – at least for two minutes.
  • Add in eggs, vanilla extract, and baking soda and mix just to combine.
  • Add in peanut butter and mix to combine – at least a minute.
  • Slowly add in oats, coconut, and almonds.  Mix until combined.
  • Place dough in fridge and let it get chilly – at least 20 minutes.
  • Grease a cookie sheet.  Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough, roll into ball, and place ball on cookie sheet (about two inches from other dough balls).
  • Bake for 14 minutes, remove, and let cool thoroughly before removing or the cookies will crumble.
  • Enjoy!


Now, if you excuse me, cookies and tea are on the agenda for the rest of the night. Winking smile



  • Marissa C May 5, 2012, 7:18 pm

    I ate LOTS of oatmeal cookies in the weeks after Noelle’s birth to umm…boost the breastmilk. Yeah…that was the reason… 😉 It did seem to help though!

    Curious–why do you guys eat Earth Balance vs. Butter? Is it a vegan thing?

    • Caitlin May 5, 2012, 7:19 pm

      Naw – I actually REALLY like regular butter. It is so freaking tasty. But the Husband tries to minimize dairy in his diet (not eggs, just dairy – LOL) so he prefers Earth Balance. So we just buy it because it’s easier than buying two options and EB is pretty tasty too. Have you had it? Divine on toast.

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery May 5, 2012, 7:18 pm

    Holy crow these sound amazing right now. Excuse me while I make a mad dash to the kitchen and a trip to Whole paycheck, uh I mean, foods 🙂

  • Jennifer May 5, 2012, 7:32 pm

    I just need to get the slivered almonds and coconut and then I have everything to make this recipe! Do these come out crispy?

    • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:12 pm

      Naw super chewy!

  • Irina @ ChocolateaTime May 5, 2012, 7:38 pm

    Haha it’s interesting to see how different people are! The exact reason that you hate math is why I love it, and the reason that you love writing is exactly why I’m not a fan of it (for school at least…)! Math always appealed to me because there was almost always a right answer, and I loved that. I was never very good at writing because I wasn’t able to condense my abstract ideas into something concrete and absolute 🙂

  • Calla May 5, 2012, 7:38 pm

    To me, eggs are a meat alternative, not dairy.

  • Tanya May 5, 2012, 7:43 pm

    Well technically I’d agree with you on the eggs not being dairy, it’s also true that if I see something in the store and it says dairy free I assume it has no eggs.

  • Kattrina May 5, 2012, 7:45 pm

    I love cooking and baking. I never really thought of baking as a science though. I do not really like math all that much, but sometimes I do like having just one answer rather than have a million gray areas!

    I don’t consider eggs dairy. I think a lot of people do, but I think of dairy coming from cows or goats (milk and it’s products like cheese). Eggs come from chickens and chickens can’t make any other dairy. Some people consider eggs to be meat which makes sense to me. However, when I was a vegetarian I still ate eggs.

  • melisa May 5, 2012, 7:45 pm

    SOOO funny you say that because i absolutely HATE math too (my husband makes fun of me when i use a calculator for simple addition) but i LOVE baking and not cooking. hmmm? i’m a conundrum! 🙂

  • J May 5, 2012, 7:55 pm

    I know this is something lots of people do, but it really bugs me when people say “I hate math”. Math really is very abstract and beautiful. There are many many ways to answer questions in math and some of them have no answers at all. Plus it’s totally not seen as cute or funny for people to go around saying “I hate reading” or “I’m really bad at writing.” This particularly bothers me since women/girls are often made to feel that it’s cute and normal to fail math. Just something to think about.

    P.S. Figuring out the bill in a restaurant or balancing the checkbook? That’s what calculators are for. Plenty of mathematicians aren’t great at mental math and it’s fine because math is soooo much more.

    • María May 5, 2012, 10:12 pm

      Amen to this comment, that’s exaclty the thing I came to write!

      • Jess May 5, 2012, 11:08 pm

        As I say to my students: You don’t hate math, you hate that you can’t do it. So, howsabout I teach you how to do it so you don’t need to say that anymore?

        Works like a charm, and stops them getting stuck into thinking they hate it.

    • Megan May 6, 2012, 10:31 am

      I completely agree! I do not see comments like “I hate math – I am just bad at it” as much different than “I hate being healthy – I am just bad at it”, which kind of goes against a lot of what you write about, Caitlin. I absolutely love your blog, your writing, and all the work you do for Operation Beautiful and Girls on the Run. But I also love math and I have always hated being told that it is normal for girls to be bad at math.

      • Caitlin May 6, 2012, 11:19 am

        Bbbbbbut…. I do hate math and I am bad at math. This has nothing to do with me being female. Why would I say the politically correct “I love math!” if I dont love math and I really do suck at it? I see what you guys are saying about women and math but I’m not going to write a post about how math is awesome just to prove a feminist point. That’s why the comments section is here… So you guys can say I LOVE MATH! if you actually do. 🙂

      • C May 6, 2012, 12:54 pm

        I think it is totally fine to hate math, but I came here to say the exact same thing as J. I am a math teacher, and I constantly tell my students that one of the most exciting thing about math is that there are many different ways to solve a math problem (just like there are many ways to write a paragraph). Part of being a great mathematician is to know which way is the best or most efficient way to solve it.

        Perhaps what you mean is that you hate arithmetic, which is what goes into calculating the tip at a restaurant. Math and arithmetic are two very different areas of study; in fact, most “real math” will not even include numbers at all!

        • krista May 7, 2012, 8:34 am

          Love this. (Female engineer here, who was sad to graduate college and not have any more math classes!)

  • Ellen May 5, 2012, 8:16 pm

    In the world of baking, eggs are not dairy; they serve very different purposes.

    In the world of food allergies/restrictions, eggs are not dairy; most people will one of these allergies can eat one or the other.

    Eggs are found in the dairy section of most grocery stores and that is the only logical explanation I can come up with for this common misunderstanding.

    Now I want a cookie 😛

  • Stacie D. May 5, 2012, 8:33 pm

    Do you mean that math is more definitive, as in only one correct answer? There are lots of ways to solve a problem and lots of answers that are acceptable. I used to not be so fond of Math either because in school I was only taught one way. Then when my dad would help me and do it a completely different way and still get the correct answer, it would totally confuse the hell out of me. Now that I am a teacher myself, I embrace all different reasonable strategies and never make my students feel locked down into only one way. I actually love Math now! Give it a try :0)

    • Jess May 5, 2012, 11:13 pm

      In my class we sometimes have competitions to see how many ways the kids can solve a problem. I’ll put something like 34+59 on the board and they have 3 minutes to use as many strategies as they can to solve the problem. They love it!

      • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:13 pm

        Dang – if math was a competition like that, I might like it 🙂

  • Earthy Nicole May 5, 2012, 8:47 pm

    What a good way to put baking… MATH. You’re right though, cookies are worth it sometimes. I don’t really consider eggs to be dairy but I always clarify myself to others because people do tend to consider it dairy. I have no idea why, other than that they are often sold in the dairy case at the grocery store! Lol 🙂 I really want a cookie now, dang it.

  • Anna Crouch May 5, 2012, 8:52 pm


    Animal product? Yes. Dairy: No!

    Dairy is different because it contains the protein lactose and is derived from cow’s milk, where as eggs are…well, they’re just eggs 🙂 They do not contain any lactose. Now ya know 🙂

  • Kate @ life's precious moments May 5, 2012, 8:58 pm

    Those cookies look amazing! I can’t wait to make them!! Love gluten free cookies 🙂

  • Carolyn May 5, 2012, 9:08 pm

    Eggs=dairy. I think you should edit your post to remove the “dairy free.”

    • Angela May 6, 2012, 5:14 am

      Do trolls eat eggs?

    • Emily J June 2, 2012, 11:58 am

      What an interesting debate!

      Dairy means containing or made from milk. Milk comes from mammary glands of mammals. Eggs are not produced from mammary glands.

      I’d call these cookies dairy free but not vegan. If I see vegan, then I assume no dairy or eggs. If a product says dairy free, then I do NOT assume there are no eggs in it.

      My husband cannot eat dairy, but he has no problem with eggs!

      Those are my two cents:)

  • luv what you do May 5, 2012, 9:33 pm

    Cookies and Tea were my agenda for this afternoon!
    I made two new recipes and bought some loose leaf tea at an adorable store that I made into iced tea. These cookies look great…maybe there will be more cookie time tomorrow!

  • Carrie May 5, 2012, 9:40 pm

    Eggs are classified as a poultry product.They are considered by many to be a meat.

    • Mildly Entertained May 5, 2012, 10:21 pm

      That’s what I thought (and thought was main-stream info!). Eggs come from chickens, hens – hence poultry. I never heard of them as dairy and am interested to hear why.

      • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:14 pm

        I think they are considered part of the meat GROUP on the food pyramid (as is beans and tofu), but not an actual meat. You have to kill the animal to get meat 🙂

        • Mildly Entertained May 7, 2012, 10:47 pm

          Actually, I read up on this. Eggs have been mistaken as a meat product because of a confusion between the terms dairy product and animal byproduct. Eggs are the latter – an animal byproduct (and hence, not dairy). Two specific groups who do not eat eggs include vegans and some Jewish communities who don’t consider it kosher to eat dairy with meat (not because of the belief that eggs are dairy…).

          Hope that helps!

  • Mildly Entertained May 5, 2012, 10:20 pm

    I think you are taking math too seriously. You really can’t compare it to writing in any way – they’re different. Math is taught in schools so kids can grow up knowing basic skills.

    The cookies look great! But, wait – eggs are dairy?! Since when and how?!

  • Kath May 5, 2012, 10:21 pm

    I’m a math person and do not like writing so much. Yet I love to cook and do not care for baking. A puzzle!

  • Stephanie C May 5, 2012, 10:30 pm

    I don’t consider eggs to be dairy at all!

  • Brandi May 5, 2012, 11:26 pm

    Eggs are not dairy unless chickens have magically started producing milk. They’re just located in the dairy section! I’ve never heard that one before. Also, what would be the point of using lacto-ovo vegetarian if they were the same thing?

  • Anne @strawberryjampackedlife May 6, 2012, 12:37 am

    Yup, as an engineer, I love baking!! I can pretty much eyeball a few things though (like vanilla).

  • Annette@FitnessPerks May 6, 2012, 12:54 am

    I like baking–I am good at math, but I hate it. Weird, eh?!

    By the way, eggs are not considered dairy 🙂 Promise. Hehe.

    I love oats in cookies. ENJOY!!

  • Dominique May 6, 2012, 1:02 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I was desperate for cookies yesterday but didn’t have the right gluten-free flour for a recipe I liked. I ran with muffins instead (involving coconut flour and oil) but they were terrible and had to be tossed. I’ve got all the ingredients on hand for your recipe posted above and cannot wait to try it out!

  • Alexis May 6, 2012, 2:44 am

    As a former employee of the US Dairy Export Council, and someone who worked in international dairy regulations, I can conclusively say that in no way are eggs and dairy related!! It makes me sad that there are actually people who don’t realize that. I mean, chickens don’t even nurse their young, so they aren’t even dairy producing creatures! So yes, your recipe absolutely is dairy free!

    • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:14 pm

      Ah ha! Another good point.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats May 6, 2012, 3:39 am

    Hahaha I’m the exact opposite!! I love maybe because there is ONE answer and you know if you’re right or wrong! I also much prefer the precision of baking, cooking just makes me anxious!

  • Robin May 6, 2012, 5:27 am

    I used to think I hated math, but somehow I ended up being a CPA! Go figure!

    You are a very gifted writer. You write from your heart and I love to read your posts!

    • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:15 pm

      Thank you Robin 🙂

  • Charity May 6, 2012, 7:27 am

    I am the same way with tips for resturants, Jon always has to double check. Once without him there I gave a 50% tip. Luckily it wasnt an extreamly expensive meal but I’m sure the girl liked the tip lol.
    And eggs are not dairy. I’m not sure how your hubby thought it was a dairy product. I’d like to know his reasoning. In order to be a dairy product there has to be milk somewhere in there.

  • Emily May 6, 2012, 7:59 am

    I have a very different view of baking!

    Old fashioned baking is by look, texture and how it feels. Like you know by how it is supposed to feel when you beat it with a spoon.

    I think perhaps it has got more sciencey as people use more tools (electric beaters etc) to bake with. I can’t use those things – I beat and stir everything by hand. Because that’s how I know its right.

    I usually base my baking on a recipe (or more often, 4 or 5 recipes that I use bits of) but I don’t weigh or measure everything. And my stuff is definitely good – its pretty famous amongst the people who know me!

    My Great Great Grandma cooked and baked for 14 kids in the days where you couldn’t get anything from the shops. She baked all her bead, pastries, cakes, etc etc every day and never weighed an ingredient in her life.

    • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:16 pm

      This is an awesome comment. I love your GG Grandma!

    • Brigid May 7, 2012, 2:09 pm

      I totally agree! I think there is just as much intuition in baking as there is in cooking. I measure my flour and sugar somewhat loosely, but I do plenty of eyeballing and have great results.

  • Nikki May 6, 2012, 8:57 am

    You can only write a paragraph 20 different ways because you possess the tools to do it (language, syntax). Same with math! The bigger your intellectual toolbox, the more math can do for you.

  • Hillary May 6, 2012, 9:21 am

    I find it bizarre that I HATE math with a fiery passion, but I absolutely love baking. It’s a huge oxymoron!

    • Robyn May 7, 2012, 3:15 pm

      I’m totally the same. Numbers make me cry but I am well-known for all of my goodies and I have a kitchen completely outfitted for all my baking!

  • Hayley @ Oat Couture May 6, 2012, 9:54 am

    Ahhh these cookies look ridic!! 🙂 As for the eggs I know that they are technically not dairy seeing as they don’t contain milk but I still count them as such. In my head anything produced by animals is dairy! And before anyone jumps in I know its wrong, just a habit I have I guess! I can probably blame my mum for that one! Ha! 🙂

  • Chrissy (The New Me) May 6, 2012, 9:58 am

    I don’t consider eggs to be dairy OR meat, and I would never assume something advertised as “dairy-free” doesn’t have eggs, either. Eggs are eggs.

  • Kerry May 6, 2012, 10:29 am

    Hi Caitlin,

    I am dairy-free but I eat eggs! Maybe people just like to assume that “dairy free” means vegan because so many vegan folks look for that label?

    Thanks for yet another GF recipe 🙂

  • Kelly May 6, 2012, 10:29 am

    When this recipe showed up last night I realized that I had all the ingredients (minus the almonds) to make these, so I did. And they are good! Having to take some to a friend today just so they all don’t get eaten too quickly.

    • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:16 pm

      Yum! Glad you like them 🙂

  • Linz @ Itz Linz May 6, 2012, 10:29 am

    i happen to have ALL of these things on hand with not a whole lot on my agenda today… hmmm…

  • Amber K May 6, 2012, 1:55 pm

    It baffles me that people think eggs are classified as dairy. I have never understood that…

  • Brenda May 6, 2012, 6:07 pm

    Great post! You are such a good writer. I am a math and baking person but I never realized they go together. I hate writing. That’s why this comment will inevitably end up sounding choppy and terrible! I don’t cook unless I have a recipe. Oh and just so you know, there are many ways to solve math problems, you just have to find the way that works for you. But, yes, there is only one right answer – and I do love that!

  • Rachel May 6, 2012, 6:34 pm

    When I first became a vegan, I assumed when a product was labeled ‘dairy-free’ I could eat it…until I read the ingredients and usually dairy-free products still contain eggs. I’ve been tricked by mainy ‘dairy-free’ cookies and muffins! I guess milk/butter has lactic acid while eggs don’t??? So the ‘dairy free’ label is only for the allergy people not the vegans. I think eggs should count as dairy!

    • Rachel May 6, 2012, 6:35 pm

      lactose not lactic

  • Lisa May 6, 2012, 7:48 pm

    Eggs are definitely NOT dairy, in fact the suggestion just seems totally ludicrous!

    Think of lacto-ovo vegetarians (which I am), you could remove the lacto (dairy) to be a veg who eats eggs or remove the ovo (eggs) but still eat dairy. That’s why ‘vegan’ specifies that both dairy AND eggs are eliminated. Also, as mentioned above, dairy is produced through the milk of mammals whereas eggs (are categorically different from milk products) and come from birds. Correspondingly, the also function much differently in the body, and in baking and cooking.

  • Jenn May 7, 2012, 1:42 am

    Wait….How could an egg be considered a dairy product? I’ve never heard this before and am super confused haha. Isn’t dairy….umm….milk products? Since an egg is technically a chicken isn’t it considered a meat?

  • Kelly meatlesswithaman.blogspot.com May 7, 2012, 9:17 am

    I 100% agree! I am a language person not a math person and also say I like cooking and NOT baking for that very reason!!

  • Alexa May 7, 2012, 9:38 am

    Thank you for showing me a craving I didn’t even know I had (from a fellow prego woman!)

  • Julia May 7, 2012, 3:59 pm

    If you want a simple but AWESOME g-free cookie recipe, here it is:

    Mix 1 cup of smooth pb, 1 cup of light brown sugar, and 1 egg together. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. So good!

  • jenn h January 8, 2014, 3:20 pm

    No Flour? Interesting. I will try them today!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point