I am not a professional baker, nor do I pretend to be. As my children were growing up, in an effort to keep costs down, I did a lot of baking to make school lunches, and provide my children and their friends with snacks. I discovered that I was pretty good at it! I loved to make cookies, squares, muffins, breads…..just about anything, really.
Then two things happened – first, as children tend to do, my kids grew up, got married, and moved out. If I kept doing that much baking we would be very chubby grandparents. Second – I developed food issues. When you can’t have dairy, gluten, soy, nuts and eggs, it really puts a crimp in your baking style. I wallowed in self-pity for a while, and then started experimenting. When baking without these key ingredients, you need to do a fair amount of substituting, and you need to change your expectations as to how things will be as far as texture goes. Regular flour is lovely and smooth and “gluey”, so things hold together well, and have a very smooth feel in your mouth. Non-gluten flours, because they are ground from various things like rice, sorghum, quinoa, etc., can tend to be a little grittier in texture. On top of this, substituting for eggs with chia seeds or ground flax adds a little grainier substance to your baking. On the up side, chia and flax are very healthy.
Last week I pulled out an old recipe for double chocolate cookies. I did some tweaking, and this is what I came up with.
2 chia eggs
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
½ cup cooking oil
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup white rice flour
¾ cup sweet sorghum flour
6 tbsp. brown rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup chocolate chips
Mix together the chia eggs and sugar. Melt chocolate squares in cooking oil, and add that as well as the vanilla to the chia/sugar mixture.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Drop by tbsp. onto greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper). Bake in 350* oven for 8-10 minutes (mine took 7).
Chia seed eggs – for each “egg” use 1 tbsp. of chia seeds and 3 tbsp. water. For a smoother texture, grind your chia seeds first. Combine the chia seeds and water, and let sit for at least 15 minutes to make a nice gel.
- I used organic sugar
- I used Camino unsweetened chocolate – free from all major allergens
- I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips – free from all major allergens
- Flours – you can either to Bob’s Red Mill, or Bulk Barn has them in bulk.
A review by my husband, who can eat whatever the heck he wants. Ha.
“The cookies look good. They have a crisp exterior, and are soft and moist inside. They are slightly grainy. (I explained the whole gluten free flour texture thing.) However, this slight graininess would not stop me from eating more (as he carried away a bowl of four cookies). “
My husband grew up in a family with eleven children, so granted – he is not a picky eater – but he did plow through a significant number of cookies.
I hope that, if you give these a try, they are a success for you as well!