Friday, 26 June 2015

Allergy Aware Cookies

Here it is, my first recipe post. This is a little nerve-racking but super exciting! I switched back and forth when deciding which recipe to start with. I wanted something that was easy enough that you won't get scared off, had options to cater for a wide range of allergies, but still tastes great. In the end I let Miss E and Miss A choose between Allergy Aware Cookies and Coconut Muffins. The cookies won, so here we are!

When I was developing the recipe for these cookies I tried a few different methods and flour combinations before finally deciding on 2 options. One which is gluten free and one using spelt flour, but more on that later. I wanted something that could either be a plain chocolate cookie or something we could fancy up a little. So we have a base cookie recipe and where it goes from there is totally up to you! There are lots of options when it comes to your choice of milk, topping and sugar in this recipe. The recipe is totally customisable to suit your family's dietary requirements, tastes, budget and what you have in your pantry.

We start by mixing the chia seed and milk together and set it to the side to thicken. To make life easier every Monday I grind up as many chia seeds I think I will use in a week and store them in a glass jar in the fridge. I use them often so chia never lasts me very long! The chia and milk combo in this recipe is to replace egg, the extra chia in the gluten free version is to replace the need for xanthan gum (a tip I picked up  here). If you don't have egg or gluten allergies in your house why not try it with an egg instead? Let me know how it goes! You can use any milk you like here. We have tried coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, lactose free cows milk and goats milk, they all worked out beautifully. Now leave the chia mix to the side to thicken.

Now its time for the sugar and coconut oil mix. We have tried this recipe with coconut and Rapadura sugars. I prefer Rapadura but Tim prefers coconut sugar, although I think the coconut sugar works better in the gluten free version than Rapadura does. We are yet to try any other sugars or sweeteners but I'm sure there are many you could use. We use coconut oil here in place of butter or other fats. We have never tried it with any other kind of oil but if you give it a try be sure to let me know how it goes. You could try butter, ghee, maybe shortening? Have a play and see what works for you. 

Moving onto sifting the rest of our dry ingredients. When it comes to flour choice in our house the gluten free combo of sorghum and tapioca is a real winner. It does have a little of of the texture that gluten free baked goods tend to have but you will be too busy eating to notice! I've also given the option of spelt flour as I know that for some people gluten free baking and mixing your own flours is intimidating. We made a batch with spelt this week with some friends and the kids loved it! If you don't have to worry about gluten why not give it a go? By the time I've sifted all the dry ingredients the chia mix is ready. It should be nice and thick and it's time to move onto combining all the elements together.

You beat the sugar and chia mixes together and then add the flour mix a small portion at a time. Doing it slowly gives you a better texture and you don't end up with clumps of unmixed flour. 
The mix then gets covered and goes in the fridge for an hour. I use that time to pre-heat my oven, clean down my bench and get any toppings ready. For our most recent batch we did coconut, cacao nibs, a few plain and even some with a dollop of refined sugar free jam in the centre. We like to mix it up and do a number of different toppings in each batch.

Now you are ready to roll and top! I like to do balls just under 1inch in size. I dip them in toppings like coconut but with cacao nibs or vegan choc-chips I like to mix them through a little and then roll the ball. I place them all on a tray, press with a fork and send them off to the oven!

When you bake them, cook them until just before you think they are done. In my oven it takes about 13 and a half minutes to get the right consistency. They firm up on the outside as they cool but stay nice and fudgy on the inside. Cookie perfection.

I can't wait to see what combination you come up with. Make sure you let us know how this recipe goes for you!


For gluten free
1 1/3 cups sorgham flour
3 tablespoons of tapioca flour

If you don't need a gluten free option use
1 1/2 cups Spelt Flour

1/2 cup milk or milk alternative
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (add 1 teaspoon extra if using the listed gluten free option)
1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups coconut or Rapadura sugar (amount depends on your preference for sweetness)

1/2 cup cacao power (make sure it's cacao not cocoa powder!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt

Optional Toppings
Shredded coconut, almond meal, almond flakes, cacao nibs, allergy friendly/vegan choc-chips. The only limits are your family's dietary requirements and your imagination!

1. In a small bowl or cup combine milk and chia seeds. Whisk with a fork and set aside.
2. Using a cake mixer, mix sugar and melted coconut oil until combined.
3. Sift flour, cacao, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. Set aside.
4. Whisk the chia mix with a fork again (it should be much thicker than it started) and add to the sugar mixture. Mix until well combined.
5. While the mixer is on a low speed, add the flour a small amount at a time until all combined. Shape dough into a disk, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
6. While the dough is in the fridge pre-heat your oven to 175C , line 2 oven trays and get started on sorting out your toppings.
7. Remove dough from fridge and roll into 1 inch balls. At this point you can leave them plain or add your toppings.
8. Place onto a lined tray leaving space for spreading. Press each one down with a fork.
9. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.
10. Leave cookies to cool on tray for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

So what do you think? Let me know here, on  Facebook or Instagram. We have a batch of these delicious morsels, some coconut muffins and chicken here ready to take to a Playgroup shared lunch (recipes for those coming soon). Shared lunches are such a scary thing for allergy families!

If you have any allergies or intolerances that you want me to cover just let me know and I will do my best to develop and adapt recipes to suit your needs. 
As I test and develop for substitutions I'll update my recipes. 

Happy Cooking!
Jasmine x

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