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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gluten-free Fall Cookies

One day as I was staring at the Chocolate Chips in my hand and weighing the options - whether to eat the bag itself or make something of it- I decided to try to adapt an existing recipe to a gluten-free one: the classic American treat-  Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Trying to be gluten-free and include items that somewhat resemble the food that the rest of the population is eating (like bread, pasta) is time consuming if you start from scratch.  It's nice, once in a while to not have to reinvent the wheel-  so where I can, I improvise and substitute ingredients of regular meals with gluten free ones.   I'm a much better "adapter" than a "creator".  While not perfect, it gets the  job done!

I don't handle measurements very well- I avoid truthful, exact measurements where I can-  including parts of my body that have enlarged over the years and.... ingredient quantities.  I'd must rather add a "pinch" of something than have to measure it out.  My dad has successfully cooked this way as long as I've known him and has been very successful at it.   I haven't found this to be true of baking unfortunately.  Many a time, I've "adjusted" the quantities of salt or sugar to the point that it's inedible. So I'm sorry to disappoint, but this recipe has measurements.  Sometimes, you just can't mess with science.

 And that's why I adapted this classic chocolate chip cookie recipe to something that us food-allergic/intollerant individuals can be excited to make.  I'm sensitive to dairy, sugar and for sure corn.  Where I can, I avoid gluten as I'm not sure what the culprit is of my dietary dilemma.   And it helps that my picky husband enjoyed them, too, and can attest for choosy family members everywhere that it does not kill you to eat healthy once in a while....  Even if it's packaged in a cookie.   

  I find pictures are helpful. If you're off the mark, it can help you determine by how much.  And here's what the finished product looks like so you can see that it actually can turn out normal.
Oh sorry.... there's a puppy in that one. He's not for sale or edible.  And guessing by his smell, he's probably not sweet anyways.




So here it is!  My gluten-free fall cookie recipe- complete with white chocolate, pumpkin seeds and canned pumpkin.  Enjoy!

Bon appetit!  
~Kaaren 

Kaaren's "Too Good to Be Gluten-Free" Cookies
 *   2 1/4 cups various flours (below is my favorite combination, but really there are many combinations of flours you can do):  - 1 cup Quinois Flour (I prefer Bob's Mill)  -1/2 cup white rice flour  (Bob's Mill)  -1/2 cup: garbanzo/fava bean flour  (Bob's Mill)  -1/4 cup ground flax seed  (Bob's Mill)
 *   1 teaspoon baking soda
 *   1 teaspoon salt
 *   1 cup Coconut Oil (solid at room temp)
 *   3/4 cup granulated sugar
 *   3/4 cup packed brown sugar
 *   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 *   2 1/2  large eggs (2 eggs and one yolk)
 *   1 cups (12-oz. pkg.) White chocolate chips (or as many as you want, but this is less sugar than most cookie recipes include)
 *   1 cup pumpkin seeds
 *   Opt: add up to 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (if adding pumpkin, see how consistency is after 2 eggs instead of 2 1/2 and add egg if it seems dry)
 *   Optional substitution: You could substitute some of the sugar for natural peanut butter- just keep same measurements.




A few fun additions I thought of but have not yet attempted, but may in the near future:

Directions: 
Add wet ingredients together and beat until combined - coconut oil, vanilla, eggs. In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, white sugar.  



Sunday, January 22, 2012

At Least the Dog is Eating Healthy!

Well...

Embarrassingly enough, it has been WAY too long since I posted last and a lot has happened.  I started a new job in Downtown Minneapolis, so in addition to putting a lot more effort into my outfits, I've also had to put more of a concerted effort in bringing food with me so I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it since I'm a lot further from home now!  So sorry to say that blogging has been put on the back burner, too!  But now I'm back!

I did, however, have an adventure in Organic Dog Biscuit making over Christmas!  My family knows we put a lot of emphasis on eating nutritiously (with the occasional snack). We believe that what goes into Wally, our dog, is just as important as what goes into us, as long as it doesn't break the bank.



My sister bought me a book called appropriately "organic dog biscuit cookbook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company: Care For Your Dogs The Way They Care for You!"  It's a great alternative to reading a lot of the ingredients on store bought, even specialty so- called "gluten and corn free" dog treats, which may have added junk in them, too!


I invited my husband to make them with me, and because we care about nutrition for our dog just as much as for us, he happily obliged.

We made the "it's a formal affair" and the "cheese fries" ones.  The ingredients involved are super fresh, most have an oat or rice flour component, and some need refrigeration after cooking, others don't!  A sampling of ingredients involved may include: molasses, honey, organic salt-free peanut butter, ground turkey, etc.  It's a great mix of types and styles.

After you make the dough, you roll it out and use your favorite cookie cutter.  Some recipes have a recommended shape, others are more open to interpretation.



They don't rise too much (if they are made with oat flour), and I recommend following the baking instructions-  you want them crunchy, not chewy.  Our round cookies were a tad chewy just because I didn't really think about this logic before pulling them out early.  Dogs don't have our same standards for cookies.  :)

These ones were dipped in white chocolate (which is safe for dogs- regular chocolate, especially dark, is harmful to dogs).  The recipe also called for carob, but most grocery stores I went to don't carry it in this economy, so we improvised.


The Cheese Fry Treat turned out like this:


And Wally, our Boston, helped with the clean-up so he made our efforts worthwhile since he helped.  Just kidding, but he's cute and I wanted to include him in this post. This spoon was used for peanut butter!

Has anyone else attempted anything like this?  Making treats for their dog?
OR
Any great cookbooks to share or links to gluten-free, dairy and corn-free baking?