You are all in for a treat today, literally, if you get baking. Alissa Segersten has written the best cookbook I have ever read. (Sorry Julia) I think everyone, no matter if you follow a gluten free and dairy free diet or not, should own this book. It has clear and concise descriptions and explanations about food and great recipes. Thank you Alissa, for sharing these cookies and your wonderful cookbook with us. Make sure you check out her Whole Life Nutrition blog and website.
Hi everyone, My name is Alissa Segersten, author of The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Diane has invited me to be a guest blogger on her site and to pick a topic to discuss. Since Diane has so many wonderful gluten-free main dish recipes and ideas posted here I thought I would add a dessert and talk a little about baking gluten-free, using wholesome ingredients.
There are plenty of cookbooks and websites that offer wonderful gluten-free recipes. But what about egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, low or no sugar recipes? And what if you have an allergy to rice on top of it all? Is it still possible to indulge in the occasional sweet treat?
Of course it is!
You can create some very tasty treats using wholesome ingredients such as sorghum flour, millet flour, virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, dark chocolate, applesauce, fruit sweetened jams, and much more!
Of course it is important to remember that baked goods are not the ticket to health. A wholesome diet filled with whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, beans, fish, nuts and seeds will provide you with the most nutrients to reach an optimum state of health. With that in mind, the occasional baked treat can satisfy a craving without causing much of an issue.
Gluten-Free Baking Tips:
1. Measure precisely and correctly. I can’t stress this enough. If you have a recipe failure this is the most common pitfall. When baking gluten-free you need to take care in correct measuring.
2. Bake at a time when you will not get distracted. With gluten-free baking, many more flours and ingredients are called for than just the typical all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, eggs… It is so easy to lose track of what you have added already. Twice the amount of xanthan gum or no xanthan gum could have disastrous results. I have done it before so I know, it is not pretty!
3. Store your whole grain flours in the freezer if you do not bake often. The oil in the bran and germ of the grain goes rancid quite easily after being ground into a flour. If your baked product has a slight bitterness, it is probably the result of an old flour gone rancid.
Here I will offer you an example of a recipe from the dessert chapter in our cookbook. Our Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies have all of the flavor and sweet appeal as a traditional chocolate chip cookie but with much less fat and only a smidgen of cane sugar. They are sweetened and bound together using a puree of medjool dates and hot water. If you can not tolerate cane sugar then you can replace the 1/4 cup of Sucanat with maple sugar. I buy my maple sugar from Authentic Foods, a gluten-free manufacturer.
This morning I made them using sorghum flour in place of the brown rice flour called for in my recipe. The two flours are interchangeable for most recipes. I use mini-chocolate chips by the company Enjoy Life.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
These gluten-free cookies are very easy to make. Serve with hemp milk or fresh almond milk for a fun treat! You can also vary the recipe by adding cocoa powder and a little extra sugar for chocolate cookies or take out the chocolate chips and add 1 to 2 teaspoons ginger powder and cinnamon each for a ginger spice cookie.
Makes About 1 ½ to 2 Dozen Cookies
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1 cup boiling water
½ cup melted virgin coconut oil or organic butter
¼ cup Sucanat or maple sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups brown rice flour or sorghum flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (or more) gluten-free chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place pitted medjool dates into a small bowl, cover with boiling water. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Then place soaked dates and water into a blender and puree.
Scoop out date puree with a rubber spatula and place into a bowl. Add melted coconut oil, whole cane sugar, and vanilla; whisk together.
In a separate bowl, mix together the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and sea salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together with a fork or wooden spoon. Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Gently flatten each cookie with the back of a spoon. You don’t want to flatten them too much, only slightly.
Bake for 10 to 14 minutes. Baking time will depend on what size the cookies are. Larger cookies need a little extra time and smaller cookies a little less. Let cool slightly then enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.