Sunday, September 7, 2008

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

...a brilliant quote attributed to Albert Einstein. I have grown weary of baking and experimenting with different cookie recipes, scouring through endless allergy cookbooks and internet sites for the "perfect" egg/gluten/dairy/sugar-free cookie. I want one - simple - cookie "recipe" that I can use to make any kind of cookie I'm in the mood for. So while I'm still experimenting with variations, here are the "bones" for a pretty good cookie recipe. The cookies aren't always completely "perfect," but our family thinks they're pretty tasty (they're the best cookies their going to get!).

Here's my "simplest" egg/gluten/dairy/sugar - free cookie "suggestion":
1/2 c. vegetable shortening (non-hydrogenated, soy-free..."Spectrum" is good)
1/4 c. molasses
1/4-1/2 c. maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, brown rice syrup (or any combination thereof)
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour (quinoa, buckwheat, teff, sorghum, oat, brown rice, rye (or any combination thereof)
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum (if using gluten-free flour)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 c. additional flour (see above options) or 2 c. old fashioned oats for oatmeal cookies)
2-4 T. coconut milk, rice milk, almond milk, water, etc. (just in case your dough needs a softer consistency, depending on the type of flour you use)
raisins, dates, currants, candied ginger pieces, goji berries, coconut, carob or chocolate (dairy-free) chips, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries/cherries, or any other stir-ins (use your judgement on quantity)

Directions: (1) preheat oven to 350, (2) cream shortening, sweetener, and vanilla w/ electric mixer, (3) stir in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, adding "milk" or water if necessary (dough should be able to be scooped in a spoon and dropped on a cookie sheet, but still retain it's shape), (4) add extra stir-ins noted above, (5) drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, (6) enjoy!

From my "basic" recipe, I created these Date Cookies:
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. honey
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c. quinoa flour
1 c. brown rice flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder (aluminum-free)
2-3 T. coconut milk
3-5 fresh dates, sliced, pitted, and chopped in large chunks

Follow the directions listed above. I have noticed these cookies "spread" less than your typical gluten/egg cookie. They bake up somewhat dense, in the same shape that you dropped them in. and tend to be "crumbly" even with the use of xanthan gum. I will try to experiment a little more, and I'm following some "new" experiments of others, but for now these cookies are quick, easy, and do just fine (no one at my house is complaining). However, my kids have never known any different, and I've become so used to these cookies, my definition of the "perfect" cookie does not follow the normal "objective" opinion anymore. See this website, it's very interesting just on the science of baking:


FoodAllergyMom said...

Your title for this post caught my eye at the blogger carnival. I know exactly what you are saying about one simple cookie recipe, I have been going through the same thing. Can your kids have apples? If so, I have found that a couple of tablespoons (sometimes up to 1/4 cup) of applesauce helps retain moisture and reduces crumbling. I'm happy to have found you, I'm going to go check out the rest of your blog noe. :)

sugar free said...

Love that quote as well. Your cookies look delicious! love to try this one out. :)