Friday, May 6, 2011

Soon-to-be-famous Gluten-free, Dairy-free, MSG-free, Nut-free, potentially Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ah, chocolate chip cookies -- they're basically a childhood institution.   I used to be kind of famous for mine.  Well, "famous" might be a bit strong.  People really liked them.  There, that's more accurate.  Then we discovered that my youngest daughter has celiac disease and cannot consume gluten.  I had to alter the recipe, switching up the flours until I found the right combination.  Then we discovered she cannot tolerate cow dairy either.   Bye-bye butter.

For a while, I substituted Earth Balance for the butter.  Then I learned that the bizarre heart problems I was having were the result of an allergy to MSG.  There went the cookie-hood.

Sad sad cookies.  They didn't have a fighting chance.  I tried using coconut oil for all the butter, but it made them taste coconutty and also made them very flat.  I tried using non-hydrogenated Spectrum shortening in place of all the butter, but they turned out so crispy the kids used them to loosen their teeth, in hopes that they could elicit more frequent visits from the Tooth Fairy.

I just plain gave up.  We focussed more on peanut butter cookies and my actually (semi) famous Suzie Q Cake.  But the kids have been requesting chocolate chip cookies lately so I have been experimenting.  I think my last few batches might be the ones.  They adhere to all my guidelines:

1.  They do not cost a fortune in fancy gluten free flours to make.
2.  I typically have all the ingredients on hand.
3.  They are free of all of our family's allergens, as well as nut-free for sharing with friends.
4.  They have less sugar than regular recipes.
5.  They hold together well (a problem with gluten-free fare).
6.  The kids can make them.

So, for those of you with a craving for chocolate chip cookies and allergies out the wazoo, I give you my soon-to-be-famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

LakeMom's Soon-to-be-famous Gluten-free, Dairy-free, MSG-free, Nut-free, potentially Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. Spectrum Shortening (it's non-hydrogenated)
2 eggs or 2 fleggs (1 flegg = 1 T. ground flax seeds, whisked with 3 T. hot water and left to sit for 10-20 minutes, until it is the consistency of beaten eggs)
1 t. vanilla extract (make sure it is gluten-free, if that is your issue)
2 c. brown rice flour
1 c. gluten-free oats (this is the splurge, but we always have them on hand for the wee one; you can also substitute 1/2 c. chopped nuts and 1/2 c. more flour, if you can eat nuts)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. lightly packed brown sugar
2 T. decaffeinated coffee beans, ground
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. chocolate chips (if you are allergic to MSG, use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or other chips that do not contain soy lecithin)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare your baking sheets with either a smear of coconut oil, shortening, or a silpat liner.

Combine all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a mixer (or by hand should you have very strong forearms), cream the coconut oil, shortening, and sugars together, making sure to scrape the edges of the bowl.  Add vanilla and eggs or fleggs and mix until combined.  With mixer (or forearms) on low, add dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time until combined.  Add chocolate chips and mix just until combined (I need a new word for "combined").  Drop by spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.

It goes without saying, but let cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet with a spatula, and even more before eating.

Enjoy.

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