Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free, Vegan)

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            I am over three weeks into my elimination diet, trying to gain control over some ongoing health issues, and it’s going well. I’ve gone to a Paleo diet, which has been an adjustment, but not as big as it could have been. I’ve been gluten free for over five years and I’ve been making Paleo recipes for over a year so it wasn’t like I heard I should try it then dove headfirst into it the next day. It’s still been an adjustment, though, and I’m working through it.

            At first I felt really overwhelmed; I’m even more limited to what I can eat with the elimination diet and so at first I felt very deprived…and hungry! You know what I realized, though? I felt very similar to this when I started on a gluten-free diet but now I don’t even think about it anymore. I can convert pretty much any recipe and very rarely feel deprived anymore. I’ll get to that place again with this adventure.

            So…back to being deprived and hungry. I love sweets but have cut out all refined sugars. That too, is not a huge adjustment. For a long time I have been substituting more natural sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup, or agave, in treats, but I really didn’t realize how many things sugar is in. Wow! I needed some go-to snacks and I had been craving something sweet. I had some Enjoy Life-brand chocolate chips in the pantry and decided I wanted chocolate chip cookies, but I’m eliminating nuts at the moment (with the elimination diet) and so I went in search of a coconut flour cookie, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be!

            I finally found one in a book I had but it still wasn’t right. It had dairy, nuts, and eggs! All off-limits for the moment. So, I set to tweaking and this is the result. If you haven’t baked with coconut flour before, a word of advice I had to learn the hard way. You have to sift it and it works best if you use an electric mixer and not try to do it by hand. For some reason it just needs that extra help to turn out nice and fluffy. Believe me, it’s worth it.

            The original recipe called for white sugar and I think coconut sugar would be great in these – but I was out. I like the almost caramel-like flavor it lends to things, much like brown sugar will do, so I used maple syrup, hoping that would add a little of that extra kick. Use more or less, depending on your taste. I didn’t want them really sweet but I tasted one after the first pan and they just weren’t sweet enough.

            Another bit of advice. Don’t get too impatient; these need time to cool and “set,” so to speak. I was so discouraged the night I made them because they were coming apart so easily but once they completely cooled, they were fine! It may have been the flax eggs; those work most of the time but they don’t always work as well as eggs will.

            I miss eggs! I made hubby and Blessing omelets one night this last week and they looked SO good! It will be a month for the elimination diet on the seventeenth and I’m pretty sure that’s going to be one of the first things I try adding back in! Hopefully I can add them back into my diet permanently; they are so good for you and one of my favorite easy go-to meals.

I am feeling much better but still having some bad eczema flares, mostly at night much to my frustration. Especially now that Blessing is FINALLY sleeping through the night. Overall, though, I am so much better. At least I’m not completely and totally miserable ALL of the time. I was getting discouraged about that too, and like the other feelings I mentioned, I realized it took some time when I went gluten-free. Though I felt so much better initially, it took time! (Gluten damage can take anywhere from six months to two YEARS to heal!) So, I know I must be patient but I’m also doing some other research and also continuing to pray to the Great Physician, the most important part of my healing journey!

Be well! And have a cookie!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten, Grain, & Refined Sugar Free, Vegan)

 

Ingredients

½ cup palm oil shortening

½ cup plus 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs (I used flax eggs which worked out to 4 Tbsp. flax seed meal to ¾ cup water; mix together and let sit for a few minutes before adding to recipe)

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup coconut flour, sifted

1 cup chocolate chips (I like the “Enjoy Life” brand; they are naturally sweetened and free of gluten, soy, nuts, dairy, or anything artificial)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

 

In the medium bowl combine the shortening, syrup, eggs (or egg substitute), vanilla and salt, and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the sifted flour and chocolate chips, mixing until well combined.

 

Scoop 1-2 Tablespoons of the dough on the prepared cookie sheet, flattening slightly (your hand is fine), and bake for 9-12 minutes.

 

Note: A friend told me years ago that the best way to make cookies is to pull them out of the oven when they are JUST starting to brown at the edges. I did that with the first pan and it wasn’t quite long enough; they turned out kind of crumbly. For me and my oven the 12 minute mark was about perfect, but you may have to experiment with yours.

 

XO,

Emily

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