I have a niece with special dietary needs, she can’t have gluten, casein (present in milk and milk products) and even eggs! What this means to me? I can’t use AP flour, butter or eggs in anything that I bake for her. Gluten-free I can deal with, vegan, I can handle (even if grudgingly). But finding recipes for all of these together is a huge challenge…and a baker’s nightmare!
I’ll tell you why. The gluten in AP flour holds together whatever you bake: cakes, cookies, muffins, no-gluten just means none of these will bake decently. Fine you say replace the flour with almond meal and you take care of the no gluten and no butter bit. I did do that in the past with my Gluten-free Almond & Ginger Cookies and a Chocolate-Orange Almond Cake what about the eggs that bind and add volume? Sure you can add an egg-replacer, but anyone who has used it will tell you that it’s not the same as an egg. The day my niece was arriving (a month and half ago) from the US, I searched high and low for recipes that would accommodate her dietary needs, but disappointingly didn’t find any, so I couldn’t welcome her with any of my baked goodies.
My SIL and niece stayed with us for a week, and I made her some chocolate muffins with gluten-free flour (that my SIL brought from the US), Cocoa, oil, brown sugar and rice milk. I wasn’t too happy with the outcome. Although extremely moist due to the rice milk, the muffins just didn’t hold together (you had to eat them with a spoon). I guess Xanthan/Guar gum which would act as the binding agent in the absence of gluten were missing. I wasn’t too kicked about making them again. So I made her other Indian stuff to compensate.
This not being able to bake for a niece I loved so much and who in turn doted on me really bothered me, so off I went on the internet to find alternatives. And what did I discover? That I could use either either Almond/Sunflower butter and best of all, I could buy it right here in India, so I ordered the Almond butter and it arrived as promised in 3 working days. God bless this site, I’ve ordered stuff from it twice so far and it’s been great going (believe me, this isn’t a sponsored plug-in). The best part, I discovered that aluminium-free baking powder that I couldn’t find so far in India, is available on this site.
Back to the topic on hand, I finally made my niece some some chocolate chunk cookies which met all her dietary needs and the best part of it weren’t the compliments I received from her (her vocab is limited to yummy as of now). The best part was watching her devour a large cookie right after her lunch, totally looking through her grandma who was begging her for some! Mission accomplished! I could at least bid her a sweet goodbye! Oh yeah she blew me kiss (without being prompted by her mom) as she walked away into the immigration queue. Coming from her, it was definitely HUGE and left me smiling way after.
What you Will Need:
- Gluten-free flour – 180 gms
- Chocolate Chunks – 200 gms
- Brown Sugar – 120 gms
- Granulated sugar – 100 gms
- Vanilla extract – A few drops
- Baking Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Almond butter 115 gms
- Nuts (optional) – 150 grams (toasted and broken into small pieces)
- Sea Salt – 1 – 1.5 teaspoons
- Egg-replacer -1 teaspoon
How You Make It:
- Sift the flour with the baking soda and a pinch of salt.
- In a medium bowl, beat the sugar with the almond butter.Don’t worry too much of the sugar and butter doesn’t come together at this point.
- Mix the egg-replacer with 2 tablespoons of water and add to the sugar-almond butter mix.
- Add the flour and mix thoroughly, intermittently scraping the sides of the vessel. Don’t overmix.
- Fold in the chocolate chunks and nuts.
- Chill in the fridge for 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 180 C
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper or grease a baking sheet.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop the cookie dough onto the baking tray and press down to flatten.
- Sprinkle each cookie with a few flakes of sea-salt.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Even if they don’t look too done, turn off the oven and keep the cookies in.
- Remove from oven and let them cool (they will continue to bake even at this time.
- Remove from parchment after they are cool.
- Store or eat.
Do you know any gluten-free and vegan baking recipes that you can share?