Friday, September 12, 2014

Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you ever find yourself dreaming about delicious chocolate chip cookies?  If you've given up eating grains or gluten and sugar, I'll bet you miss them alot.  Ummmmm....Toll House!  Just the memory can be torment.

Here at, we are in no way into denial and the giving up of treats.  Yes, we are healing with food, but we are also into enjoying our lives and finding pleasure in our food.  So here's the dilemma, how can we enjoy a delicious cookie treat now and then and still live an anti-inflammation sugar-free/gluten-free lifestyle?  Can it be done?

It's easy to find gluten-free cookies everywhere.  However, if you're on a sugar-free diet or simply minimizing your sugar consumption, there are almost no store-purchased possibilities for gluten-free sugar-free cookies.  Sometimes eating sugar-free requires a little cooking at home and cookies are just one of those categories where you pretty much have to make them yourself.

There are some paleo cookie options around, but most of them use honey as a sweetener.  Honey is okay for paleo purposes.  However, if you're diabetic or fighting Candida, you might not want to use it.  You may also find agave sweetened snacks in health food stores, but agave is not an option at all if you're avoiding sugar.  Agave goes right into your bloodstream just like sugar does and messes with your insulin levels.

Sugar is an inflammation causing agent, so if you're suffering from any of the diseases caused by inflammation, you'll want to avoid it.  Inflammation is a factor in all the auto-immune diseases, diabetes, heart disease, eczema/psoriasis, arthritis and many more (see below for an in-depth list).  In addition, many of us are watching our weight, hypoglycemic, diabetic or fighting Candida, conditions where sugar consumption is problematic at the very least.

So what are our options if we're craving cookies but avoiding sugar?  Coconut nectar is a sweetener we like to use at  It goes into the bloodstream slowly and is low on the glycemic index so it works great for diabetics and people who are working to lose weight.  Because it's made from coconut sap, it is not supportive of Candida.  We've found that we can stretch out the sweetening power of coconut nectar by adding a little stevia to it.  For some reason, the combination of the two seems to mimic the natural flavor of sugar more than either one alone.  Of course, there are some folks who just can't tolerate the flavor of stevia.  If you're one of those, you'll have to stick to coconut nectar alone.

By the way, we like Trader Joe's Stevia Extract.  It comes in a powdered form and has a similar texture to powdered sugar.  We prefer the texture and flavor of this brand to the others we've tried.

Palm sugar is another sweetener that can be used occasionally, but use it very sparingly.  Palm sugar is basically coconut sap that has been dehydrated and toasted.  It has a caramelized flavor just as brown sugar does, which makes it wonderful for certain recipes because it mimics the brown sugar taste and is great for sprinkling on the top of baked treats.  Palm sugar is higher on the glycemic index than coconut nectar, so use it in small quantities and only when you really need that brown sugar taste.

We thought it would be interesting to take a popular gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe from Babycakes and replace the sugar with Coconut Nectar and Stevia.  The cookies turned out great.

Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Babycakes NYC Chocolate Chip Cookies  (grain-free version, too)

1 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour
1 cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-free Baking Flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1 1/2 t xanthan gum
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 T stevia (Trader Joe's extract)
3/4 cups plus 2 T melted coconut oil or canola oil
2 T gluten free vanilla extract
6 T unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plus 2 T Coconut Nectar (made by Coconut Secret and available at Whole Foods and other health food stores)
1 cup gluten free chocolate chips or cocoa nibs *
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add in all liquid ingredients and mix well.   Stir in chocolate chips.   Using a self-releasing 1 1/2" scoop drop cookie dough onto a silpat covered baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are golden and firm.

Note:  If you prefer a texture more similar to Toll House cookies, leave out the oat flour and reduce the coconut nectar to 1/3 cup and the stevia to 2 T.  By the way, this does give you a totally grain free version, if you are on a grain free diet.

*Yes, we know...sigh...chocolate chips do contain sugar.  If you are okay with having a tiny bit of sugar, choose the brands Enjoy Life or Ghiradelli Bittersweet.  These have small amounts of sugar.  Of the two, we prefer Enjoy Life because they are soy free.  If you are a purist and want no sugar whatsoever in the recipe, replace the chips with cocoa nibs or make your own chocolate chips using cocoa butter, cocoa powder and coconut nectar (recipe available in our "Grain-Free Sugar Free Baking and Treats" cookbook.

This second recipe is absolutely scrumptious.  It started as a paleo cookie but we replaced the honey with Coconut Nectar and stevia.

Sugar-Free Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 cup almond butter
2/3 cup Coconut Nectar
1 egg whisked
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 T stevia, optional (Trader Joe's Stevia Extract)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Mega Chocolate Chunks
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put all ingredients except chocolate and nuts in a mixer and combine until thoroughly mixed.  Add chocolate and walnuts and stir until just combined.  Using a small self-releasing cookie scoop (1-1 1/4" diameter) drop small scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet covered with a silpat sheet. This dough melts into a flat cookie so leave space between each cookie for spreading.  Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden.  Let cool completely.

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