Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Everybody Needs a Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Now and Then...

If you are working to heal with foods, you may be on a gluten, dairy and sugar-free diet.  Some people have no problem restricting themselves like this.  However, there are those of us that go into extreme mourning at the thought of giving up birthday cake permanently.  What to do if you're one of those persons?

If you're working to reduce inflammation in your body, you may find, as some of us do, that you can mostly avoid sugar, gluten and dairy and keep yourself healthy.

So that brings us to an important question...can you have a cookie once in a while?

At NutritionScienceRx, we're working to find adaptations for your favorite foods that help you stay in your healing lifestyle.  We want you to enjoy your life and find pleasure in your meals.  If that means eating cookies, pasta, pizza and cake, then we are working hard to help you find healthy ways to do so.

Well, what if that cookie tasted much like a chocolate chip Toll House cookie, but it was low gluten and low sugar...   

We've come up with an adaptation to the American favorite, Toll House cookie recipe that tastes fabulous, but is not destructive to your healthy diet.  Our recipe uses einkorn flour.  Cooking with eikorn wheat flour is a good example of this mostly cutting back lifestyle.  Einkorn is much lower in gluten than regular wheat flour and many people who don't do well with gluten seem to be fine with it.  The only way you'll know for sure whether it's for you is if you try some and watch your body for inflammation symptoms.

Einkorn ancient wheat flour--higher protein and lower gluten than modern flour.
Just what is einkorn?  Einkorn is an ancient wheat grain.  Modern wheat has been hybridized over the years and bred with other grass strains.  The genetic changes this has created in modern wheat have significantly increased the gluten content.*  Unlike modern wheat, however, einkorn flour has remained lower in gluten content because it was never hybridized.  Einkorn flour also has a much higher protein content so it is much less likely to spike your insulin meaning it helps you keep diabetes and weight gain under control.  

Of course, if you're fighting inflammation, it's not just the wheat flour that's a challenge with cookies, it's also the sugar.  In this recipe, we've used coconut sugar and stevia as a substitute for regular sugar.
Coconut Crystals (also sometimes called coconut sugar or palm sugar)
Coconut crystals are made from the sap from coconut trees that has been concentrated into a thick syrup and then dried and toasted. Coconut crystals (also sometimes called coconut sugar or palm sugar) have a texture and taste very much like brown sugar.  In order to stretch out their sweetening power, we like to mix coconut sugar with stevia, a natural herb which the body does not treat like a sugar.  This keeps the overall "sugar" content of a recipe down as well as the insulin rise.

As for dairy vs. no dairy, this recipe uses butter, but we've found that grass fed organic butter is anti-inflammation because of its high omega-3 content.  So even if you're avoiding dairy, you might want to consider adding grass fed butter into your regular diet.  Yippee!!  Butter is good for you!  (In moderation, of course.)

So, here's our recipe for low-gluten, low-sugar Toll House cookies.  Just a heads up...the cookies are much darker than the Toll House recipe and they aren't exactly the same taste and texture, but they really are extremely yummy.  And let's face it, compared to the alternative of no Toll House cookies, any Toll House cookies are a really great option!

Toll House recipe with einkorn flour.  As good as the original.  

Einkorn Low Gluten, Low Sugar Toll House Cookies 

1 1/2 c einkorn flour
1 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's sells this)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 c or 2 sticks grass fed organic butter, brought just to room temperature
1/2 c coconut crystals
2 T stevia
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips--Enjoy Life brand has less sugar than other choices**
2 cups chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans

Stir together in a bowl the flour, almond meal, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of a mixmaster with a beater blade, add the butter, coconut crystals, stevia and vanilla.  Beat until combined. Add in the two eggs and continue beating until combined.  Add in the flour mixture slowly with the paddle going at slow speed.  .When mixture is fully combined, add in the chips and nuts.  Do not overbeat.
Use a 1 1/2 inch releasing scoop to drop dough onto a silpat covered cookie sheet.  Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 8- 9 minutes. Do not overcook or they will get very dark.  These cookies are naturally darker than Toll House because of the dark brown color of the coconut crystals.  Put cookies on a rack to cool.  These cookies freeze very well and can be eaten frozen for a delicious treat.

* By the way, einkorn's low gluten content can be even more decreased in baking bread if one uses sourdough culture which devours gluten in the leavening process.

**Reduce the quantity of chips to reduce the sugar content of the cookies.  Or you can make your own sugar free chocolate chips by melting unsweetened chocolate in a 2-1 ratio to Coconut Nectar.  Let the chocolate harden in the refrigerator and then chop into chunks.

For more information on einkorn wheat, go here.

By the way, if you find that the gluten in einkorn flour bothers you, there are other delicious grain free cookie recipes on this web-site under gluten-free.  We also have a cookbook coming out shortly called "Grain-free, Sugar-Free Baking and Treats" and it has many delicious tasty recipes for cookies and deserts.  

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