Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Ridiculously Sweet Carob Cookies
A lot has happened since the last time I posted a recipe. Most relevant to the readers of this blog, I learned definitively that I do not have celiac disease, thanks to a panel of DNA blood tests that revealed I do not possess ANY of the genetic markers or subunits for celiac. The genes in question would have been located on the HLA class II-complex and are called DQ2 and DQ8 (plus their subunits).
The GI doctor that worked with me summed it up like this: "Given the results of your bloodwork, you have basically zero chance of developing celiac in your lifetime. You just don't have the genes for it." This, when backed up by the fact that my full celiac blood panel testing for antibodies had already been negative, was pretty conclusive. Said the GI doc, "Gluten is difficult to digest and you may be one of the many people for whom it causes irritable bowel symptoms, but you are definitely not a celiac."
With this information, my strict diet and lifestyle over the last three years came into question. I have spent the last several months meditating on my relationship with gluten and the gluten free diet... trying to figure out what feels best to my body, what I believe in, and what I should eat.
To be perfectly honest I have experimented and wheat doesn't taste very good to me any more. I've grown so accustomed to the flavors of tapioca, sorghum, rice, etc. that I have completely lost my palate for wheat. I just don't get the satisfaction out of a flour tortilla that I used to...
...so what I've come to so far, is that even if I *can* eat gluten without damaging my gut, I really don't like it all that much. I actually prefer the taste of gluten free food.
On top of which, my nearly three year old child is still suffering from chronic gut problems and I feel compelled to create dairy, soy and gluten-free meals for him every day. So cooking without gluten will remain a way of life, at least for now.
My husband and I made the hard choice last night to try to cut all cane sugar, maple sugar and fruit out of our son's diet (in addition to the dairy, soy and gluten) for the next two weeks until we can at last meet with a pediatric GI. Our child has an incredible sweet tooth, and this may be a key to his problems. So today, after wracking my brains (and the internet) to find a recipe for cookies that would be free of gluten, dairy, soy and sugar (but still somehow yummy!) I came upon a recipe by Elana's Pantry for her scrumptious Chocolate Chip Cookies.
We've heard good things about carob and its effects upon the tummy, so I decided to adapt her recipe and create some almond carob cookies. OMG!!! You cannot even believe how sweet and decadent these morsels turned out to be. My main thoughts on the recipe at this point are that the cookies don't hold together as well when they are undercooked but they burn if overcooked, so you have to hit that timing sweet spot just right... in our oven, it turned out to be 9 minutes. Also, I recommend cooling the cookies completely before removing them from the parchment paper, so that they hold together well.
Sugar lovers will NEVER believe that there is no cane sugar in these cookies... they are the sweetest things I have ever tasted. You should have seen the look of bliss on our boy's little face as he took the first bite. Unforgettable.
Ridiculously Sweet Carob Cookies
What You'll Need...
1/2 bag dry roasted & salted almonds, finely ground (or, 2.5 cups of almond flour)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (expeller pressed)
1/2 cup carob powder
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
parchment paper and a cookie sheet
How It Works...
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Using cuisinart or blender, grind your dry roasted salted almonds into a fine powder. Stop blending before the oil causes it to turn to almond butter. You can use a sifter if you want it to be finer. (Or, you may purchase blanched almond flour.)
In a large bowl, add 2.5 cups of almond flour to the agave nectar, grapeseed oil, vanilla and baking soda. Mix well. Finally, stir in the carob powder and mix for 60 seconds or longer to make sure all ingredients are well combined.
This dough will really spread on the sheet so using teaspoons drop small rounds onto your lined baking sheet leaving at least 1.5 inches space between each cookie. Our rounds were about 1 inch in diameter as dough, which formed cookies that were over three inches wide.
Bake for 8-10 minutes (in our oven, 9 seemed to work the best) until cookies are firm but not burned. Remove from oven and cool entire cookie sheet on rack until completely cool. Remove cookies when cool and enjoy! Just remember, a little goes a long way! These are the sweetest cookies I've ever eaten! They're also very light and soft.
Makes 18 - 24 cookies