Memories of Cookies
When my niece and nephew (now in their 30s) were kids, my mom would make their favorite kinds of cookies and leave them in containers outside their front door. They were ecstatic when they arrived home from school to find cookies on their front step. That was a memory that they still talk about today with smiles on their faces and the excitement of children in their voices. A number of years ago I decided that I would revive this childhood memory. I decided to make a container of cookies for each of them as a Christmas gift. The “gift” included six kinds of cookies. The joy and gratitude were heart-warming. After that first year a new tradition was born.
Culinary Nutrition Approved Cookies
Good traditions have to continue, so after studying culinary nutrition it was obvious that I would have to revise some old favorites. Culinary nutrition approved cookies were in order. I would need to make changes to increase the nutritional value and reduce the inflammatory potential of some old favourites. Gluten free gingerbread cookies became one of the first cookie revisions last year. These cookies still have that warm, spicy taste of cinnamon, cloves and ginger, with the subtle undertone of molasses. What they don’t have is vegetable shortening or canola oil. Both of these oils are highly processed and genetically modified. These cookies also don’t have butter, which can increase inflammation and cause digestive problems in people who are lactose intolerant. I used coconut oil and ghee instead. Ghee is lactose-free, so is fine for folks who cannot consume butter because of lactose intolerance. If you don’t like the taste of ghee, you can replace it with additional coconut oil. I replaced white and brown sugar with coconut or maple sugar. There is no wheat flour in this recipe. For anyone with a gluten intolerance, this recipe is for you.
Gluten Free Baking
Gluten-free baking is a bit of a science experiment with each new recipe creation. There is no one kind of gluten free flour that replaces wheat flour, and each kind of flour has specific properties. Almond flour can be substituted for grain-based flour at 1:1 in some cases, but not all. When using coconut flour exclusively, ¼ cup to ⅓ cup replaces 1 cup of grain flour, and extra eggs are required (4 eggs to every 1 cup of coconut flour).
Arrowroot flour (also called arrowroot powder or arrowroot flour) helps to provide a lighter texture in gluten free baking that can otherwise be too dense or heavy. When baking with almond flour, and especially coconut flour, you’ll usually find that recipes also call for arrowroot flour to lighten the texture.
Using brown rice flour alone as a replacement for wheat flour results in a sticky dough. Brown rice flour is heavier than coconut flour but provides body to a blend of gluten free flours.
For best results, gluten free baking usually requires a blend of flours, each with unique properties. The process of creating gluten free requires some trial and error and, like all science experiments, a notebook to record your observations and results. Lucky for you, I’ve done the work and figured out the balance of ingredients to make these gluten free gingerbread cookies just right. All you have to do is bake them and enjoy.
- ¼ cup ghee
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup coconut or maple sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup brown rice
- 1 cup arrowroot flour + more for rolling out dough
- ¾ cup coconut flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cloves
- 1 ½ tsp ginger
- Cream ghee, coconut oil and coconut or maple sugar together. Beat in eggs and molasses.
- In a separate bowl sift all dry ingredients together. Add to wet ingredients and mix well. Form dough into two round discs. Wrap or put in storage containers and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Sprinkle parchment paper with arrowroot starch. Place a second piece of parchment on top of dough and roll out ¼ inch thick. Cut out circles or other shapes using cookie cutter.
- Place on ungreased baking sheet at 325° for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies.