What’s brought me write this particular blog post was actually an assignment for school. Baking chocolate chip cookies for a Master’s in Nutrition program sounds like it’d be a bit counter-intuitive, but the assignment was to bake and work with a leavening agent. Naturally, I chose to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch., but these chocolate chip cookies are dairy-free and gluten-free so that adds a little something different to the typical recipe.
Just to show you how much I learned about leavening agents, allow me to drop some knowledge on you. The baking soda needed for this recipe will react with the acidic ingredients–brown sugar and dark chocolate chips–and cause a reaction that releases carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide that has been released causes the dough to rise and gives the cookies a more open interior structure. Cool right? You probably knew this already and that’s great, but it was all news to me.
So I rummaged through my cabinets to see what I had and I found everything necessary for some delicious gluten-free dark chocolate chip cookies that happen to be vegan as well.
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free & Vegan)
Ingredients (Makes about 10 small-medium sized cookies)
- Brown Rice flour (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
- Coconut flour (1/4 cup)
- Baking soda (1/2 tsp)
- Nondairy milk (1/2 cup; I used almond milk)
- Coconut oil (1/3 cup)
- Brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- Ener-G egg replacer (equivalent to 1 egg)
- Dark chocolate chips (amount based on preference; I used ¼ cup)
- Cacao nibs (1 Tbsp)
- Salt (2 tsp)
- Vanilla (1 ½ tsp)
- Cinnamon (1 tsp; optional)
- “Mise” your prep area as much as you can. This comes from “mise en place” and involves you getting all of your ingredients in place before you start anything. This allows you to see if you are missing anything and saves time when you are making or cooking other dishes.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Mix the flours, baking soda, egg replacer, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Add the dark chocolate chips and the cacao nibs into the bowl and mix.
- Add into the bowl the coconut oil, almond milk, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
- Form cookie dough balls and place on a pre-greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.
There you have it. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. They may or may not be guilt free, but they sure should be!
Go ahead and try them out for yourself. One of these would probably be great with your morning coffee or tea about 30 minutes before a run or a morning exercise routine.
These are cookies and that shouldn’t be forgotten, but let’s take some solace in the fact that these cookies have at least some health-promoting components to them.
First, let’s look at the cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are a good source of magnesium, an almost-panacea when it comes to health. Cacao is also a decent source of iron and it is rich in antioxidants which help manage free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress so our body can function optimally and hopefully without disease.
Second, we’ll take a brief look at the vanilla extract. Vanilla, with its oils and constituents such as vanillin, is known to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and, particularly because of its essential oils, is known to be soothing and great for skin and hair.
Next, the coconut oil. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids which are a great way to provide energy due to the quick absorption of these fatty acids by the body. Medium chain fatty acids also aid in and ease the absorption of nutrients so if someone is experiencing certain deficiencies or is low in certain nutrients, and can tolerate fat in their diet well, then consuming coconut oil might be a therapeutic consideration.
Last, but certainly not least, the cinnamon. Cinnamon…where to begin. As with anything that just seems so flawless, there are those that long to be the one to expose a flaw. Some would say that the jury is out, but I and most other botanical experts and natural medicine professionals continue to encourage cinnamon use for its antioxidant, heart-protective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune system-boosting abilities.