How do you feel about cooking for people with food restrictions? When I think about this issue, I realize just how complicated and nuanced it can be. My own feelings about it have changed many times over the years.
My folks have always been hardy souls and hearty eaters. Mom never believed in special diets and didn’t hide her disdain for people with sensitivities or allergies to certain foods. When I was a vegetarian in college, she thought that was pretty silly and unnecessary. When my first baby, Megan was terribly colicky, I was frantic. I read that it might be helpful to avoid gassy foods like broccoli or beans and to stay away from garlic and spices. Mom was horrified. She said, “You’re going to paint yourself into a smaller and smaller corner and never get out.” I could see her point, yet I was so desperate to make my baby feel better, I would have done anything! PS, Mom was right on that one, it didn’t matter what I ate, poor teeny Meg howled and howled and the only thing that helped was vacuuming while holding her upside down in the dark. Luckily, that phase was relatively brief!
For all the years my kids were growing up, feeding people with special food needs was interesting, but a little stressful. I have always been committed to preparing almost everything from scratch, so figuring out how to accommodate restrictions was often a lot of extra work.
So, I was concerned when Miriam told us she needed to stay away from gluten. Mimsy is “my other daughter.” She is Megan’s best friend. Mimadee, her parents and brother are our very dearest people; the kind of friends that are like family. When the girls were teens, Miriam spent a lot of time at our house. I always loved it when the house was full of teenagers, and I loved feeding them. So, I wanted to be able to whip up snacks and meals for everyone at a moment’s notice.
I realized that, like any challenge, cooking gluten free food simply requires a little skill acquisition and planning. I embraced the challenge and it became a pleasure rather than a source of stress. It didn’t take long for me to figure out how to make delicious gf meals and treats, things we choose to eat all the time even though we aren’t sensitive to gluten.
Developing this gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe was fun. I started working on it when my kids were in high school, and refined it when my grandnieces were diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Four year old Maggie loved them!
My preference is always to stay away from weird or processed ingredients. Or things that can only be used in one dish, things I think of as “culinary unitaskers.” So this recipe contains ingredients that are easy to find in any market and that you will be likely to keep in the pantry anyway. When I offered these side by side with my famous “Levain knockoff” cookies (yes, the recipe for those is coming soon, they are mad popular), the gf ones got rave reviews from the gluten sensitives and the omnivores alike.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
You can bake just as many of these as you are going to need at any time. I like to portion them onto a sheet pan and freeze them. When they are like little gluten free rocks, you can pop them into a zip top freezer bag and keep them until you need them. No need to thaw before baking, just use the longer end of the baking time range.
I use organic ingredients.
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into half-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
1 cup whole raw almonds
¾ cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 pkg bittersweet or milk chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
Pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor until finely ground.
Add butter, pulse until fully incorporated. Add egg and vanilla, process until combined. Dump into a bowl and mix in chips by hand.
Drop by generous tablespoons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Space them a couple of inches apart, they don’t spread too much. I like to use a portion scoop to make them mounded and even. Freeze or bake, or freeze some and bake some.
Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes, or until they just begin to get golden. Let cool for 5 min before you yell “cookies!”
Note: I baked these in the toaster oven in my basement because I have no kitchen now!
Post Script (pun intended): My beloved Miriam asked me a question on Facebook. Yes, I love all the ways we communicate these days! She asked if she can use her single serving nutri bullet as she doesn’t have a food processor. I’m not familiar with the nutri bullet, but I am happy to take a shot at it anyway.
Cut up the butter and let it come to room temp; also take the egg out of the fridge to take the chill off (it will blend more easily). Use the bullet to grind your almonds and oats. Then do the mixing by hand. The dough will be pretty soft, so you might want to chill it for a while before portioning. And the cookies will be better if you chill or freeze before baking, too.
If you try either method, make sure to let me know in comments!!