16 November 2014 by thaliakr
Delicious, easy, fast, frugal, healthyish, and friendly to your special-diet friends: these may be the only chocolate-chip cookies you ever need to make!
This really, truly isn’t a recipe blog, and I have no special expertise, but I got so excited about these biscuits I had to write about it somewhere.
Frank posted this recipe on Facebook a few days ago and, ahem, our household pretty much ate them instead of dinner. Or for dinner. We had some carrot sticks too, if that makes it sound better…
Did I mention they are DELICIOUS?
Food allergies continue to be on the rise, with more than one in ten infants in New Zealand suffering from them. It is such an act of kindness and hospitality to provide food for people with allergies that they can safely and confidently eat. And if it’s something that everyone else loves too, then everyone’s a winner.
The eight major food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, seafood, wheat, soy, dairy and eggs. These biscuits contain none of those things.
They’re based on oats, which means that people who are severely intolerant to gluten (different from an allergy, but still a big deal for sufferers) might not eat them, but many gluten-free people can tolerate oats, so would also be fine with these.
If you have friends who are gluten-free, just ask them if they eat oats. Cross-contamination is usually the reason some people don’t (oats and wheat are routinely planted near each other), and it is possible in most centres to source guaranteed uncontaminated oats, so that may also be an option.
This seems to be a pretty forgiving recipe in terms of substituting other ingredients. Frank and I have both freely messed with it with good results.
You can use any milk you like (or probably any liquid): dairy, soy, oat, almond, rice, coconut (mm, coconut would be delicious!) to accommodate whoever’s going to eat this batch.
They’re called chocolate-chip biscuits/cookies, but you could put any little treat in them. For the severely dairy-allergic member of our family I have made them with chopped dates or apricots instead of chocolate, as it’s very hard to find uncontaminated chocolate. He pronounces them delicious, too.
I’ve made them once with a combo of brown and white sugar as per the original recipe, and once just with muscovado – unrefined cane sugar (from Trade Aid). I think any sweetener you usually bake with would be just fine – and I’d love to hear your variations, especially sugar-free ones.
They’re also low-fat and relatively low-sugar (for biscuits!). If people more expert than me can provide sugar substitute options, I think they could be sugar-free/fructose-free too (depending, of course, on what kind of chocolate or other treat you incorporate.)
Recipe: Allergy-friendly chocolate chip cookies
The original recipe, from the clever Chocolate Covered Katie was for a tiny batch of about 10 cookies. I couldn’t see the point in that! So I quadrupled the recipe the first time, and then doubled it again the second time, and played around with the ingredients a little bit.
Here’s what I’m going with from now on, subject to endless future variations. First a shorthand version to refer to, then a full version with notes.
Best-ever allergy-friendly chocolate chip cookies
Mix these ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped and mixed:
- 6 cups oats (wholegrain, quick-cook, whatever)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon salt (I used coarse sea salt and found it particularly yummy, giving a lovely salt/sweet combination)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (or whatever sweetener you want to use – I used fairtrade muscovado)
Then add the liquid, either in the food processor still, or in a bowl:
- 1/2 cup oil (or melted butter/spread/other fat)
- Between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of any milk (I used soy). Start with just 1/2 cup and add a splash more when you’re making the balls if necessary. More about the texture below.
- (You could also add vanilla essence, cinnamon or other spices, and anything else you hanker after.)
Then add the chocolate chips or whatever else you are using:
- Around 200g fairtrade chocolate chips (or chopped nuts or fruit or anything you like – and they would even be great with nothing added). I chopped up a block of Trade Aid dark chocolate.
The mixture will be surprisingly crumbly – that’s ok, it will compact when you mould it into balls. If you want to add more liquid so the dough is more like you’re used to for other recipes, go right ahead – you’ll just get a flatter version that tastes just as good. Once cooked, they end up a bit crumbly, but not problematically so, so I’m keeping with the original proportions and texture myself.
With wet hands, form the mixture into whatever kind of cookie you like. For small ones, I got about a heaped dessertspoon of crumbly dough and moulded it into a ball. I didn’t risk pressing the balls down with a fork as I normally would, because of the crumbly texture, so they came out fairly round and high, which is fine by me.
Bake at 180 degrees Celcius (375 degrees Fahrenheit) for an initial period of 6 minutes (honest!). You just want them to brown a little – or go however you like them. Keep them in for another 2 minutes at a time if they’re not ready.
EAT THEM ALL.
Oh, I mean, let them cool, eat some, and invite your friends with food allergies over for afternoon tea.
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And if you’re in the market for surprisingly healthy treats, do check out some other recipes I’ve raved about: