For those of you who have never tried to make gluten free cookies, I have to say, it isn’t the easiest task, especially when one is trying to replicate a favourite holiday treat. A few years ago, I came across this one recipe that is intended to be a paleo based recipe, but since I don’t follow that way of eating (or have all the ingredients it called for) I made some substitutions and voila! This recipe uses almond meal (aka almond flour) which gives the cookies a nutty flavour but also boosts the protein and fibre content as well as the calories, so beware!
Following a gluten free way of eating can be low in fibre, which isn’t the most ideal. By using nut and legume/pulse flours in baking/cooking, this can help boost the poor nutrient dense flours and help boost your intake! Who knew? Now, not all flours can be substituted 1:1 but if you are interested in starting to add some much needed fibre to your diet, take a look at the recipe for these cookies. I would also recommend checking out www.pulsecanada.com and www.lentils.org for some delicious baking recipes using pulses/legumes!!
Recipe (original recipe from www.fedandfit.com)
3 cups almond meal, sifted
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F
2 - Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
3 - In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together with a fork. Includes: almond meal, salt and baking soda
4 - Add the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts to the dry mixture and stir evenly
5 - In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together (honey, butter, vanilla extract and egg)
6 - Make a crater in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the whisked wet ingredients
7 - Stir the wet ingredients in the dry and until evenly mixed
8 - Using a 1 tablespoon scoop or a spoon, spoon out balls of the dough and align them on the baking sheet
9 - Use either the palm of your hand or the back of a greased spoon, press down the cookies as they will not expand much during baking
10 - Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
What are some of your favourite holiday treats?
1) Don’t restrict: Still enjoy those special Christmas foods that only come once a year because if you were to avoid everything you have a higher chance of over-indulging. Quick tip: leave the everyday “fun” foods alone, i.e. chips, chocolates; you can have them all year round.
2) Be aware of liquid calories: We don’t always realize that alcoholic beverages are full of empty calories. Did you know that one regular bottle of beer is about 150 calories or that one cup of Eggnog is close to 230 calories – without the rum? Quick tip: alternate between a drink high in calories with one that is low in calories, i.e. sparkling water.
3) Don’t leave home hungry! If you get to a party starving, you are more likely to overeat. Quick tip: plan to have a snack before you leave, i.e. fruit with nuts, veggies and dip or even a yogurt.
4) Watch your portion sizes: We eat with our eyes and whatever we take first, we take the most of. Quick tip: serve yourself the vegetables first! Then the protein and last the starch. And for desserts, use the smallest plates available.
5) Focus on positive self-talk before heading out: We don’t always think about this one, but it’s a biggie. Why? If you have the All-or-Nothing view point, you run the risk of feeling guilty after indulging; thinking that you have failed in some way, when in fact you haven’t. If this is you, I will ask you to tell yourself that it’s OK to indulge. This will not make or break you and it CAN definitely be part of a healthy lifestyle. Remember, it’s OK.
What are some of your best strategies?
I work as a Dietitian and definitely walk the talk. I love to cook and help people get back to being healthy again.