Summer is upon us. I'm sat here watching the rain lashing down outside and looking forward to hunkering down in the warmth for the morning and catching up on the endless to do list I've written out for myself. I took the boys to school this morning, got completely drenched (that moment when you realise your raincoat is lightly waterproof and does not withstand torrential rain and wind) and have re-emerged at home in my PJ's whilst my clothes take a spin in the dryer.
So as I'm sat here watching that rain lash down, I'm feeling pretty smug about having a batch of cookie dough in the fridge waiting to be baked. And nothing beats freshly baked cookies!! Even better, they're gluten free and dairy free :) I should probably give you a little background to these cookies and my quest for increasing my repertoire of free from recipes of late.
Those of you that follow my blog will know that my little boy had some allergy tests last year and we discovered that on the list of *try to avoid* foods were egg white, dairy, goat's cheese, almonds, pistachios and peas. I say *try to avoid* foods as he's not highly allergic to them and still has them in a controlled way, but we manage a diet around keeping his eczema in check. Now add to that a husband who suffers from psoriasis and shouldn't eat deadly nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, peppers), certain fruit (including oranges, strawberries) and should maintain a balance of acid | alkaline (20 | 80 ratio optimum) in his diet. This means working out (roughly) how acidic or alkaline our food is through food categories. And then there's two of us that can eat everything (as far as we know!) I have to admit that the different diet for everyone sometimes outfaces me. I used to think if we just pumped ourselves full of fruit and veg we could be healthier but that actually exacerbates my hubby's condition.
We've joined forums on Facebook, hit the pins on Pinterest and read up on blogs of fellow sufferers. What's clear to see is that there are people out there suffering so much more so it gives us reason to be thankful. But there are things we can investigate in our everyday diet to reduce the impact.
So currently hubby is dairy and gluten free. We've not gone completely plant-based (he's still having eggs and limited meat) but they might be the next steps. Exercise has become more of a focus. Salt baths are a regular on an evening. The boys will still eat their normal diet but when we all eat together, we're working as a team and enjoying daddy's diet. And they are my recipe taste testers for new sweet treats!
During this quest, one of the books we bought was Radiant from Hanna Sillitoe. She's a fellow psoriasis sufferer but through clean eating and a healthier diet, she was able to clear her skin. It's a radical diet change and she's taken it further than us, but it's given us inspiration to look at new ways of eating. We had her sweet potato rostis with poached eggs at the weekend and then one of the things that hubby's been craving is sweet treats so I thought I'd look at a batch of cookies for him.
Hanna's original recipe was for cranberry cookies but I decided to switch them up and make them mini chocolate chip cookies. My chocolate preference was Green & Black's dark chocolate (they changed their packaging a while back to say they may include traces of dairy as they make the milk chocolate in the same factory so if you can't risk any traces of dairy you should choose a vegan brand).
This recipe makes 26 tablespoon sized cookies studded with dark chocolate. Their texture is chewy and soft and does not have the snap of a biscuit but is more like an American cookie. The chewy texture comes from the (gluten free) oats, rice flour and almonds and there is also a hint of coconut (from the coconut oil and dessicated coconut) which I personally love (I think that might have something to do with being addicted to bounty bars when I was growing up!)
The cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven but they firm up once they cool down, although the chocolate stays gooey which can never be a bad thing as far as I'm concerned! Although the cranberries would clearly be a healthier option, sometimes you just have to treat yourself and when you radically change your diet and go cold turkey on the things you love, I think it's important to reward yourself through the process.
And of course, you don't have to suffer from allergies to eat more healthily. Speaking as someone that has to get into a bikini in less than two months, it's no bad thing to shed the carbs, drink a tonne of water and get running around the park!!
Enjoy your weekends and let's keep our fingers and toes crossed for a sunny one <3
mini chocolate chip cookies (gluten free & dairy free)
adapted from a recipe from Hanna Sillitoe's Radiant: recipes to heal your skin from within
makes 26 cookies
- 125ml melted coconut oil
- 1 large egg
- 45ml honey (I used orange blossom honey)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 100g rice flour
- 100g almond flour
- 50g gluten-free oats
- 25g dessicated coconut
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 85g dark chocolate chips (I use a bar of Green & Black's dark chocolate chopped up but you may prefer to choose vegan chocolate)
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- First put the wet ingredients (coconut oil, egg, honey and vanilla) into a mixer and beat until combined
- Put all the dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl (all the other ingredients except the chocolate chips)
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer with the wet ingredients and mix until combined
- Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients
- Give the mixture a good stir with a spatula to make sure everything is well incorporated
- Then stir through the chocolate
- Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper
- Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out a tablespoon of the cookie dough and place it on the baking tray
- Space them out so you have 12 cookies on the first tray and 14 on the second (leave a little space between them but they don't spread much during baking)
- Bake them for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown
- When the come out of the oven, they will still look soft but they will firm up as they cool down
- Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week - but chances of them surviving that long as slim to none!
- Enjoy them with a nice glass of almond milk :)