Monday, February 24, 2014

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies--gluten-free, dairy-free & egg-free!

My poor husband has been off gluten, dairy and eggs for six weeks as we try to pin down a mild mystery allergy. This means he doesn't get to enjoy things like bread or butter or ice cream. We've found a few alternatives--dairy-free butter flavoring for popcorn, and coconut milk ice cream (no bread yet, though--everything gluten-free seems to have eggs or dairy :\ ). But one bright spot?



These babies.

I came across this recipe on Pinterest the week my husband was starting his diet. The recipe was already gluten- and dairy-free, so all I had to do was find a replacement for that one pesky egg. The comments on the original post supplied a suggestion: a flax egg.

I had flax seeds and flax seed meal on hand from other baking experiments, and because I make a moisturizing hair gel from flax seeds in the winter. I searched out how to make a flax egg, but as usual, I did my own Wayward thing in the end.  

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!
Gluten free, dairy free & egg free

  • 1 Tbsp flax seed meal (you can grind flax seed in a clean coffee grinder, or we use Bob's Red Mill Organic)
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 c peanut butter (I've only tried this with commercial smooth peanut butter)
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract (you can use twice as much, really, but if you're planning to eat the dough raw, the alcohol leaves a stronger flavor. You might omit it entirely.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c dairy-free chocolate chips*

1. Make the flax egg: pour flax seed meal into a small bowl. Add water. Stir until combined.
Now you have three options:
  • My flax seed meal package says to let it sit two minutes, but that's probably not going to give you an egg-like result
  • I found these instructions telling you to refrigerate the egg for 15 minutes. That didn't give me an egg-like result, and then I read that it could take up to an hour. (The dough was supposed to chill 2 more hours and we wanted cookies NOW.)
  • At this point, I fell back on my flax seed gel experience (and a comment on the above post) and made a new flax egg and microwaved it. I cooked it for 30 seconds, stirred well, and cooked for 30 more seconds. Stir it well to cool it off before adding to the recipe. (Room temperature or slightly warmer is okay.)
 Your goal is to make a gel with the flax seed meal about the consistency of egg whites. There will be little bits of flax seed in it, and they're about as noticeable as the bits of wheat in a graham cracker: not very.

2. Once your flax egg is ready, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, flax egg, and vanilla. The original recipe says to mix these until thoroughly combined, five minutes. I've made them three times and it hasn't taken nearly that long (and there's a caution to overmixing: the oils might separate out. Yuck.). If you're using a mixer and you're cooking for someone with an actual gluten allergy, please use caution. You never know if flour (gluten) from previous recipes could be in the mechanism and end up in your dough. I got a new hand mixer for Christmas, and it's been our dedicated gluten-free mixer.

3. Add baking soda and mix.

4. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

5. The original recipe mandates that you must chill the cookies for two hours before shaping into balls and baking, or they will spread. I don't know if it's the flax egg or the altitude, but compare our test cookies:
Chilled (left) and unchilled (right) dough

If anything, they could use a little more spreading!

However, if you want to chill your dough and don't want to wait 2 hours, this is the recipe I tested the chilling dough fast trick on.

Using a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet, bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes, or until just barely set. Cool on the pan until set. Enjoy!


*We've used two kinds of chocolate chips for these. Ghirardelli Chocolate Semi-Sweet Baking Chips are processed on dairy-shared equipment (but given the mildness of my husband's allergy, and the fact that he works in manufacturing and knows what kind of procedures they must do to clean the equipment, he decided he was okay with that). The other was Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, which are free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, and half a dozen other things you shouldn't find in chocolate chips anyway. Store brand semi-sweet chips are sometimes dairy-free (or shared equipment) as well.

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