[Note: this recipe is now available in my cookbook, Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free, along with over 100 more refined sugar-free, gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free treats!]
[photo: Celine Saki]
When I first met the HH way back in 1997, he was dabbling in astrology. I don’t mean the kind of horoscopes you read in the daily newspaper or receive each morning on twitter. No, I mean the kind of astrology that involves a mega-detailed analysis such as casting a natal chart, consulting celestial connections, assessing trine relationships, checking the aspects of the sun, tabulating the temperature at 3:00 PM EST on Pluto, combing through the weekly sales flyer at Costco, etc.
Then, after he’d done all that, he proudly presented me with a 26-page printed document that outlined my basic personality traits, possible career moves, future inclinations, ideal love relationship, suggested pets, and so on. It had taken him almost three weeks of his free time in the evenings to analyze, study, measure and print the thing.
That’s when it hit me: this guy was a keeper.
One detail he was very fond of repeating was how our two signs (he: Scorpio of the Eagle phase; she: Libra ), were stacked up in a love relationship: the pairing was destined to be either perfectly compatible, a shimmering, calm and crystal-clear lake on a sunny day in July; or eternally on the verge of combustion, a stack of old newspapers perilously close to the fireplace. (Personally, I think we vacillate between the two).
In explaining the different elements of my horoscope, the HH also pointed out that, according to our respective dates, times, and places of birth, his sign was “destined” to be a “teacher” to my sign. Well, if you count teaching me the difference between a gigabyte and a terabyte; what blacklight power is; why a cartridge is superior to a needle; or the fact that Tazio Nuvolari once navigated his Alfa Romeo through an archway with less than an inch on each side of his car–at 100 miles per hour–then yes, he’s taught me a lot. But when it comes to things like expressing one’s emotions; returning phone calls; whether or not a specific occasion requires a card; or remembering to renew his passport so he can travel to Nourished in Chicago with me in April–well, let’s just say that I could teach the HH a few things as well.
Ah, yes. Back to the cookies.
At some point shortly after the Presentation of the Horoscope, I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies to thank my sweetie for his efforts. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? I’ve written before how I first began to bake them when I was a mere tot at my Aunt Yetta’s knee.
As you know, classic chocolate chip cookies come in myriad forms, sizes, thickenesses and textures. There are the “crispy-throughout” cookies, the “crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside” variety, or the deliberately underbaked, “chewy-throughout” style of chocolate chippers. And let’s not forget the “not-baked-at-all-raw-cookie-dough” version, which was for decades the type preferred by yours truly. (Once I went gluten free, I was devastated to discover that my raw cookie dough no longer held its former allure; I actually found it distasteful, the bean flours asserting themselves a little too strongly in the dough).
Back then my exclusive CC Cookie was my mother’s classic recipe, which had been in our family for eons. It represented my ideal: a perfect balance between brown and white sugar, with a little more butter than most other recipes to form a crisp, crunchy exterior and dense, soft and buttery interior studded with melty chocolate chips (not to mention a killer raw cookie dough). The HH, on the other hand, favored a cookie that was crispy throughout. He took a bite of one of my cookies and announced, “It’s good, but it sort of tastes like a ball of raw dough. Ugh.”
And at that moment, I wondered: IS this guy a keeper?
Over the years, I kept at it. And through it all, the HH wanted nothing more than President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies–crisp as a Toronto day in mid-January, from the first crumb to the very last morsel in your mouth.
Then I came across a recipe in Vegetarian Times that used oatmeal and walnuts plus several ingredients I don’t eat: canola oil (usually GMO), brown sugar (cane sugar) and chocolate bars (more cane sugar). I set about playing with the recipe. It took a few tries, but in the end, that recipe taught me a lot. I learned that the exact measurement of water is key. I learned that the combination of both coconut sugar and coconut nectar creates a synergy resulting in just the right balance of crispy exterior and chewy interior. I learned that psyllium husks are my new favorite binder. I learned so much that I began to wonder if the recipe creator might have been a Scorpio.
I offered the HH a cookie. He bit into it, chewed it enthusiastically, and helped himself to another (I think this “multiple dessert servings” business is getting to be a habit with that HH!). He even commented on the fact that they were “nice and chewy in the middle.” And then he added, “Yep, I think this one’s a keeper.”
Well, then! Seems the HH learned a thing or two from me as well, hmmm? 😉
“It’s a Keeper” Butterscotch-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Suitable for Anti-Candida Diet (ACD) Stage 3 and beyond
Just like the cookies grandma used to make. . . except with a whole lot more healthy ingredients. Many gluten free bakers are beginning to use psyllium in their baking as a replacement for xanthan gum. In this recipe, the psyllium is essential: I tried the recipe various ways with flax and/or chia, but the results were nowhere near as good.
1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut sugar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) water
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut nectar
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp (15 ml) nut oil or extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic (I used macadamia)
5-10 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste
1 cup (110 g) walnut pieces and halves, lightly toasted
1 cup (110 g) rolled oats
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lucuma powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
2 tsp (10 ml) psyllium husks
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened carob chips (or substitute chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, mix together the coconut sugar, water, coconut nectar, vanilla, oil and stevia; whisk to begin dissolving the coconut sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, process the oats until they resemble cornmeal. Add the nuts, lucuma, baking soda, baking powder, salt and psyllium and continue to process until it’s very fine and begins to stick together, moving round in a solid “wall” around the edges of the processor (the texture will be like a slightly moist sawdust at this point, and should still fall apart in a powder when you separate it with your fingers, NOT like a dough that sticks together).
Drizzle the wet mixture in a ring over the dry ingredients in the processor and process until it comes together in a dough. Lift the blade and scrape away any liquid that’s hiding under there, then return the blade and process again briefly to incorporate. Remove the blade and stir in the chips by hand. Do not process again.
Scoop the dough using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon and place in mounds on a cookie sheet. Use your wet palm or a silicone spatula to flatten the cookies to about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thickness. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until the edges are golden. Allow to cool before removing from the cookie sheets. Makes 12-15 cookies. May be frozen.
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