Creative Solutions for Grain Free Cooking
Grain free baking requires a good dose of creativity and courage. But trying to make grain free baked goods without allergens? That is a whole different ball game. The challenge has led me to some pretty unusual (and delicious) results like Butternut Squash Pizza Crust and Coconut Milk Cottage Cheese.
This recipe is no exception, and uses two unorthodox additions –gelatin and ground sunflower seeds–for a successful grain free, allergen free cookie!
Gelatin in Cookies?
Odd ingredient #1: gelatin. Here, gelatin (preferably grassfed) acts as an egg replacer to bind and thicken the cookies. It also provides a delightfully chewy texture–an elusive feature in grain free baked goods. When used for baking, gelatin requires a unique treatment including letting the batter sit before baking and letting the end product rest after baking to set the cookies.
Want an alternative to almond flour?
Those of you following a grain free diet (be it the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS Diet or Paleo/Primal diet) know that grain free baked goods often rely on almond flour. Unfortunately, almond flour won’t work for those with nut allergies or sensitivities. Additionally, this ingredient costs a pretty penny and adds up when a pancake recipe calls for two cups of almond flour per batch.
My solution? At first, I relied on coconut flour to make grain free baked goods. Recently, I discovered that ground sunflower seeds make an excellent–and affordable–alternative to nut flours. I now use Sun-Flour (soaked sunflower seed flour) in many recipes. See a step-by-step picture tutorial for Sun-Flour.
In this recipe, I give the measurement of whole sunflower seeds to be ground for flour. I also give the weight of the measurement in ounces in case you would like to substitute another nut/seed flour or already have ground Sun-Flour.
- 1 Tbs. grassfed gelatin
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tbs. unsweetened applesauce
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, preferably soaked and dehydrated (or .9 oz. by weight nut flour or Sun-Flour)
- 2 Tbs. coconut flour
- Scant 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Mix together the gelatin, coconut oil, applesauce and honey.
- Finely grind the sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder for 10-15 seconds, until you have a find powder. Don't over-grind or you will get sunbutter. Stir the ground sunflower seeds, coconut flour and ginger into the gelatin mixture and let sit for 10 minutes to firm up slightly.
- Before baking, stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Drop by generous teaspoons onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake until golden, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for a full 20 minutes (do not remove cookies from baking sheet until they have set). The cookies will be "gooey-er" while warm and chewier at room temperature. For best texture, enjoy within a few hours of baking.
Makes about 15 cookies and they are best enjoyed the day they are made (you can halve the recipe if you and your family can't eat 15 cookies in one day... but mine can!)
Are you challenged with making meals grain-free and allergen-free? Do you have any odd ingredients you rely on to make this work?