The Not So Annoying Gluten-Free Chia Seed Cookie
My good friend Roger sent me a recipe he had created for a Gluten-Free Chia seed cookie. He named it, “The Annoying Gluten-Free Chia Seed Cookie*”. It came with a Conditional Guarantee……. to yield a cookie that would have the perfect balance of texture, moisture, sweetness and visual appeal according to his exquisite taste and aesthetic. He also added a footnote that read, *Optional but necessary, the cookie should be served with a toothpick and floss to remove annoying Chia seeds that end up getting stuck between your teeth. He ended by stating that any alterations would void the guarantee if anyone felt the need to alter the recipe.
So what do you think I did? Yep, I just couldn’t leave it alone.
You know how every CVS or RiteAid has an aisle dedicated to the totally absurd? It’s filled with obscure and bizarre paraphernalia. Patent office rejects, cast offs from inventors looking for a handout from one or all of the Shark Tank investors and never got it. The same aisle houses romance novels and “seasonal” items which only last for one season. That aisle also offered last minute quirky gifts. And one of those gifts was the Chia Pet. I always wanted one because I was never allowed to have a live pet, so why not have a Chia Pet. It was also the first time I think I (or most people) ever heard of a Chia seed.
Now years later, this same seed has become a revered ancient Mayan and Aztec food staple with many nutritional qualities. According to an article written by Jane Lear on takepart.com entitled, Jane Says: Believe the Hype About Chia Seed Nutrition, the Chia seed is “A very rich source of ALA (plant-based) omega-3 fatty acids… Chia seeds also contain fiber, protein, antioxidants, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.” She goes on to explain that, “The hydrophilic seeds can absorb up to ten times their weight in water, and the gelling factor physically slows down the process by which our bodies convert soaked chia seeds’ carbs into simple sugars.” But enough of the nutritional attributes of the Chia seed. If you want to learn more, read the article @ http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/01/23/jane-says-believe-hype-about-chia-seeds.
My challenge was to make the cookie better. It wasn’t easy but this is what I did. I swapped out the butter in the recipe with applesauce to lower the fat. Then I added a small banana to boost up the flavor and moisture content. Since the seed hydrates and develops a gelatinous mass when it is in the presence of water I decided to replace the gluten-free flour with Almond flour for two reasons. First and foremost, I have found that most gluten-free flour recipes use Xanthan Gum to give the flour the elasticity gluten would in regular flour. This changes the texture and often makes the product gummy if too much is used. I was hoping that almond flour would not add an additional gumminess and would not absorb as much water either. This should make the cookie chewier and help it retain its moistness as well. The last thing I did was process the seeds in a coffee mill. This helps your body absorb the nutrients in the seed easier and also alleviates the need for serving them with toothpicks and dental floss.
I hope Roger agrees that this cookie is not as annoying and perhaps elevates his version to a more cookier cookie.
4 oz Apple sauce
1/2 cup Dark brown sugar
1 Small Banana (diced)
3/4 Almond Flour
1 tbs. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1 1/2 cups Old fashion oats
3 tbs. Organic Chia seeds
1/2 cup Craisins
3/4 cup Walnut pieces
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F
In a coffee mill, grind the chia seeds.
Cream together the sugar and apple sauce in mixing bowl using a paddle attachment.
Mix in the ground chia seeds and let it sit for a few minutes to hydrate.
Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated
Add the vanilla and banana. Mix until incorporated
In a small bowl, combine the Almond flour and baking soda then add it to the batter in small quantities until incorporated.
Mix in the oats, Craisins, and walnuts
Scoop onto parchment paper covered air cookie sheets and press down slightly with damp fingers
Bake for 20 minutes on the middle oven rack turning once half-way through the cooking time
Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack
Cool for 1 hour then transfer to an airtight container. Store them in the refrigerator if you are going to savor them for more than a couple of days.