Well.. I have big news over here on NITK. This past Wednesday evening, at 11:20pm, our beautiful baby girl, Hemsley Ann Sczebel, came bursting into the world. We had to spend a couple of days in the hospital as she had a heart arrhythmia (which ended up resolving itself, praise God!), and now we are all happy at home relaxing, resting, and soaking in the newborn bliss. I posted a little about the birth and a photo of Hemsley on my Instagram page and will be sharing my birth story and experience so far very soon on the blog. In the meantime… another delicious recipe for you all:
I’ve mentioned a few times (…or maybe a lot) that sugar cravings were pretty strong for me during pregnancy. This was definitely odd as I wouldn’t say that I normally have an overly prominent sweet tooth, I’m really more of a salty gal. When I found myself constantly leaning towards cookies, cakes, donuts, and other carby sweet treats during pregnancy I was pretty surprised!
I also didn’t want to overindulge in sugary foods because I knew that at the end of the day it would be detrimental to my health, my growing babe’s health, and it would probably cause me to crave sugar even more. It’s not a myth that sugar is incredibly addictive, there’s been a lot of research into this area and it’s been proven that the more refined sugar we eat, the more we want.
So, during pregnancy I did a lot of experimenting with creating (and finding at the store!) unrefined, sweet treats that I could enjoy somewhat regularly to satisfy my cravings and also keep nutrition in check at the same time. A couple months back when my particular craving was cookies, I found this recipe for Oatmeal Cookies from the Gluten Free On A Shoestring blog and was practically drooling at the photos. I knew I’d have to give the recipe a go and of course add in a few NITK twists!
I knew I’d need to figure out how to make the cookies dairy-free (because of my allergy) and I wanted to cut down on the overall quantity of sugar, using only an unrefined lower-glycemic sugar option. The glycemic index ranks foods according to how much they raise blood-sugar levels. Foods with a high GI including refined sugar, cause a higher spike in blood sugars and are quickly metabolized. Not only do they make you hungry again sooner which can cause overeating, they also cause sugars to be stored as body fat rather than being used for energy much faster.
With a change here, a little change there, and a couple more adjustments, these super yummy, very chewy, soft, and perfectly sweet Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies were born! Using coconut palm sugar, which is naturally lower glycemic, I was able to keep the sugar effect down, and it also gave the cookies a darker appearance and more of a caramel taste. Using raisins instead of chocolate chips allowed me to bring in a little more fibre, natural sweetness, and up the chew-factor.
I always encourage others to play around with the recipes you find online. Even mine! There are so many recipes out there, and just because there might be one or two ingredients that don’t suit your fancy, or maybe you happen to be intolerant to, it doesn’t mean you can’t put your own twist on it. Experimenting with recipes over the years has really grown me as a “cook”, my overall confidence in the kitch, and my ability to “healthify” recipes.
While I do encourage experimenting, with these cookies you really don’t have to. They are tasty, healthified, free of gluten and dairy, and are seriously the perfect chewy cookie consistency! How do you experiment with recipes, particularly baking, to make them healthier or suit your needs? I’d love to read about in the comments below!
- ¾ cups gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- ⅔ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup coconut palm sugar
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon gluten-free rolled oats
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Soy Free Spread)
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (packed) raisins
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, add flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine.
- Next, add in the coconut palm sugar and the oats and whisk again to combine.
- In another bowl, add the vegan butter, egg, and vanilla, and mix slightly to whisk the egg with the butter.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir, mashing the butter in with the oat mixture, until everything is well combined and the batter is very thick.
- Fold in the raisins.
- Using slightly wet, clean hands, make golf-ball sized balls of the cookie batter and place on a large plate or baking sheet (that will fit into your freezer).
- Chill the cookie balls in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Once chilled, cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange the balls on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart (8 balls per pan).
- Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully (very carefully as the cookies will be soft!) using a spatula transfer each cookie to a cooling rack.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 10-15 minutes.
*Recipe adapted from Gluten Free on a Shoestring
Have a wonderful Sunday!