Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gluten, Dairy and Soy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Blueberry Crumb Bars

Jill has been asking me for a long time to start baking more simple gluten, casein and soy free desserts that kids can enjoy, so this will be my little section dedicated to it. I am a pastry chef by trade, but I have never really baked allergen free so this is a learning experience for me. I have found that even the most common ingredients contain gluten, such as vanilla extract, which is made with alcohol and alcohol is made from wheat. Ingredients that I never suspected had gluten, do in fact have it, so I will have to be very diligent and check every single item in my pantry.

As many theories state, the human digestive system is our second brain, in the sense that it controls and builds our immune system and protects our brain from toxicity. Therefore, the treatment for autism is very linked to the protection and strengthening of the digestive system.

We believe that Connor most likely had a genetic predisposition to the autism disorder. However, when his young immune system was overloaded with toxic metals, his body could not react fast enough and became sick. The symptoms started shortly after.

This is why the rebuilding of his immune system through diet has been crucial and so effective. Behavioral therapies are necessary but most likely insufficient without the support of an allergen free diet, but this diet doesn't have to be boring and it is important to make it fun and kid friendly. So here are a couple of cookie recipes that everyone will be able to enjoy.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 oz non-hydrogenated shortening (palm oil)
4 oz organic brown sugar
2 oz organic milled sugar
1 organic egg
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
8 oz gluten free baking mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
5 oz gluten, dairy and soy free chocolate chips
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine sea salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening and the sugars until well combined. Add the vanilla extract and the egg. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all ingredients are well incorporated. Add the baking mix, the xanthan gum, the baking soda and the salt. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a log that is about 3 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in parchment paper and refrigerate it overnight. Cut the log into half an inch disks and bake them in a 350ºF oven for about 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown but the center is slightly soft.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Makes a 13 x 9 inch pan

3 cups gluten free oats
2 1/4 cups gluten free baking mix
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
8 oz non-hydrogenated shortnening (palm oil)

1 lb frozen or fresh organic blueberries
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs water

In a medium saucepan, mix the blueberries with the sugar and cook until the blueberries start to bubble. In the meantime, dissolve the cornstarch with the water and lemon juice. Add the cornstarch mixture to the bubbling blueberries and cook stirring constantly until it thickens. Pour the filling in a bowl and let it cool completely.

For the crust, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking mix, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Add half of the shortening and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingers or with a pastry cutter. Add the rest of the shortening and do the same. The shortening is soft and sticky that's why we want to work quickly. Don't work too much. We want a crumbly dough.

Take half of the crumble and press it onto the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Spread the cooled blueberry filling on top of this dough. Take the remaining half of the crumble and sprinkle it on top of the filling. Don't press it in because we want to keep it as a crumbly topping.

Bake in a 375F for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Let it cool completely before cutting it. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months.


Naomi Devlin said...

I wish you all the very best in your journey to heal your son. Just be careful with all that sugar - it is as damaging to the gut as gluten and casein and can wear the adrenals out too, something which autistic kids can suffer from.

I'll be following your recipes from Aran, even if I wouldn't eat them myself, they are guaranteed to be beautiful to look at!

x x x

pia said...

Hi Jill, I've stopped over from Aran's blog and am very happy to see your blog, this will be so helpful to others. I shall continue reading your blog now, but just wanted to say hi.

Jill said...

Thank you for your comments.

Naomi, I couldn't agree with you more. Sugar is not a friend to the healing process. I have also suffered from adrenal fatigue and know all about the struggle to heal that small but very important organ.

Aran is a pastry chef and her expertise is in making amazing sweets. Her contribution is going to be with the occasional treat. Connor gets these type of things very seldom, but it is important for me to not keep him from social events like partys and holidays.

I am so grateful for Aran for using her talents to make things even my family can have...and they taste great too!

Alexa said...

Hello Jill and Aran,

This blog is wonderful and your efforts for Connor are impressive.

Concerning the sugar issue, I have had excellent results using agave nectar instead of sugar. The liquid ratio does need to be adjusted in baking when you use it. However, it is so much gentler on our digestive system and blood sugar levels.

The recipes look delicious.
Aran-- when you say GF baking mix, do you mean just a plain GF flour mix (such as Bob's Red Mill) or something that also has rising agent already in it as well?

Aran said...

Hi Alexa- Yes the GF mix is an all purpose mix without leavening. I used Bob's Red Mill. I have used agave nectar in many recipes especially in breads and cakes, but for these cookies the sugar worked better. The agave made the dough spread a bit more and changed the texture. But thank you for your advice. I will definitely check with you when I have a question.

cindy* said...

i saw this on aran's blog and thought, wow what great friends they must be! i adore my friends and would do anything for them, but am lucky enough to be very near (for now) and cannot imagine what distance would do. i really admire what you are doing here.

Michele said...

Aran, these blueberry crumb bars look absolutely delicious!! I cannot wait to try them. We are very proud to have them included in this week's FoodieView Recipe Roundup. Thanks so much for sharing them with us!!!

Arlene said...

I cannot wait to try these recipes. I just started doing gluten free and its been quite an adventure. The cookies look wonderful. I just posted Gluten Free Coconut Pumpkin Pie on my blog and it turned out just delicious, especially the next day.
My Casa Bella

Debra said...

I worry about finding tasty gluten free recipes as gluten has been linked to autism and I prefer to just avoid it all together. I’ve tried tons of different recipes and expensive “organic foods” from the stores but I recently came across this website . Rose Cole who is the nutritionist behind the site puts up all these great gluten free recipes in her Holiday Cookbook that are easy and affordable. I think I’m actually looking forward to cooking on the holidays for once. Lol

Jane D. said...

I found this great site with loads of Dairy Free Holiday recipes. I recommended it to my sister who has an autistic child and she loves it. There is also a cool video on the bottom of the page where Rose Cole (founder) is making one of her recipes

Lori, TX said...

After one of my kids was diagnosed with Autism I have been trying to avoid dairy. I came across this site Rose Cole is a godsend! Her recipes are so simple and affordable and best off DELICIOUS! Also, there is a really cool free video at the bottom of the page, which is really helpful showing her preparing one of her recipes. Happy Holidays!