Monday, January 27, 2014

Low(er) Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?  As I've noted in the blog previously making treats for the boys (or myself for that matter) that don't taste like treats aren't any fun.  My experiments to date with totally grain-free and sugar-free baking have been less than (ahem) satisfying so here instead is a best-effort low(er) carb cookie!  A note about the ingredients first:

Einkorn flour - The one I use is a whole-grain flour meaning that it is not all refined starch (carbohydrate) and has additional protein and fiber.  The presence of the fiber (approximately 4-5X what is in "normal" all-purpose flour) helps mitigate the blood sugar impact of consuming the flour.  In addition, this particular flour is made from an ancient (i.e., non-hybridized, non-GMO'd) form of wheat that some believe may be healthier for you as well.

Hazelnut meal/flour - I really like the taste and texture of this nut meal versus some of the other nut and seed meals that are available (e.g., almond meal or flaxseed meal).  It doesn't seem to impart a bitter taste that some of these other meals can, though it tends to be a little more expensive than almond meal.

Semisweet chocolate chips - I've experimented with making my own non-sugar-sweetened chips as finding chips sweetened with erythritol or other sweeteners is both difficult and expensive.  So far, I haven't achieved a result that is worth sharing so for now I continue to use Nestle (or, for about 10% less carbohydrates) Ghiradelli semi-sweet chips.

Coconut oil and coconut sugar - Nice alternatives to butter and sugar with (some) additional nutritional benefits.

1 1/4 c whole-grain (Einkorn) flour
1 c hazelnut meal
1 tsp guar gum (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1 stick (8 TBSP) butter, unsalted
8 TBSP coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup sucralose
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the flour, nut meal, gum, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix together with a whisk.  Set aside.

In a separate (large) bowl Cream together the coconut oil, butter, and sweeteners.  Add the vanilla and one egg at a time gently mixing the ingredients together.

Take the flour mixture and gradually add it to the wet ingredients in the large bowl.  Once all of the flour mixture is incorporated add the chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Drop the cookie dough by spoonful onto a baking sheet.  NOTE:  The Einkorn flour has less gluten in it than conventional flour.  Plan for the cookies to spread more than typical cookies (see photos).  The guar gum will help the cookies retain more of their structure, but still plan on them spreading more than you are used to.  For my baking, I typically can fit 4 "conventional" chocolate chip cookies across one row of my 15" baking sheets.  For these cookies, I plan on fitting 3 in a row.

Bake 8-11 minutes.  The combination of the hazelnut meal and thinness of the spread-out cookie tends to make these bake faster.  Pay attention as you get close to 8 minutes as the cookies will likely be browned nicely already (the cookies shown here were baked to 8 minutes).

The cookies should have a nice, crisp texture along the outside edge with more of a softer, chewy texture toward the middle.  The combination of the Einkorn flour and hazelnut meal imparts a nice nutty, but not overpowering, flavor.

Lastly, prepare to start baking in double batches.  These things go fast!