“Fabulously Free” – creative cooking!

Ondine Barry has been living gluten, sugar and dairy free since January 2014. In this edition of “Fabulously Free”, Ondine tells us how her new eating choices have made her more creative than ever in the kitchen.

I have found that since going gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free I have become much happier in the kitchen, and much more creative. Eating like this forces you to rethink the traditional ways of cooking.

Sure you could simply buy a gluten-free pizza base, but why not try making cauliflower-crust pizza instead? It’s an exciting time for foodies right now.

I love trying new recipes every week and most are very good, especially with a bit if tweaking, but this one for vegan chocolate chip cookies takes the proverbial biscuit. It’s moist, chewy, sweet and good for you to boot. I made a batch for my husband who polished them off in two days and has been asking for more ever since.

Before divulging the recipe, let’s just look at the ingredients list in a packet of Waitrose milk chocolate chip cookies: Wheat flour, milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier soya lecithin, flavouring vanilla), butter, chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier soya lecithin, flavouring vanilla), sugar, salt.

And now look at the list below. Brilliant.

Sunflower Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies

o 2 cups sunflower seeds (optional: lightly toasted)
o ¼ cup maple syrup
o ¼ cup homemade sugar-free chocolate chips (or dairy-free dark chocolate)
o 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
o ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
o ¼ tsp baking powder

If you have a good food processor, turning the sunflower seeds into sunflower seed butter will only take 5-10 minutes (if you have a Vitamix then it should only take about one!) If you do not have a good food processor, you’ll probably need to use 1 ½ cups of sunflower seed butter (Meridian makes a lovely one).

Start by toasting your seeds for just a few minutes in the oven. When cooled, whiz them up in your food processor, scrapping down the mixture every few minutes.

Sunflower seeds turning into a spread!

Sunflower seeds turning into a spread!

Once you’ve got your seeds into a lovely smooth butter, whiz them up again in the food processor with all the other ingredients except for the chocolate. The batter should be a beautifully thick concoction but add in a TB of water if it needs to be a bit more pliable. Give it a taste to make sure you’re happy with the sweetness and add another tsp or two of maple syrup if not.

Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool and then add in the chocolate chips. Mix them gently in and then, using a large spoon, divvy up the batter into about 8-10 cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 10 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.

Let them cool before attempting to lift them off the paper – they’ll firm up nicely when cooled, and are delicious!

Note: I made them also using raw cashews instead of sunflower seeds and they were fabulous and chewy, possibly better…

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The author:

Ondine is a passionate fan of gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free eating and writes our Fabulously Free blog