If you told me five years ago that one day I would be spending most of my waking hours developing recipes and cooking in the kitchen, I would have thought you were out of your mind.
And if in addition to that, you also told me that I’d be focusing on gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free cooking, I would have told you straight up that you were bat-shit crazy.
Yet today, to my own amazement, that’s pretty much what’s going on. My life has evolved so much in the past few years, and I now pass most of my time thinking of and testing new recipes, trying to get the formula right.
In my previous post, I told you about Juan being diagnosed with several food allergies, among which include allergies to dairy and eggs.
You can imagine that since we found out about the allergies (on top of him being Celiac), we’ve been trying to figure out what he can actually eat – since most store-bought foods have some ingredient containing a variation of eggs or dairy. It’s really quite impossible to actually find a pack of cookies that does not contain either allergen, and to be honest, it has been very difficult.
It’s probably much more frustrating for Juan, who starts sneezing or having a skin breakout the moment he eats anything he’s allergic too. But it’s also frustrating for me, because there are times when I don’t know what else to cook that won’t result in a sneezing fit or rashes on his skin. Or other times when I’ve just spent an hour working on an egg-free and dairy-free recipe whose end product comes out totally awful.
I try my best to focus on the positive when those things happen. I take it as a learning experience (one with a very steep learning curve), but I figured that practice probably makes perfect, and as we learned in Economics, there’s the law of large numbers. So that means that if I consistently test out new recipes, and keep working on tweaking them until I get the results that I want, we might just be able to figure our way out of this egg-free/dairy-free/gluten-free maze.
In the last two weeks of working with egg replacements, I think I’m beginning to get the hang of baking egg-free. There’s still a long long way to go of course, I’m just scraping the tip of the egg-free iceberg.
I’ve decided that I prefer flax eggs to chia eggs (for the color), but still have yet to try gelatin eggs or chickpea eggs. If all these terms sound crazy foreign to you, don’t worry. Just a few weeks ago, I was equally lost and ignorant. Basically, these egg replacements are substitute for eggs. In some recipes that don’t require too many eggs, these egg replacements work just fine. If a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs for example, I’m not very sure how well these substitutes will work.
So let’s talk about my favorite egg replacement – flax eggs.
Flax eggs are really simple to make. For each flax egg (which replaces a normal egg), you’ll need one tablespoon of flaxseed meal and three tablespoons of water. Mix the flaxseed meal and water together and let the mixture chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. And…ta-dah! You’ve got a flax egg ready to go!
(I promise I’ll write a more detailed post on flax eggs soon.)
Today, the highlight is this batch of gluten hazelnut cookies, a result of my latest egg-free and dairy-free kitchen experiments. They’re so easy to make, and are ready in less than 45 minutes from start to finish. I love the hint of hazelnut in these cookies; they’re just the perfect amount and makes the cookies feel so incredibly luxurious.
Here’s how you make them! Start off by preparing the flax egg like I mentioned earlier. Combine the flaxseed meal with water in a small bowl, mix well and then set to chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Once the flax egg is done chilling, you will see a sticky egg-like substitute.
Next, place corn flour, tapioca starch and salt in a medium bowl, and mix well to combine. In a large bowl, beat the softened coconut oil with sugar until fluffy, before adding in the flax egg, almond milk and vanilla extract, then whisk until combined.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well until you get a homogeneous dough (the dough will be thick but moist). Fold in the chopped hazelnuts until they are evenly distributed. Now wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes until the dough is firm.
As the dough is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Once the dough is done chilling, scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons and form balls by rolling dough between your palms (I got 12 balls).
Place the balls of dough in a single layer 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet and use your fingers to flatten them down slightly. Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes until cookies are set, then all that’s left to do is wait for them to cool before devouring them!
I was so anxious to try them I burnt my fingers and tongue, but these cookies? They’re totally the bomb.
And if you need anything else to convince you of how good they are, they passed Juan’s taste test with flying colors (he can be pretty picky sometimes, but shhh, let’s just keep it between you and me alright?).
Now as you’re enjoying these cookies, I’m heading back to the kitchen to work on other egg-free and gluten-free recipes! Will be back soon with more recipes to share!
p.s. watch out for my flax egg tutorial (will be up on the blog in the next few days)!
- Prepare the flax egg by combining flaxseed meal with water in a small bowl. Mix well and set in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, place the corn flour, tapioca starch and salt and mix well to combine.
- In a large bowl, beat the softened coconut oil with sugar until fluffy.
- Add in the flax egg, almond milk and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well until you get a homogeneous dough.
- Gently fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes until firm.
- While dough is chilling, pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (180 deg. Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat
- Once dough is firm, scoop dough by heaping tablespoon and roll dough between your palms to form balls (you should be able to get 12 balls of dough from the recipe).
- Place balls of dough 2 inches apart in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, then use your fingers to flatten the balls slightly.
- Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes until set, then let cool before removing from pan and serving.