I remember the last time we had peanut butter in our house growing up. Sitting on the tiled floor of our kitchen, I held the jar in my hands and I knew that this was something we had to do. Never again could we have any nuts (especially peanut butter) in our home. It was too dangerous, too much of a risk.
This came after a few incidents where my older sister had, by accident, consumed peanuts and had ended up with a severe allergic reaction. Her throat started to close, her breathing would become strained. The few (thankfully, very few) times that I've witnessed this, it's been terrifying.
Unlike my sister, I have no allergies to food (nor to animals). But knowing someone who is deathly allergic to such foods, I am typically more sensitive about this issue.
And there's a reason why I say typically. Just a few weeks ago, I attended my first gluten-free event. When I first heard that the Big Summer Potluck was going to be a gluten-free weekend, I had a moment of hesitation. Really, how could a weekend without bread or cake or cookies be fun? What the heck were we going to eat?
But as I met people over the course of the weekend, including the talented (and incredibly sweet) blogger, Shauna, of Gluten-Free Girl fame, who have Celiac disease, I thought more about why I was so anti-gf (that's gluten-free, by the way... not girlfriend). What it comes down to, I realized, is this: there are no other allergies out there, that I'm aware of, at least, that have also become a health craze. And this, I believe, is why it has taken me so long to understand the severity of Celiac disease. Naively, I've always looked at eating gluten-free foods as a fad... a form of the Atkins Diet. But it's funny how your views can change so quickly when you sit down and analyze the thought process behind them. And mine, after the Big Summer Potluck, certainly changed for the better.
I learned a lot over the course of that weekend. About myself, about other people, about the role that food plays in my life and, despite a lot of similarities, how very different that connection is for every one of us.
So, if you're like me and you've always been a bit skeptical of gluten-free cooking, I suggest you try these chocolate chip cookies made with chickpea flour. I can't begin to tell you how good these are. Trust me, they'll stump even the most die-hard cookie fan.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Food.com)
Note: I let the dough chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes before scooping it onto the baking sheet. If you do this, you can wait to preheat your oven until after you're done mixing the ingredients together.
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Mix chickpea flour, salt, soda, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. Drop by the tablespoon onto the baking sheet.
7. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes. These cookies will have to be a little darker than golden brown so that they will set and hold together. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.
8. Cool completely on a wire rack.