And (relatively) Low GI
These delicious biscuits are made with spelt flour and almond meal. They are not gluten free, but spelt – which our modern wheat was developed from – is significantly lower in gluten than wheat. Since I read that gluten is basically poison I have tried to reduce the general gluten intake of my family where I can.
Note that for someone who is gluten intolerant, ‘low gluten’ won’t cut it. But the fact is that gluten really isn’t good for any of us, particularly in the amounts we typically eat it in today, with grains – and especially high gluten wheat – forming such a large part of most Western diets.
I also use coconut palm sugar, which is much lower GI than cane sugar (around 35), not as highly refined (and therefore contains more nutrients and minerals), and has a lovely flavour. However, if you don’t have coconut palm sugar on hand, you can always just use brown sugar, the darker the better. Regarding the GI though – there is quite a lot of chocolate in these biscuits…
Ingredients (note: all measurements are metric)
- 125 g butter, melted (approx 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup white or caster sugar
- 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar, or you can substitute dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour
- 1/2 cup white spelt flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 100 g almond meal (approx 1, cup compressed)
- 150 g Fair Trade milk or semi-sweet chocolate*, chopped to about the size of chocolate chips (ideally)
- 100 g Fair Trade dark chocolate (semi-sweet or better, bitter sweet), chopped to chocolate chip size
- Preheat oven to 180C (approx 350F)
- In a small bowl, mix melted butter, both types of sugar, egg & vanilla essence in one bowl until thoroughly combined
- In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients, leaving out the chocolate.
- Add wet to dry, and mix thoroughly, stirring through chopped chocolate.
- On a 2 lightly greased baking trays (cookie sheets), drop balls of about a large walnut size (this will be easier if you have made the effort to chop the chocolate right down to chip size, but if, like me, you were too lazy and they are twice that big, it will still work).
- Bake for about 6 minute, until just turning brown. If they don’t look quite cooked, they are actually perfect. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet, before removing to a cooling rack using a spatula.
- When chopping chocolate, a good heavy chef’s knife is the ideal tool.
- If you use a very dark chocolate, like Green & Blacks 85% cocoa, make sure you do chop it quite small.
- To save time, you can always substitute some chocolate chips, though you do substitute quality this way, and in Australia I’ve yet to find a Fairtrade brand of chips.
- *Chocolate designations (milk, dark, bitter etc) seem to be widely different in different countries. You really can use whichever chocolates you like in this recipe, but because there is a lot of it, if you have too much milk chocolate it will be too sweet. Semi-sweet chocolate and bitter-sweet chocolate, in US English, are both just ‘dark’ chocolate in Australia, with % cocoa solids indicated. I like to use 150g of a mildly dark or semi-sweet chocolate, which in Australia might be around 50% cocoa solids, or less, and 100g bitter sweet, which might be 70-85%. But some milk chocolate is fine too.
You can vary this recipe with good results in a number of ways.
- To make Christmas spice cookies, leave out the chocolate, and add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp dried ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves. You can also add about 3/4 cup mixed dried fruit if you like.
- As stated above, you can use brown sugar instead of coconut palm sugar.
- You can use all wholemeal spelt flour, instead of some white flour, but if you do, add a little extra melted butter.
- You can, of course, use plain wheat flour instead of spelt flour, but then it probably won’t qualify as ‘low gluten’ (though using some almond meal instead of all wheat flour is still an improvement).
- You can vary the proportions of dark to milk chocolate, including using all dark chocolate. I recommend you don’t stint in this area – get a good quality chocolate. Using all dark chocolate will also reduce the sugar content (and overall GI).
- Try using 50 grams of an orange infused dark chocolate for a really decadent taste. This is my favourite variation 🙂
- You can also make larger cookies. Try using golf ball sized ball dough balls, and bake for 10 minutes or until they just start to brown around the edges.
*I know, I’m Australian and I say cookies.This sort of biscuit will always be cookies to me. It comes from watching too much Cookie Monster as a child. I mix it up though, just to confuse my children. 🙂