[Jump to the recipe by clicking here]
[Jump to my fodmap diet update by clicking here]
I am obsessed with almond flavored baked goods. If I had to pick only one pastry/baked good to eat for the rest of my life it would probably be an almond croissant. But right now I am not eating wheat grains or lactose which means I can’t splurge on one for days like Valentine’s Day where I used to celebrate with fun treats. As a result I decided to come up with something else to try and fulfill this desire. (Note: I am not actually eating sugar in baked goods right now so other than tasting this recipe I don’t really eat the cookies. Mr. Physics however was an amazing additional taste tester.)
My Veganized Holiday Nutmeg Cookie recipe is already vegan, and thus lactose free, so I used it as my starting point for coming up with a recipe. The first thing I did was make it gluten free by using coconut flour and almond meal rather than regular flour. This was perfect since it gave my almond flavored cookie I had been desiring! Except…the first batch of cookies was super crumbly and fairly one note (they actually got much better 2 days later…but who ever heard of a cookie recipe where you let the cookies rest for two days…). The Holiday Nutmeg Cookies were so crunchy and perfect. It is amazing how much changing one ingredient makes a difference. I decided to try glazing them with coconut milk and powdered sugar to make them better…but that didn’t seem to help. Finally after two more attempts I decided, screw it, I would try something different.
Rather than going crunchy, I went for something more fluffy and chewy. I normally am not a fan of fluffy cookies but I could eat these all day. The almond meal combined with the fluffiness works really well.
A few notes on this recipe right away:
- This was also my first time working with chia seeds as an egg replacement. I read a lot of different suggestions online on how to do this but was limited in a few ways. First, I did not have something sufficient to grinding the chia seeds as many suggested. As a result I added just enough water to make a paste of whole seeds. I kind of like seeing the seeds, it reminds me of poppy seeds. Grinding the seeds might make this recipe a little more dense as it will even them out more but I haven’t tested it yet.
- These cookies are technically a low fodmap food but keep three things in mind:
- Almond meal is low fodmap in moderation. You shouldn’t eat a lot of it. Recent research seems to suggest that under ¼ cup is fine a day. This recipe uses ½ so just don’t eat half of the cookies in one day ok1I read a lot about almond meal and coconut flour to try and figure out how much you can eat. In the end everything I read seemed to point back to the Monash University App. I wish I knew where exactly they got their information from to read the articles myself. It seems like they have a lot of their own researchers. You can download their app along with a lot of other apps (see superscript 2) that can help with the diet. I did not during my 6 week restriction phase. Instead I just remembered the foods that I could eat and stuck to those ingredients most of the time (rice, kale, peppers, carrots, corn, meats, certain cheeses, etc) because 1. I am cheap and didn’t want to buy an app and 2. I like the challenge of coming up with fun new fodmap friendly things I can eat using the same set of ingredients.
- There is not a lot of information out there on coconut flour. Coconut in general is fine on the diet but just be aware that this could change as more research comes out. At only ¼ cup for the whole recipe it is probably ok, just don’t eat the full batch in one day ok 😉.2A Little Bit Yummy has a great write up about coconut flour that you should read if you are concerned. She links back to Fodmap Friendly which is another option for apps you could try. This app seems to mark products as fodmap friendly and again I can’t really find any information from where they get their research from. In the end use the app at your own choice and discretion. Click the 1 superscript above to read about another app and why I didn’t use any.
- Chia seeds also fall in this category. Eat them only if you know they are ok for you. They were on the list I used as food that was ok to eat and never removed them and never had an issue, though I never ate more than a couple tablespoons a day.
Makes 16 small cookies.
3 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
½ cup coconut cream*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chia seeds in 3 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup almond meal
- At least 15 minutes before you are ready to make the cookies, combine chia seeds and water in a small jar. Stir and set aside. Stir again a few times before you get to step 4.
- Preheat over to 350° F. Prepare two parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheets.
- Combine coconut oil and sugar in a mixer. Beat until creamed. This does not take very long with the coconut oil, I only cream about 2 minutes on medium in my Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer. A hand mixer works equally well. (If you want a lesson on why you need to make sure you don’t over cream see my Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe).
- Turn off mixer and add in vanilla extract, chia seeds, and salt. Turn mixer on the lowest setting and slightly mix (30 seconds).
- Add in coconut flour, almond meal, and baking soda. Mix until just incorporated. The dough should stick well together.
- In a separate bowl whip up coconut cream. It is fine if it doesn’t whip up much, mine was stubborn and didn’t. Then add to dough and mix until just incorporated.*
- Remove tablespoon sized chunks from the dough and roll in your hand. Place on the baking sheet and press down slightly.**
- Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes until sides begin to turn golden (mine took 18 and I am at 5000 feet). Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes on sheet then move to rack.
* You don’t really have to whip the coconut cream here. You can just fold it into the cookies to have time and clean up. I honestly could not tell a whole lot between whipped and non whipped cream since it has to be stirred in. You could also use full fat coconut milk instead.
**It might be easier to roll the dough into balls if you refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so. I did an experiment where I did half the batch right away without refrigeration and half with 30 minutes of refrigeration and I could not tell any real difference between the cookies. If you want them asap don’t refrigerate but you can also make them when you need them after leaving them in the fridge.
Now to the Week 4, 5, & 6 update!
Have I broken the diet in the past 3 weeks?
Yes. This time it was again the same culprits: beer and onion/garlic. I went out to eat 5 times over the past three weeks. I am proud that one of these times I actually managed to eat something without onion or garlic, the other two not so much. The meals followed low fodmap in every other way though.
We went to a beer release for our favorite local brewery, Powder Keg Brewing, on Saturday, February 18th. They were releasing Palisade Reunion, Batch 2. This is an american wild ale with peaches and it is SO FREAKING GOOD. They also had some other awesome offerings at the release: Coconut Telegraph – imperial stout with vanilla and coconut, Insomnium – Coffee Stout, and Keyboard Warrior – an experimental IPA. Oh man they crushed it and because of that I had more than the 1 beer that is allowed on the diet. I regret nothing.
What has been hard?
These last three weeks what was hard was not the diet for me but on Mr. Physics. He isn’t on the diet but it is drastically influencing what we eat. I have tried very hard to make things that are low fodmap friendly but more exciting and I think I have been doing a good job of it for the most part. What he misses however are things like pizza, ice cream, or ramen which we used to occasionally “splurge” on. He actually went out to get ice cream with a friend on the 5th Friday night because he missed having it. That worked out very nicely but in contrast we were in Denver one Wednesday afternoon for a talk but rather than having an awesome date night in the city…we drove home for leftovers that I could eat. He also has started cooking some of his own foods occasionally, like roasted brussels sprout, to change it up.
Overall this was probably the hardest thing during the 6 weeks. Yes, eating out was hard so I just cut it out. I don’t mind. It saves us money and I like cooking anyway. But that is a sacrifice that if I was one person is much easier to make. We are two people though, a couple, and we should function as one. Watching Mr. Physics have to come along for the ride with me because I make most of the meals and we usually eat out together was tough. I wanted to bring this up in case you did want to try this diet at the suggestion of your doctor. If you are in a relationship remember it will effect your partner too. Even if they are super supportive as Mr. Physics was, 6 weeks is a long time and there might be times the diet is not only taxing on you but them. (Of course if your significant other is as easy to please as mine you can buy them It’s-It’s and sourdough bread and they will be pretty darn happy 😄)
What has been easy?
At this point the living day to day on the diet. I have gotten into the groove now and my fridge and pantry are full of things that work.
What I learned…
I still need to be prepared. For the beer release I ate a great breakfast then went to help out at 11:30 am. I did not bring any snacks with me which was really dumb because I knew I would be there all day and into the late afternoon. I did not eat anything until 4 pm when I picked up some chips at a local super market…super healthy. I got super cranky by the end and this was entirely my fault. I learned that no matter how comfortable you might feel with a specific diet you still need to be prepared!
Overall the 6 week restriction phase has taught me that there are some things that I think do bother me, even though I don’t have any actual gut issues anymore with great consistency. But even with the mild issues I have, for those that have gut issues, you understand…I felt so consistently good and regular during this diet. I am glad that I did it and felt some results and I am very glad that I stuck with this for 6 weeks. Now the harder part (at least for me) of reintroduction begins.
My favorite things I made these 3 weeks…
- The cookies in this post! Granted I only ate one or two but Mr. Physics said they were awesome.
- Another granola experiment. This one was made with banana and coconut and was delicious! A little bit of granola in the morning feels like such a splurge enough though I made this granola and I know it has no sugar in it.
- Potato hash with a runny egg. I love this dish, we make it a lot when I haven’t thought of what I am making for dinner ahead of time. It is potato, kale, and some sort of meat in together with an egg on top. It is so easy. For this week I cut bacon into small strips and placed in the cast iron skillet. While the bacon was cooking I microwaved small cut potatoes with butter covered for 5 minutes. I then add the potatoes to the bacon in the skillet and cook until potatoes are the crunchy consistency I want. In another pan I put thinly chopped call and cook until done. Through the cooked kale into the potato pan then cook your eggs on the warm pan used to cook the kale. Dish out hash and put egg on top and done! The hash reheats the next day really well too.
Now I start the next hard step of re-introducing foods! I will blog about how this went when it happens.