- 1/4 Cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 Cup butter (or alternative)*
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 5 Tbsp coconut flour
- 1/2 Cup of any of the following: powdered sugar, dark chocolate powder, cinnamon and sugar, melted chocolate etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix together sugar, salt, butter, vanilla and egg with and electric mixer.
- Add in coconut flour and stir well to eliminate clumps.
- Let stand for at least 1 minute. The dough should be stiff and only slightly tacky, like this:
- Roll into 1 inch balls and spread evenly on a greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden in colour. Do not over-bake as the bottoms will burn.
- Remove to cool on a wire rack.
- When cool, you can roll them in the coating of your choice or eat plain.
- Best enjoyed with a mug of tea or glass of milk.
- *For yummy cookies increase the butter to 1/3 Cup and follow all of the other steps. Watch as the balls 'melt' into chewy, shortbreadish cookies.
A few weeks ago, my oldest son broke my heart.
He had been trying his best for a little while to describe a food that he wanted from his gluten-y days of yore, “Mommy? Do you remember those round balls? You know, from when I was three? [everything prior to gluten free is when I was three] They were round balls and sometimes they were covered in chocolate? Can we have those, Mommy? Please?”
Well I was baffled. I listed off a number of chocolate covered candies but the two of us could not quite figure out how to understand each other. A few days later we were at a mall. At a mall with a Tim Horton’s. And he went bezerk: “MOMMY! I FOUND THE BALLS! THE ROUND BALLS THAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT! THE BALLS THAT YOU LIKE TO EAT WITH CHOCOLATE ON THEM!” So after embarrassedly looking about to see who might be privy to my son’s announcement that I enjoy my balls with chocolate on them, I realized that the longed for items were, in fact, Tim Bits.
This is what breaks me. The fact that my son feels left out or different. That I am somehow doing this to him instead of for him. It’s the guilt. It’s the guilt every time. Especially because, for him, there is no digestive reaction to gluten. This is a long-term health choice that my husband and I have made on his behalf. I know that I am not alone in this. That other ‘allergy parents’ experience this same gut-wrenching emotion when forced to deny their child a coveted treat viewed by the rest of the world as a typical and even required element of childhood.
I let him down as gently as I could, but as his look of ecstatic joy was replaced by resigned dejection, I made a rash declaration, “Hey there! Don’t worry, Turkey-butt. I will just make you some at home!” Ummmmm … what’s that now?
The initial reaction to finding out that you are heading into the uncharted territory that is gluten-free-land is usually something along the lines of ‘what the Fraggle Rock am I supposed to eat??’ And I get it. It is a crazy concept for those who are accustomed to eating a wheat-based diet. What do you do now? My transition was not so difficult as I was already making most of my baked goods from scratch anyway and trying to eat ‘whole food’ in general. I simply had to learn gluten and grain free substitutions for what regular wheat flour I was originally using. Some attempts at this succeeded, many failed. I also have a rockin’ awesome friend who is a strict Paleo so her advice was handy as well. Ultimately, you can turn to prepared gluten free foods but, although they are missing the key element of misery, they can still be full of other less-than-ideal choices and very expensive. You can also try to avoid gluten in regular products by becoming an ingredients label whiz but that can be daunting in and of itself, as gluten hides in so many forms. I love cooking and baking. I knew the cooking part would stay pretty much the same but the baking? And how to transition my oldest son who’s favourite foods were now all strickly off-limits? Well, for starters I make stupid spur of the moment claims as identified above and then have to scramble to find some way to follow through.
Enter coconut flour (not to underestimate other awesome alternatives such as almond flour, brown rice flour, and flax meal, all of which I get from Kardish). A few days after my declaration of intent, I was idly browsing the internet under the general heading of coconut flour and found this recipe. It was kismet. I was not even looking for a doughnut hole recipe and, by perfect happenstance, this one fell into my lab. So, I made it. And, after a few adaptations (adapted recipe at the start of this post), let me tell you, the results are amaze-balls! Sure it calls for refined white sugar and so is not really a healthy option per se, at least it is baked and healthier than any store bought imitation. Also, my non-gluten free husband even gave them his nod of approval so the ‘normal’ folk enjoy them as well. Most importantly, I was my son’s hero. At last. The yummy, round balls occasionally covered in chocolate. When he looked at me like I was The Next Great Baker I was reassured that, even though this road might be hard, I am making the best choice for my kids and that, with a little hard work, I can let them enjoy and experience all of these little treats of childhood while maintaining our healthy lifestyle.
Nota Bene: You can find more yummy recipes that are gluten free or easily adaptable on my pinterest board called yummy projects!