Friday, February 12, 2010

Toasted coconut and chocolate cookies

I had itchy hands yesterday, both literally and figuratively.  

In the literal sense, I recently had a flare-up of my DH (Dermatitis Herpetiformis), which many of you are likely familiar with.  For those of you who don’t know, DH is a skin condition experienced by approximately 25% of all celiacs that produces itchy blistery bumps, most typically on your hands, knees, elbows, and ankles.  And, according to Dr. Peter Green (Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia), if you have DH, you have Celiac disease.  

There are a number of photos of patients with this rash online and many look beyond worse than I’ve ever had it.  At its best, I’ve had a random bump here and there that doesn’t really itch that much.  At its worst, I’ve had close to 10 bumps on each ankle, irritated and blistery and itchy something furious.  It was at its worst for me when I was healing, about 4 or 5 months after starting the gluten free diet.  I’ve read conflicting information about whether these bumps go away completely on the gluten free diet, and how long that takes.  Some say the bumps often go away on a completely gluten free diet (this might take up to 2 years) and flare-ups mean the re-introduction of gluten into the system.  Others say someone with DH will mostly rid themselves of the rash when on a gluten free diet, but will have rash flare-ups throughout one’s life and it isn’t connected at all to whether that person ingested gluten or not. 

I’ve recently had a particularly bad flare-up on my hands and am left wondering – did I ingest gluten accidentally somewhere?  And, if so, was it recently or does it take some weeks for these symptoms to appear?  Alternatively, I’m coming up on my two-year gluten-free anniversary in March, so my body might still be riding itself of toxins…  Or, these flare-ups are just going to be a fact of my life…  Or, I could be reacting to something else?  All of this feels very frustrating.  The itching is one thing (mine aren’t that itchy), but they also leave scars. 

The best I can do in this situation is to not drive myself nuts looking for answers, but rather to monitor my diet and monitor my symptoms.  If there is something to know there, then I will find it. 

In the figurative sense, my hands were itching to get into the kitchen, to mix up some dough, to create and experiment. I haven’t baked anything in a while and the last batch of cookies I did were from a mix. 

I needed to bake cookies.

One of my favorite flavor combinations for sweet things is coconut with chocolate (well, that and peanut butter and chocolate).  Ben doesn’t care much for chocolate at all, but this weekend, I will finally be giving Ben something he has been waiting for for some time now – gluten free lemon filled donuts!  So, since we are baking something especially for him this weekend, I decided these cookies would be all about me.  Nice how that works, isn’t it? 

And a cookie was born.

Toasted coconut and chocolate cookies

I have been having a lot of good luck lately with quinoa flour, so I thought I’d continue experimenting with it here – with great results!  The texture of these are awesome.  They are not grainy and they don’t get soggy after a day or so (which happens with some gluten free baked goods, I’ve noticed).  Keep them in an airtight container on the counter or freeze ‘em for later.

1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup tapioca flour
½ cup coconut flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup butter
1 cup raw sugar (turbinado)
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup toasted coconut
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix flours and xanthan gum in a small bowl to create one homogeneous flour mix. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until well blended.  Add eggs and vanilla and stir until incorporated. Add flour mixture, about a third at a time, until it is all mixed in.  Then stir in your coconut and chocolate chips.  The mixture will be quite tough at this point, and you might want to use your hands.

Roll dough into golf-ball sized balls and place on a plate so they are all ready to go.  

Place the balls about an inch or so apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten with your hand or the back of a spatula to about 1/5 inch thick.  Bake at 350F for about 12-15 minutes. 

Allow to cool on wire rack.



Stephanie said...

I love that first picture with your family in the background. So cute!! I'm definitely going to make these cookies this weekend. I've been dying to bake something great as well. Thanks for sharing :)

Lauren Denneson said...

You definitely like these!

Sophie said...

These gf coconut & chocolate cookies look mighty tasty & pretty too!

MMMMMMMMMMMM,...lovely food!