I recently received a recipe request from Amanda who did the Clean Detox at the same time I did. While I (obviously) don’t keep up with clean eating all of the time, I do continue to follow a mostly clean eating routine and repeat a week long cleanse on occasion. I’m probably due for another as I write this, but with the projects I’ve got stacked up all around me (all food and drink related) it’s probably not going to happen for a while.
With Halloween right around the corner (ugh – how the hell did that happen? last time I looked at the calendar it was May) you plan to only eat the fruits and vegetables of the season (the holidays are right around the corner from Halloween – as can be seen in any store), but even with our best intentions we find ourselves eating a Snickers here and a caramel apple there (hey, there’s that seasonal fruit) and suddenly realize that what we’re feeling isn’t a bad medication interaction, it’s a sugar and fat buzz that has us holding our bellies and rubbing our heads.
Amanda’s request was for ginger snaps so I thought that this recipe would be perfect for those looking for some Halloween cookie recipes that taste of Fall, but don’t leave you feeling guilty because you ate something slathered in icing and candy toppings. (For the record, if the icing is thicker than 1/8″ and there’s even one piece of candy on it it’s no longer a cookie.) Since Amanda has food allergies, clean eating has helped her to feel much better. Here’s the tricky part…to create these ginger snaps, and allow her to be able to keep up with her clean eating, I had to find a way to make them gluten free and dairy free. And of course they still had to taste good.
I recently spent the day with my friend Chris in the Nestle test kitchen (that was like an early Christmas present) and not only learned a lot about their products, but also learned some really cool cooking tricks, like the one I used in these cookies. Did you know that you can replace the oil that’s called, for when making a boxed cake, with a can of pumpkin? I replaced the butter in my cookie recipe with a can of pumpkin without much of a flavor change. So while there is pumpkin in these ginger snaps, I wouldn’t this in the category of pumpkin cookie recipes. By adding the pumpkin to the ginger snaps, I was able to make the overall flavor a bit richer and the color was enhanced from the usual drab brown of ginger snaps to a more golden brown hue (pumpkin ginger snaps).
There are lots of gluten free cookie recipes out there along with a plethora of gluten free flour mixtures. I created my own gluten free flour mixture because I have several kinds of gluten free flour in my pantry. I found that making the ginger snaps gluten free was a fairly easy endeavor. Since ginger snaps have a crumbly texture and a sparkly flavor that includes Fall’s traditional spice flavors using the different flours didn’t create a noticeable difference in the overall cookie. But not using the traditional brown sugar and eggs did cause these ginger snaps to take on a softer or chewy profile.
So just because you’re making cookies, don’t feel like you can’t try to make a healthier cookie. Halloween cookie recipes abound but these chewy ginger snaps are gluten free, dairy free and taste delicious.
We interrupt this post to bring you important sexual news…The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior has been released today. This is the largest and most comprehensive study of sexual health and behavior since 1994. So what you ask? Don’t you want to know what kind of sex your neighbors are having? Or your neighbors kids? Or your parents? (eww okay, I may have taken that last one a bit too far. I know I don’t want to know what kind of sex my parents are or are not having.) But this study covers it all in 118 pages.
The press release just leaves you begging for more:
There is enormous variability in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults, with more than 40 combinations of sexual activity described at adults’ most recent sexual event. Many older adults continue to have active, pleasurable sex lives, reporting a range of different behaviors and partner types, however adults over the age of 40 have the lowest rates of condom use. Although these individuals may not be as concerned about pregnancy, this suggests the need to enhance education efforts for older individuals regarding STI risks and prevention. About 85 percent of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64 percent of women who report having had an orgasm at their most recent sexual event. (A difference that is too large to be accounted for by some of the men having had male partners at their most recent event.) I thought this point was especially important to highlight.
Men are more likely to orgasm when sex includes vaginal intercourse; women are more likely to orgasm when they engage in a variety of sex acts and when oral sex or vaginal intercourse is included. Yeah, this one too. While about 7 percent of adult women and 8 percent of men identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the proportion of individuals in the U.S. who have had same-gender sexual interactions at some point in their lives is higher. At any given point in time, most U.S. adolescents are not engaging in partnered sexual behavior. While 40 percent of 17-year-old males reported vaginal intercourse in the past year, only 27 percent reported the same in the past 90 days. Adults using a condom for intercourse were just as likely to rate the sexual event positively in terms of arousal, pleasure and orgasm than when having intercourse without one.
Tell me you’re not interested in reading more of this report after those highlights. If they had turned this report into a movie and the trailer was shots from this press release Hollywood would have had a blockbuster on their hands for sure.
One final note regarding this study. I am also attaching a graph from the study that should give you plenty to talk about at the bar tonight. That’s all I’m going to say.
Gluten Free Ginger Snaps
Makes 5 dozen cookies
- 1 1/2 Cups Brown Rice Flour
- 3/4 Cup Buckwheat Flour
- 3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
- 3 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1/8 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Guar Gum
- 1 15 Ounce Can Pumpkin
- 1 1/2 Cups + 1 Tablespoon Brown Rice Syrup
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Truvia (this is optional – I prefer mine without)
In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (except the Truvia). Stir with a fork to combine (stir for at least 1 minute to fully combine).
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or another large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer) add the can of pumpkin, brown rice syrup and the vanilla. Mix until all of the ingredients are mixed together.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the the wet mixture and mix. Continue adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 1/3’s until all have been added together. Only mix until all of the ingredients are wet (this does not require super mixing).
Tear off 3 pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap.
Divide dough into thirds and put each third on its own piece of wrap. Form the dough into a log and wrap, tucking the ends of the wrap under the dough log. Repeat with remaining 2 portions.
Place dough into refrigerator and chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Take one dough log out of the refrigerator and leave the rest in there until you are ready for them.
Unwrap the log and pull off pieces of the dough and roll into balls the size of a nickel. Place the balls on a baking sheet (or if you are using the Truvia, place the balls into a bowl that has the Truvia in it. Roll them around until they are covered.) place the balls onto a baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place the balls 2″- 3″ apart.
Using a glass with a smooth bottom, gently press the dough balls until they are about 3/16″ thick. This dough is very sticky so you need to use gentle pressure when flattening the dough. You may find it easier to start flattening with the glass and then use your fingers to get the desired thickness.
Once the baking sheet is full and all of the dough has been flattened, bake for 15 minutes. The cookies are done when they have a nice brown color, the edges are slightly darker than the middle and the tops of the ginger snaps have a lot of texture to them (see photos).
Let the cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
Store these in an air tight container.