Thursday, August 6, 2009

Whole Grain Coconut-Zucchini Cookies, discussion

Last summer I adapted my mother's whole wheat zucchini-oat cookies recipe to be wheat, dairy, egg, and nut free, and my kids and I really enjoyed the result. These were a favorite while we had zucchini. However, I didn't get the recipe posted on this blog, and I lost my notes. So this summer, when I had zucchini once again, I experimented again with the recipe. This time, I tried four different adaptations- two options were made without oats. #1 made with rolled oats as called for in recipe, and oat and brown rice flour to substitute for the wheat. #2 Same as above, except 2 T. tapioca starch added in place of 2 T. of the oat flour. #3 wheat flour and rolled oats substituted with Living Without Magazine's High Fiber Blend gluten-free flour blend(with teff flour, millet flour, brown rice flour, and some starch) #4 wheat flour and rolled oats substituted with 50% brown rice flour, 25% millet flour, and 25% starch(half of that was potato starch and half was cornstarch).

I love both the oatmeal versions and the brown rice millet version! I am amazed at how good these cookies are for having no wheat, dairy, eggs, or nuts! #3 disappointed me, but my husband enjoyed them. I think they're okay, but a bit bitter. My girls love the zucchini-oat cookies. Experiment #1 and #2 seemed the same, except for the tapioca ones having a slight off taste(the tapioca starch I get from Bob's Mill, for some reason, tastes off to me each time, is it just me?) Experiment #3 is okay, but both the tapioca and teff are strong. Living Without does recommend light teff flour, and I used regular or dark. Experiment #4 is very invigorating to see the results, it's a great cookie with perfect texture, without oats, and wholesome! I know that some have issues with oats, so I am very happy to have a cookie that tastes great, is wholesome, and is wheat and oat-free! Choose a recipe and try it out!

If you can have oats, I do recommend #1- with the wheat flour being substituted by brown rice flour and oat flour. This is my personal favorite, and is also the cheapest option. Well, I know it is, anyway, by FAR, if you have a grain grinder and grind your own brown rice, and blend your own oats to make oat flour. (If you need gluten-free certified oats, perhaps this option isn't the cheapest?) If you are avoiding oats, I think the millet version ranks just barely behind the oat version overall...I think the oat version tastes more delightful("fabulous!" came to mind when I sampled the oat ones, and YUM!!! comes to mind with the millet ones), but the millet version boasts an excellent texture one step above the oat version(the oat version is a bit gummy, and the millet version is perfect in texture, I think). I am amazed each time I eat the millet version how good they are! You'll be happy with either recipe! I'll have individual posts for the oat and millet versions. On this post, however, I'm first copying my mom's recipe, so you can understand how the recipe was adapted. Then you can feel free to adapt the recipe for your needs- and share with me if you come up with another great option!

Whole Wheat Zucchini-Oat Cookies, with comments on how I adapted it:

1/2 cup margarine: substitute 1/4 cup (canola)oil and 1/4 cup coconut oil*
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs: 1/3 cup applesauce, and 1 tsp. baking powder mixed with 1 1/2 T. oil and 1 1/2 T. water(mix just before adding to recipe)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon(optional- I forgot it in my recent experiments and they were great without it)
1 1/4 cup quick oats(replace with 1 c. gluten-free flour blend if not using oats)
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour: choose a wheat-free or gluten-free blend
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum**
2 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 cup coconut, flaked
1/2 c. chocolate chips(I use Enjoy Life brand), and/or raisins

Beat margarine(oil) and sugar until fluffy. In separate bowl, combine baking soda, cinnamon, oats, and flour. Set aside. Add vanilla and applesauce to oil and sugar. Mix baking powder, oil, and water in small container, then add to applesauce, sugar, and oil. Mix together. Add zucchini and coconut. Blend. Add dry ingredients from bowl and mix until well blended. Add chocolate chips or raisins last.

*coconut oil is optional. I like it because it adds a delicious dimension to the cookies, and because I think it probably improves texture- when it is solid room temperature it probably helps make fluffier cookier than oil. You could alternately use just vegetable oil(like canola), shortening, or non-dairy margarine sticks or spread.

**1/2 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour is a common rule of thumb. I used 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum in the recipes that used oats and oat flour(because oats already have binding properties). I used 1 tsp. xanthan for the recipes that didn't have oats(the millet version and the high-fiber blend version). This is because I used 2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour in these recipes.


Andreea said...

really good. The only drawback is that there was no time or temperature for baking, so I went with 350F for about 15-20 min and just watched them. I also would have liked them to be more crunchy. I will make them again for sure, and try to add seeds. Everyone loved them - all 3 kids and hubby. I also made them square and declare them cereal bars so I wont have to buy the expensive ones in the store.

Dickeybirds said...

Hi, these look fabulous! In fact, we are making them right now! I will have to make up the time and temperature, but would love to know what you usually do. Thanks!

homebaker said...

Thanks for the comment! I really like your idea to declare them as cereal bars so you don't have to buy the pricey ones at the store!

Sorry about the temperature not being there. : ) I go with 375 as a rule of thumb but 350 sounds good too. Altitude can make a difference, as well as your baking pans. For the crunch, I wonder if you bake them at 375 if you would have a nice crisp crust. Let me know if you try.