Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spiced Teff Cookie Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free)


This recipe was inspired by an email I received from a fellow gluten-free blogger and mother of a toddler. Her son is allergic to wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, oats, and nuts. She had great success in baking our Rhubarb Muffins and Everyday Sandwich bread (please click on the links to see her blog and photos of these recipes), and was wondering if I had any cookie recipes that fit her son's allergy criteria and that also excluded seeds. Hmm, seeds too? No flax, no sunflower, no nothing? Now, I do have a handful of these types of cookie recipes which will be appearing in my next book, but what about something new? An idea for a richly spiced teff cookie bar was inspired!

I experimented with my idea two different ways while my twin toddlers were sleeping this afternoon. My four-year old daughter helped to measure all of the ingredients. It especially excites her to measure the spices and level them off with her finger!

These cookie bars are rich, moist, with a full-bodied spice flavor. My toddlers thoroughly enjoyed them!

Though I have not tested this, I believe these bars could be made with brown rice or sorghum flour in place of the teff. The teff does lend a discernable crunch which may turn some folks off, though die-hard teff lovers will surely be satiated with this recipe.

I have a number of gluten-free, vegan teff recipes available on this blog for those newcomers just stopping by for the first time. Enjoy!


Spiced Teff Cookie Bars

If teff flour is unavailable then replace it with either brown rice flour or sorghum flour (or a mix of the two). The coconut oil can be replaced with butter or vegan margarine if tolerated. Be sure to store these bars in a tightly sealed container to prevent them from drying out. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

2/3 cup of softened coconut oil (see tip below)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup Sucanat, maple sugar, or organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups dark teff flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 7 x 11-inch glass baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl beat (with an electric mixer) the coconut oil, applesauce, molasses, sugar, and vanilla until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat again. Beat for about 60 seconds or until the dough thickens.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan using a spatula. Even it out so it is level on all sides.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing. It is better to wait at least 30 minutes (if you can control yourself)! :) Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

How to soften coconut oil: In the summer your oil will naturally be soft, unless your kitchen or pantry is hot (75+ degrees, which then your coconut oil will be liquid). If your oil is hard, then melt it at a very low temp in a pot on the stove; then pour into a small bowl to cool. When it has begun to solidify and becomes opaque, use it. If your oil is liquid, then measure out what you need, pour into a bowl and place into the refrigerator. When it has solidified enough to be soft, use it. If you choose to use your oil in a liquid form it can start to seep out of the dough into an oily mess. Your end product will not turn out the same as it would if softened coconut oil is used. I know this sounds like a pain, but it is worth it! :)

If you make this recipe and change it, let us know. Your comments will help other readers know what to expect and learn how to make this recipe in new ways! Thanks :)

27 comments:

  1. Like you, we cook with Sorghum a lot. Teff, not so much, as it is not available at our local co-op. Yet. Of particular importance to me is the nutritional profile of the grains we use in gluten-free baking. Nutritionally, are there advantages to using these two flours?

    And when will your next book be out. WE use your first often, but I notice that your baking recipes have changed quite a bit since the first book.

    Thanks!

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  2. Oh Ali, these look so good! Thank you, thank you, thank you for creating a cookie bar that fits with all our allergies. :)

    I've just started to use coconut oil in baking. I bought Artisana because I saw a picture of their coconut butter in your blog. Do you use their oil too or is there another brand you would recommend (theirs is so yummy!)?

    Is natural cane sugar suitable to use as brown sugar or should I stick with brown?

    Thanks again! I'll let you know how they turn out. :)

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  3. Ali,
    These look awesome! Thank you, as always for helping those of us learn about cooking gluten, dairy and egg free!
    Now, what do you think about adding some chocolate chips or cocoa powder to these yummy bars?
    Sincerely,
    Barbara

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  4. I made these today and they are fantastic! I was so surprised that they are so light and delicate-tasting. Being a dark colour, I assumed they would be quite dense. This is my first experience with teff flour, and I am a new fan!

    I used 1/4 cup maple sugar and 1/4 cup natural cane sugar in place of the brown sugar. I baked these in a 9x9 silicone pan for 22 minutes and they turned out perfectly.

    Thanks again Ali! Here is a link to my photo/writeup of these yummy cookie bars: Eagle Loft Kitchen

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  5. Brynn - Yes, I do feel that teff is nutritionally superior to other gluten-free grains/flours. Though using a balance of all (whole grains/flours) is probably best. I will let you all know soon when the next book is due out. And yes, my baking recipes have changed; I have learned so much and am continuing to learn with more experimentation! :)

    Eagle Loft - Thank you for the inspiration! Right now I use Nutiva coconut oil. I think natural cane sugar would work here too, but the Sucanat, maple sugar, and/or brown sugar will yield a more flavorful bar. I love the photo you posted on your blog of this bar, hope others click on the link and check it out! :) Thanks for commenting here with your baking modifications; these will help others I am sure! :)

    Barbara - You know, I thought about adding chocolate chips once I cut into these bars because they reminded me so much of brownies. Not sure if I am a fan of the chocolate/cinnamon/molasses combo though. If you try it let me know how they turn out. :)

    -Ali

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  6. Teff is one of my favorites. Yummm! You are so great with these "free of everything" challenges Ali. I would be stumped. These sound and look wonderful. Printing them out for my "to make" list. Yum!

    I am loving your cookbook Ali. It is full of such useful information. I love all the tips and instructions along with the recipes. Usually recipe books leave you wondering how to do things but this is like a manual and nutrition guide along with delicious, wholesome recipes. Love the part about cooking beans! I still haven't done it... I AM going to now.
    Oh I do have a question.. for making your own sauerkraut, do I need to do it in a container that isn't clear? The only big jars I have are mason jars. So if I used one of those but stuck it in a dark cupboard, would that be ok?
    Thanks! Have a great weekend :)

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  7. Yummy! These look great. I like teff flour a lot too (I think it also holds together better then some of the other gluten free flours). I think these would be perfect for a wintery day with a cup of hot cocoa. :-)

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  8. I just found your blog through Nourishing Gourmet. I really like what I see here:) I am especially interested in your carrot buckwheat muffins. I have all sorts of foods I am having to stay away from, but I think I might be able to try those muffins.

    I also have never heard of pumpkin seed flour. I can't eat many grains at all and thought your recipe using pumpkin seed flour was amazing. I wonder if I could replace the eggs? I'm adding you to my blogroll and will definitely be back:)

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  9. CoconutGal - Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the book so far! A mason jar works great for making the sauerkraut. And yes - in the cupboard is perfect. :)

    Kimi - Teff flour does have a certain binding property, but in a baked good, it can also get pretty crumbly after a few days. I think these would be good in the wintertime - it has been chilly here which is probably why I came up with something so warming. :)

    Kimberly - I am glad you found us...hope you enjoy the buckwheat muffins. I am going to make an announcement soon about the pumpkin seed flour; it is now available in 5lb pails through Omega Nutrition. I am planning on posting a few egg-free recipes made with the flour starting next week. I don't know how my chocolate cake would work without eggs. I will try and create a cake soon sans eggs. If you can tolerate nuts I do have a grain-free, vegan chocolate cupcake on this blog.

    -Ali :)

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  10. Thanks Ali!
    I'll look forward to more recipes. Sadly, I can't have nuts, but hey--life could be worse!

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  11. I must say that I appreciate the educational value you bring to your blog. Another flour question - how do you feel about rice flours? You mentioned the crunch with teff. I use a blend that is comprised of sweet rice, sorghum, and tapioca. I know some people use potato flour to avoid the gritty or crunchy texture but I don't eat white potatoes and don't want to bake with it either.

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  12. Ali, I wanted to chime in here and let you and other readers know that I made these bars today using sorghum/rice flours in place of the teff. They turned out great! I took them with us, along with fresh fruit and nuts, on a long bike ride today. My kids gobbled them up. They were the perfect mid-day snack! Thanks!

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  13. I can't find teff locally. BOO!

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  14. Kimberly - Oh well on the nuts, hopefully you can use some of my upcoming pumpkin seed flour recipes! :)

    Amy - I use both brown rice flour and sweet rice flour. Teff flour just doesn't work in all recipes (especially those with less or no liquid. I use the sorghum, sweet rice, tapioca combo is some recipes. I really like it. In fact, I wonder if this combo would work in these bars (may even work better than the teff). I would try 1 cup sorghum, 1 cup sweet rice, and 1/2 cup tapioca. :)

    Yogamama - Thanks for adding your substitutions here. Now, did you use brown rice flour or sweet rice flour? Glad your kids enjoyed them! :)

    Katrina - You can order teff flour from www.teffco.com - it comes in all sorts of different amounts. :)

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  15. Those are beautiful bars, Ali! I know I would love them. You are the teff whiz! :-)

    Thanks,
    Shirley

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  16. Oh my goodness, I'm drooling...

    I must try these!

    -kim // affairsofliving.blogspot.com

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  17. Thanks Shirley and Kim! :)

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  18. Made these last night and used your suggested substitution on flours - 1 cup sorghum and 1 cup sweet rice. They are truly delicious. I sent the batch to work with my husband and got gushing reviews from a bunch of carpenters. I might add some crystallized ginger next time and increase the ginger a bit. I love teff but it's expensive and sweet rice flour is not so I figured I'd give it a shot. Really great! Thank you!
    Also, baked in a 9x9 metal pan turned out fine.

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  19. I just made a pan of these bars, spiced them like a gingerbread cookie, and tried making holiday cutouts. It works! I blogged my experience (with props and links here, naturally) and I'll make more.

    But because I feel compelled to eat all the mistakes and trimmings, I'm going to cut the next batch into squares and fancy them up with fruit and nut decorations.

    Thank you for inventing this recipe!

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  20. Do you think you could make these without xanthan gum? I have been trying to do most of my gluten free baking without it and I would love to try this one, but only if you think it could be done.

    I can't wait to try it!

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  21. Ali, I made these bars with pumpkin puree today for my little one who has quite a lot of food intolerances... molasses is something we are avoiding as well as most grains and refined sugars. So, I have been experimenting with teff since it is a seed and not a grain. I replaced the molasses with pure pumpkin puree and the sugar with coconut sugar, also omitting the vanilla. I decreased the xanthan gum by half and only used a 1/2 tsp b. soda and added a 1/2 tsp corn free b. powder. They turned out great with a nice pumpkin spice cake flavor! They reminded me more of a cake, not a bar and they were not gooey in the center like your picture. Thanks for the inspiration!! When I have a chance I will post a picture with a link to your recipe on my website.

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  22. I have the same food problems the little boy you made this recipe for does, plus coconut. So on top of avoiding eggs in my gluten-free baking, I also cannot use coconut. Do you know of anything that would work in place of coconut oil in a recipe like this?

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  23. Luci-
    I would try light olive oil or ghee. :)

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  24. Inspired by Nicole suggestion, I used extra applesauce in place of the molasses. I think next time, I'll use more than 1 tsp of ginger to give it a little more spice. Otherwise, it was great.

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  25. I just made these bars and didn't have the dried ginger so just added pureed ginger. Also added some cardamom, allspice and nutmeg. These are great! Thanks!

    http://vegankitchennuggets.blogspot.com/2012/08/spiced-teff-bars.html

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  26. Thank you for creating some wonderful sounding cookies and bars that do not have chocolate. I can't have chocolate, wheat, corn...and I get so frustrated that everything has chocolate, so I am looking forward to making this recipe.

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  27. These have a fabulous flavor, but I tried to reduce the oil by adding more applesauce and they turned out very crumbly. It's fine with me, though, because they are delicious! Next time, I'll stick with the recipe :)

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Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom