I’ve always passed on the Elna’s Tarts that so many family members love, because of their heavy doses of butter, sugar and flour. I’ve said “No thanks” to the pecan crescents and the cutout sugar cookies. I’ve restricted my Christmas consumption to the butter-free gingerbread men, but this year I’m giving them up, too.
My system just doesn’t process wheat flour very well. I had a diagnosis of celiac disease when I was a boy, but I never paid it much attention as an adult. Eating a banana a day seemed to ward off stomach aches.
But this year I decided to cut back on my wheat intake, and in this post I described how I found a recipe for buckwheat granola (which is very good). I also made “improvised bars,” in which I threw together some walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, oil, honey, applesauce and spelt flour and put it in the oven to see what would happen. It was OK, but crumbly. I added an egg and more spelt flour and the bars turned out better.
Today I went back to the Internet looking for wheat-free cookie recipes, but most of them call for esoteric stuff I don’t have, like almond flour or rice flour. Then I found these excellent concoctions, which are shown in the photo at the top of this post:
WHEAT-FREE PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE COOKIES
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used only 1/2 cup)
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
What could be simpler? I just mashed the ingredients together, and spooned the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I baked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Betsy said they are sensational. They taste a little like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Betsy makes a wonderful Christmas bread every year, with nuts and apricots. I’m going to try to excuse myself from partaking of it this Christmas.
I’ve been making low-wheat sourdough bread for a few months, using millet, buckwheat, spelt and soy flour. I’ve restricted the wheat flour content to a quarter to a half of the total. But today I’m experimenting with making three loaves that are almost wheat-free (the only wheat flour is a half cup in the sourdough starter). I added some cornmeal to the mix and used lots of spelt flour.
The dough is rising as I’m writing this, so I can’t tell you how it turned out. But that’s part of the fun of veering off from what recipes call for; you never know what you’re going to get.
As for those Elna’s Tarts, I’m sure that none of them will be going to waste.
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