Simon's Favourite Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies! About 15 years ago — long before gluten-free everything was in fashion — I stopped being able to digest anything. Anytime I ate or even drank a glass of water, I had horrible nausea and acid reflux, but if I didn’t eat it got worse. Doctor visit after doctor visit heralded me a new prescription to treat the acid but nothing ever got better. A year later I went to get an endoscopy done to see if I had ulcers. Although the test came back negative, the doctor did tell me that the acid had caused lesions in my esophagus and stomach. The cure: more prescriptions that didn’t work. Not once in that 18 months of hell did any doctor I ever saw talk to me about food choices other that to tell me to cut down on coffee and acidy foods. Genius. So I started to research what alternatives were out there to conventional medicine — as I often do — and I came across a Naturopath.Honestly, I was skeptical and as I sat in her office, and when she explained the “allergy test” she was going to do, my skepticism only increased. She told me I was going to hold this thingy in my hand and then touch different samples of food to see if there was a reaction. Uh huh. What the hell had I gotten myself into? The test started and for 30 minutes I went through food after food after food with little reaction. Until I got to wheat. The Naturopath looked at me and said “I’ve never had a patient with this strong of a reaction to wheat in all my years as a Naturopath.” Uh huh. Of course you haven’t. Totally unconvinced, I continued on with the test. Finally, we got to a food that I knew I was deathly allergic to: scallops. “Here’s where I’m going to get you,” I said in my head. There is no way this woo-woo test was going to know how severe my allergy to scallops was. I didn’t even know until a few years ago when I ate one for the very first time. The minute I touched the little bottle with the sample of scallop in it, the Naturopath stopped the test and said “Oh boy. You do know that you have a severe allergy to scallops, right? You should really be carrying an EPI pen just in case you go into anaphylactic shock.” WTF? That moment knocked the skepticism right out of me and I started to pay attention. I left the office with a 21 day diet that included no coffee, no wheat, no dairy, and no sugar. I can’t say that the 21 days was enjoyable but I can tell you that after a couple of weeks, I finally started to feel better. I was able to eat food without constantly wanting to throw up, and miraculously there was no more acid burning in the back of my throat 24 hours a day. Slowly I was able to reintroduce some foods back in — YAY! — with the exception of wheat. My Naturopath — being a Greek girl like me — understood how devastating it was to give up foods like Spanakopita. So she gave me some options. Eat the wheat until you start feeling sick and then do the 21 day cleanse again. Eat the wheat on special occasions like Christmas and Easter and then go off again, or totally avoid it altogether. I decided to go hard core and totally avoid it altogether. Fast forward a few years to when I met my boyfriend. He was having issues with his skin so I told him about the 21 day cleanse and asked him if he ever considered not eating wheat. Turns out he has celiac disease and his doctors just kept treating the skin symptoms and not the cause. Celiac is a whole other beast from wheat sensitivity. It’s a serous autoimmune condition and the person cannot tolerate any gluten in their system at all. In an effort to make the transition from gluten-eater to gluten-free easier for him, I started testing out some recipes for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, one of his favourite food groups. Fail after horrible fail, I finally came across a recipe by Erin McKenna, the proprietress of BabyCakes NYC and we had a winner. Over the years, I’ve changed the recipe up a fair bit. Neither my boyfriend or I are vegan so I went back to using organic butter and real milk chocolate chocolate chips. Neither of us were big fans of the flax-meal, so I switched it up for hemp seeds and I started getting a reaction to xantham gum so I decided to stop using it in my baking. Instead, I use an equal amount of psyllium husk. That being said, the heart of the recipe belongs to Erin and I will be forever grateful to her for the look on my boyfriends face when I pull these out of the oven. Give them a try and let me know what you think! Simon’s Favourite Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Yields approximately 40 to 45 small cookies. Ingredients 1 cup melted butter (I use organic or grass-fed) 2 tablespoons apple butter 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract 1 cup dark brown sugar ⅓ cup of shredded unsweetened coconut 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose Flour ¼ cup hemp seeds 1 teaspoon baking soda 1.5 teaspoon psyllium husks 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup Guittard Gluten-free Milk Chocolate Chips Instructions Preheat your oven to 175º (350 degrees Fahrenheit.) Whisk the first 5 ingredients together. Sift the flour, baking soda, psyllium husk, and salt together. Add in the hemp seeds. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10–11 minutes turning the baking sheet in the oven halfway through. Enjoy!