Every week in The Hipster’s Cookbook, Meghan Bongartz shows you how to make delicious food on a tight budget.
When I was in elementary school, there was one boy in my class who had a gluten allergy. I’m pretty sure he was the only person any of us knew who had a food allergy, and everyone thought it was so weird that he couldn’t have bread or cake. Whenever someone in the class brought in birthday treats, he would get an ice cream pop out of the refrigerator in the teachers’ lounge instead, and on hot days the rest of the class was jealous. This was a Catholic school, so when we had our First Communion, he had to try half of a wafer ahead of time to check on how bad the reaction would be.
These days, I know a lot more people with dietary restrictions, and I’m growing increasingly glad that the only food I’m allergic to is coffee (which is actually probably a blessing in disguise, because Starbucks gets none of my money). One of my good friends is allergic to gluten, dairy, soy, and onions. This means that aside from not being able to have foods made with wheat and milk, she also can’t have most of the products made to replace them because those have soy. And she gets to be the annoying person at restaurants asking them to pick the onions out of her salad.
What I’m discovering is worse, though, is that it can be incredibly expensive to eat this way. I recently made gluten and dairy-free cornbread because of the aforementioned friend, and I was shocked at how much the ingredients cost. Normally, the only thing I don’t already have in my kitchen for cornbread is buttermilk, but this time I had to buy almond milk, four different types of flour (rice, potato, tapioca, and sorghum), and xanthum gum (welcome to the list of “what is that and how do you pronounce it” ingredients on packaged food). I’m used to Whole Foods excursions costing an arm and a leg, but I think they may have gotten a few of my internal organs that time, too. The corn bread was great, but I don’t think I could afford to cook that way every day.
I did, however, discover a silver lining: eliminating butter and wheat flour gets rid of a lot of the mess of cooking. I’m not the cleanest cook; usually I have to scrub most of my kitchen after I’ve been baking. So, it was a pretty pleasant surprise to discover that there was nothing stuck to the counter or the microwave or the floor when I was done with my experiments. Apparently the heavier texture of all those other flours means that they don’t fly everywhere like wheat flour does. I think the ideal solution, though, is to just get rid of the flour altogether so that there’s no mess and no expense. Enter flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. This recipe is from The View from the Great Island, and it’s perfect as is. I actually used chocolate chunks the first time I made them, but chips definitely work better because the cookies are on the smaller side. And there are only five ingredients! And there’s no mess! And you won’t be poisoning your friends who have food allergies!
Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 large egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2) Whisk the egg, brown sugar, and baking soda together in a medium bowl, making sure that the mixture is free of lumps. Stir in the peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
3) Gently stir in chocolate chips so that they are evenly distributed.
4) Transfer to baking sheet in even tablespoons, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.
5) Use the back of a spoon to flatten the cookies slightly. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.
6) Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, until they firm up slightly, then carefully transfer to a wire rack.