Friday, July 1, 2016

Did You Know? Facts about Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance

Here are some of the most staggering facts about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance. Each statement highlights the need for education and awareness among the Medical and Culinary Communities as well as the General Public.

An estimated 3 million Americans across all races, ages and genders suffer from Celiac.

You don’t need to have Celiac Disease to be affected by it.  There are many different Diseases that can co-exist with (or because of) Celiac Disease.  Autism - Infertility – Migraine - Thyroid Disease – Depression - Intestinal Cancer - Osteoporosis/Osteopenia - Turner Syndrome - Dermatitis Herpetiformis - Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Peripheral Neuropathy - Type 1 Diabetes - Down Syndrome - Liver Disease -Sjogren's Disease - Williams Syndrom

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune digestive Disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.  Because of this constant malnutrition many areas of the body can be affected making Celiac Disease one of the hardest Diseases to diagnose.  1 in 133 Americans have Celiac Disease, as many as 95% of Celiacs are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with any number of other conditions. Celiac Disease can lead to any number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune Diseases.

6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed.  Once a person is diagnosed 5-22% of Celiac patients have an immediate family member (1st degree relative) who also has Celiac.

$5,000-$12,000 is the average cost of misdiagnosis per person/per year of Celiac, not including lost work time.

There are NO pharmaceutical cures for Celiac Disease. A 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for Celiac today.

The Celiac Disease diagnosis rate may reach 50-60% by 2019, thanks to efforts to raise public awareness of Celiac Disease.

Gluten-free sales reached more than $2.6 billion by the end of 2010 and are now expected to exceed more than $5 billion by 2015.

It’s all in the numbers…
The number of people with Celiac Disease in the U.S. would fill 4,400 Boeing 747 airplanes. It would take 936 cruise ships to hold every American with Celiac Disease. The number of people with Celiac Disease in the U.S. is roughly equal to the number of people living in the state of Nevada. Alaska, Delaware, Washington DC, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont all have populations that are less than 2,200,000 - the number of people living with Celiac Disease in the United States.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, June 24, 2016

Chebe Gluten Free Bread Mixes

Slightly Unusual...Unusually Good
All Chebe Products Are Produced In A 100% Wheat Free Facility
Original Chebe Bread mix is unlike any other bread. Based on the Brazilian pao de queijo ("cheese bread"), its main ingredients come from the topical manioc plant (aka cassava or yucca).

These little rolls are simply the best!!  My friends and family affectionately call them “Yuckie Rolls” at my house…but there is nothing yuckie about them!!  In fact we never have a get together when someone doesn’t go looking for them on the table…birthdays, holidays, BBQ’s.  It doesn’t matter…I have to make certain these little Gluten-Free Cheese Rolls are always on the menu.  I’ve been creating with this mix for quite a while now.  I love to try different cheeses & herbs.  I’ve even used those mini pepperonis and cheese, or finely chopped onion & garlic right in the batter…even some minced ham with cheese. MMMmmm…wonderful!! 

At first…getting the batter right was a challenge.  The directions were fine…but I’m lazy when it comes to getting my hands into things…kneading dough…and cleaning up the mess afterwards.  So I have a Kitchenaid…with a heavy duty beater…and I’ve discovered that if I put all the ingredients into the mixer and set it to run for several minutes that everything blends up just fine.  I don’t know if it’s because of where I live…Florida…or just my personal preference…but I do add a bit of extra liquid to the dough to get it just right.  I use those tiny muffins tins - when the rolls puff up they tend to roll around on a flat surface.  The muffin tins work perfectly to keep them under control.

One day I was searching for new ideas to use and read where someone described the final appearance of the dough as very similar to the dough used in making Éclairs.  Whoa!!  I hadn’t had a decent Éclair in years and I thought that the finished rolls might be just perfect…if I just made them plain and didn’t add the cheese.  They would be nice and soft inside…with a perfect, crispy crust outside. So I made up a batch without the cheese…used Kefir for the liquid just to get them to puff up a bit extra…and grabbed my favorite Gluten-Free Vanilla Pudding and Chocolate Frosting in anticipation.  It was a bit of a challenge waiting for those little puffs to get cold...but I managed.  I filled them up with the pudding, added a touch of frosting to the tops and Oh Boy!!  I was in heaven!!  I just had to share them with everyone...or I would have eaten them all by myself.

Chebe Bread Products
1840 Lundberg Drive
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

PH: 1-800-217-9510
- or -

Ingredients: Manioc (tapioca) flour, modified manioc starch (100% manioc), dry milk, iodine-free sea salt.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, June 17, 2016

Gluten-Free Food Labeling Rule

10 Fast Facts about the FDA
Gluten-Free Food Labeling Rule

1. What food products are covered by the FDA gluten-free labeling rule?
   All FDA-regulated foods
   Dietary Supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids)
   Food products imported from other countries that are subject to FDA regulations
Not Covered:
   Meat, poultry and unshelled eggs (products regulated by the USDA)
   Distilled spirits, wines that contain 7 percent or more alcohol by volume*
   Malted beverages made with malted barley and hops*
* These alcoholic beverages are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB.) The FDA says it will work with the TTB to "harmonize" gluten-free labeling requirements between the two agencies.

2. After August 5, 2014, what food products may be labeled gluten-free?
A food product regulated by the FDA may be labeled gluten-free if:
   1. It does NOT contain wheat, rye, barley or their crossbred hybrids like triticale (a gluten-containing grain) OR
   2. It contains a gluten-containing grain or an ingredient derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

3. May food products that are naturally gluten-free be labeled "gluten-free"?
Yes. Food products that are naturally gluten-free, like bottled spring water, or tomatoes may be labeled "gluten-free."

4. May oats be labeled gluten-free?
Oats that contain less than 20 ppm of gluten may be labeled "gluten-free." Oats do NOT need to be certified gluten-free.

5. Will there be a symbol to identify foods that meet the FDA definition of gluten-free?
No. The FDA has determined that consumers favor the label "gluten-free" to communicate that a food is free of gluten. Manufacturers are allowed to include a symbol as long as it is truthful and not misleading.

6. Are manufacturers required to test for gluten to label a product "gluten-free"?
No. For food products labeled "gluten-free" manufacturers are not required to test for the presence of gluten in the ingredients used or the finished food product. However, they are responsible for ensuring that the food product meets all labeling requirements. Manufacturers will need to determine how they will assure this.

7. How will the FDA enforce gluten-free labeling requirements after August 5, 2014?
The FDA may perform food label reviews, follow-up on consumer and industry complaints, and analyze food samples. Consumers and manufacturers may report a complaint to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in the state where the food was purchased. Click Here for a list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

8. Why did the FDA adopt < 20 ppm of gluten as the standard instead of zero ppm? Why does CDF support this?

The FDA adopted the standard based upon the recommendations of the scientific and medical communities, and because there are no analytical methods available that are scientifically validated to reliably detect gluten below 20 ppm. The CDF Medical Advisory Board supports the < 20 ppm of gluten standard for gluten-free labeling. According to Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, "The 20 ppm is a scientifically determined level of gluten that has been shown to be tolerated by those with celiac disease. It is in line with standards in other countries."

Dr. Alessio Fasano, of the Center for Celiac Research states, "Twenty parts per million, or 20 parts of gluten per one million parts of food sample, is an accepted standard in many parts of the world for products that are labeled gluten-free. The evidence-based research published by our Center, which has been confirmed by studies from colleagues around the world, conclusively supports the 20 ppm level as a suitable safety threshold for gluten-free products." According to the Center's website, "research from the Center has shown that 10 milligrams per day of gluten consumption is a safe level for the vast majority of individuals with celiac disease." The Center's website goes on to state that 10 milligrams is roughly the equivalent of one-eighth of a teaspoon of flour, or 18 slices of bread with each slice containing 20 ppm of gluten.

9. Does the FDA rule gluten-free labeling rule apply to foods served in restaurants and other retail food service establishments?
The FDA suggests that restaurants and other retail food service establishments use the same definition for gluten-free. There is no requirement.

10. What are the FDA and CDF doing about gluten-containing ingredients in drug products?
The FDA's Center for Drug Research and Evaluation (CDER) is reviewing the public comments it has received regarding options to limit gluten exposure from consumption of drug products.

CDF is asking the public to support the HR 2003: Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2013 sponsored by Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) which requires drug labels to contain a parenthetical statement identifying the source of any ingredient constituting or derived from a grain or starch.

Carolanne Le Blanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, June 10, 2016

I see Celiac's

Well I do. I can't seem to stop it. My daughter has asked me NOT to talk about it to others. She says "I see Celiac's" everywhere.  I can't help it.  After just thirty minutes of talking with someone about their health I can see it.  I'm an Herbalist…so I know a little bit about the Human Body.  I've had Gluten issues for over 25 years…so I know a little bit about living Gluten Free.  (Although I have had people advise me that since I'm still UN-diagnosed what I have to say is inconsequential.)  I'm also slightly Psychic when it comes to people’s health. And people actually pay me to help them with their personal issues.

So why is it that most people have a very strong "ignorance is bliss" attitude when it comes to Celiac Disease?? I have to admit that I once did as well. I think it's the word DISEASE that does it…my immediate reaction was "Oh no!! I don't have that!!" And it's very hard to live Gluten-Free. It's tough even under the best circumstances. So for some, I guess it's easier just to pretend it's not there and go on with life. After all, not everyone experiences the same debilitating symptoms that some do - at least not at first. Bathroom issues just become a way of life. And Doctors just love to prescribe drugs to mask the other symptoms.

Even in my own family circle I can spot the ones who have Celiac Disease. And I have a huge family…four generations!! But I'm the ONLY ONE who admits to it.  We have a very strong Celtic Heritage. And it’s always been my understanding that Celiac runs in the Celtic line.  We've had past relatives die of Colon Cancer…it seems to run in the family.  I listen now to the diseases, symptoms and complaints that others are living with…and I can see who they are.  But they don't want to hear it. I tell them that their health will improve immeasurably if they would only just try the diet…but it's too tough. It means giving up too many things that they just can't live without. So they don't want to hear it.  It's frustrating, but I can't do anything about it. So I've had to stop listening to their complaints.  That’s hard.

But I still see Celiac's. So instead, I work with those who recognize who they are. I help those who want help. And I cry every time I lose someone to a disease that could have been prevented or helped by simply changing their diet.  For myself, I’m much healthier now.  I still have my issues, but my diet is healthy - fruits & vegetables with just enough Gluten-Free carbohydrates to get me into trouble.  I’m happier, my attitude is better, I can travel pretty much where-ever I want to…life just goes on, just in a slightly different way.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Email: GlutenFreeInFlorida @
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, June 3, 2016

Healing...Gluten-Free, what's to eat??

I’m always getting questions from people who are desperate. They’re just sick of being sick. They’ve probably just gotten a diagnosis of Celica Disease, been handed a pamphlet by the Doctor and escorted out the door with a quick ‘good luck’ and left on their own. Suddenly discovering that there are 1,000’s of foods they can’t eat is traumatic enough…add to that after 6 months of restrictive eating they still often feel sick…and it’s enough to make anyone desperate.

People simply want to feel better. That’s not so hard to understand. But what people need to remember is that the first step is to heal the damage that’s already been done and if that took years to happen it might take time to repair. So be you need to be patient.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to stop a moment, take a step back and begin again with a slower approach. Yes, you want the Gluten out of your life – but it's not going to happen overnight. Give yourself a little time. I normally ask people to dedicate the first 6 weeks to just cleaning up their diet. Go back to basics. Instead of lamenting over what you can’t eat…why not focus on what you can.

This is a list of ‘beginner’ foods, things that are good for the body, pretty easy to digest and a great place to start. Use your common sense.  If something makes you sick, don’t eat it. If you have a hard time digesting food try soups and soft cooked foods at first. Remember the goal is to give your intestines a break…not create more work. There is nothing processed - if it comes in a can or box just put it back on the shelf. Do most of your shopping around the outer edges of the grocery store. Fresh or frozen is great…but make certain there are no ‘added’ ingredients. If you’re drinking juices…add an equal amount of filtered water. Stay away from the sugar…that’s a simple rule many of us should follow.  If you like your coffe or tea just remember to make it a bit weaker for a while.

Almond butter
Almond milk
Almond oil
Apple Cider
Asiago cheese
Avocado oil
Baking soda
Bay Leaf
Black beans
Black radish
Blue cheese
Bok Choy
Brazil nuts
Brick cheese
Brie cheese
Brussell sprout
Canola oil
Celery Root
Club soda
Coconut milk
Coconut oil
Collard greens
Colby cheese
Corn oil
Custard apple
Cottage Cheese
Edam cheese
Flax seed oil
Gouda cheese
Grape juice
Grapeseed oil
Green tea
Haricot beans
Havarti cheese
Kidney beans
Kiwi fruit
Lima beans
Macadamia oil
Manchego Cheese
Monterey Jack
Navy beans
Olive oil
Orange juice
Passion Fruit
Peanut butter
Peanut Oil
Peppermint tea
Pickles (dill)
Pine nuts
Pistachio nuts
Pork Rinds
Safflower oil
Scotch whisky
Sesame oil
Spearmint Tea
Split peas
Stilton cheese
String beans
Sunflower oil
Swiss cheese
Tabasco sauce
Tomato juice
Walnut oil
Water chestnut


Carolanne Le Blanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rudi's Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread

"Gluten-free doesn’t mean bread-free." 
"Made with stuff you can pronounce and ingredients you recognize"

O…M…G – that’s all I have to say.  Honestly.

I guess I’ll have to explain my death bed wish.  It’s ok…my daughters already know.  When I’m down to my last 30 minutes of life…I want two pieces of the best glutenous Cinnamon Raisin Toast with real butter - and a Boston Cream Donut of course.  I’ve been Wheat-Free, then Gluten-Free for nearly 20 years now so it’s been a looooong time since I’ve had a really good piece of bread.

Until the other day when I received a package from Rudi’s Bakery.  I tore into it like a kid into a Christmas package.  I’ve heard the rumors…this was supposed to be the best around.  Now I have to admit…I was expecting tasteless white bread.  And what did I find right there on top??  Gluten-Free Raisin Bread!!  Oh My Goodness!!  Raisin Bread.  I couldn’t wait to pop the first slice into the toaster.  I grabbed the butter out of the fridge while I waited.  I know…cold butter, warm crusty bread…I was going to make it work.  Oh, my kitchen smelled incredible while it toasted.  I pulled the Raisin toast out even before the bell had a chance to ring.

Five minutes later I sat down with my Gluten-Free Raisin toast and a nice cup of Tea.  I was in heaven, absolute and total heaven.  This was by far the tastiest bit of bread that I’ve had in decades.  And it had raisins!!  Not just one or two…like I’ve gotten in others I’ve tried…but many!!  Enough raisins for every single bite…plenty of raisins.  Did I mention taste??  This is wonderful bread - incredible toasted, nice and crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside with a great taste.

Now I do have to toaster has a tendency to burn the top crust of this bread.  I don't know why.  So I have to watch it while it's toasting...but I don't mind.  It is soooo worth the watch.

Instructions on the package state keep frozen.  I did that and pulled another slice out to defrost at room temperature…just to see how it was.  This bread is incredible without being toasted!!  Now that’s pretty much unheard of when it comes to Gluten-Free breads.  So the next day I made myself a Peanut Butter & Banana sandwich with room temperature bread and was incredibly impressed. 

I can’t wait to try this out on my Gluten Intolerance Group.  They’re going to love it!  And I guess now I’m going to have to change my death bed wish.  Hmmmm…a real Boston Cream Donut and I think perhaps my mom’s Mince Meat Pie.  That will do it!!

Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery
3300 Walnut Street # C
Boulder, CO   80301

Consumer Hotline: 877-293-0876
Phone: 303-447-0495
Fax: 303-447-0516

Water, raisins, potato extract, rice starch, rice flour, sorghum flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic high oleic sunflower/safflower oil, egg whites, yeast, sea salt, xanthan gum, organic cinnamon, organic molasses

Carolanne Le Blanc
Email: GlutenFreeInFlorida @
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, May 20, 2016

Shopping Gluten-Free

I like to support my local small business first.  I live in Florida and just hate seeing so many of our small businesses…some several generations old…closing up.  These days it just seems epidemic.  With more and more small businesses on the edge of survival, it’s become much more important for us to support them with our dollars.  My favorite go to place for Gluten-Free stuff is right around the corner.  And apparently they have a new online presence too!

Vitamin Outlet
3690 East Bay Drive in Largo, FL 33771
ph: (727) 536-0120, fax: (727) 538-9805

When I first bought my house over 12 years ago they weren’t too savvy about Celiac or Gluten-Free.  But they’ve gotten quite an education over the years, which is why I love small business.  They know me, they take the time to talk to me, they strive to keep me happy and they know the importance of great customer service.  Over the years they’ve become one of the best places to get anything Gluten-Free.  They’re knowledgeable, and willing to consider any requests.  And the store is just packed full of the most current choices!!  Granted, things may be a little more expensive…but I’m a firm believer that you always get what you pay for.  When I want the care and customer service that only a small business can provide I’m willing to pay the extra to get it.

Now my Publix Grocery across the street is offering some real competition.  It’s the largest Grocery Chain in Florida so they can offer cheaper prices on many of the items I use every day.  But what they carry is pretty mundane - basic items from some of the larger manufacturers and nothing too adventurous.  I love their new GF shelf labeling…but have to be careful…I’ve caught some items indicated as GF when they’re not.  Like Ezekiel’s bread – that is NOT Gluten-Free.

When I can’t find what I need locally, I automatically turn to my online best friend – Amazon at   Type in “Gluten-Free” and you’ll get over 10,892 choices!!  Scroll down a bit and select “Free Shipping” and your choices drop to over 4,190 results, but hey…I can deal with that.  I can shop to my heart’s content and not have to pay any shipping.  That’s almost as easy as a short stroll around the corner to my favorite Vitamin Outlet.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, May 13, 2016

Getting a LapBand with Celiac Disease - Part III

When I first considered getting a LapBand I tried to research any information about LapBands and Celiac Disease and the only thing I found were others asking the same answers. I'm hoping to help others who might be on the same search. Don't forget to check out Part I and Part II as well.

Well, I went for my first fill this week. That was interesting.  They had me lay down with a pillow at my lower back…poked around for the port…popped the needle in then helped me to sit back up again.  I’d been advised to bring in something cold to drink because it was easier to ‘feel’ it. So while I took a few sips she fidgeted with my fill. It was a bit weird…I really could feel the fluid stopping at the band while she timed it until I told her it had passed through.  I ended up with 3.5cc's for my first fill.  I think that it’s actually less than I really wanted because I was pretty nervous and anxious about it.  I know I’ll feel a bit more confident next time.

I lost a total of 8lbs between my pre-op and post-op visits…but felt I may have gained it all back while waiting for my first fill.  So I was pretty surprised when they told me that I had actually stayed the same.  Then I learned that I had lost an additional 6lbs and replaced it with 6lbs of muscle.  That was a good thing.  So I actually lost an additional 6 virtual pounds…lol!!  Now I know better…don’t get upset with a small gain or standstill until they check your BMI for virtual pounds…there may be a few lost pounds hidden in there.

I’m still using my food log…they’re very conscientious about keeping track of what I eat and making certain I stay on a healthy diet.  There are a few different ones out there but this is my favorite…  I've always been a healthy eater...real food, nothing processed, nothing white.  There was still room to make some small changes.  Sugar in the Raw for I'm using Agave syrup for most things...especially my morning coffee...half-caf, thank you very much :-)  And I do keep vanilla 60-calorie puddings in the fridge...for those times when I absolutely have to have something that seems like a treat.  When it comes to Gluten-Free replacements...breads, pasta, crackers, etc...I've always kept them to a minimum, but now I stay away from the white rice flours like the plague.  I've always preferred whole grain even if it was Gluten-Free.

As for my un-diagnosed Celiac Disease...I've been lucky.  The extreme dieting, the surgery, the pain medications, the recovery...I've managed to come through it all with very little trouble.  My tummy is just fine...I'm adjusting to the Band really well...and results are slow and steady...which is really fine with me.  Everyone's journey is a personal one.  When I had reached a crossroads in my life...there were very few answers for me.  Here's hoping you've been able to find some that have helped you.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, May 6, 2016

Celiac Disease Facts and Figures

Celiac Disease Facts and Figures
University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine.  When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the individual’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body.  Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.

Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States
• In average healthy people: 1 in 133
• In people with related symptoms: 1 in 56
• In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) 1 in 22
• In people with second-degree relatives (aunt, uncle, cousin) 1 in 39
• Estimated prevalence for African-, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans: 1 in 236
• Celiac disease affects at least 3 million Americans.
• Type 1 Diabetes affects 3 million people;
            6% (180,000) also have celiac disease.
• 610,000 women experience unexplained infertility;
            6% (36,600) also have celiac disease.
• 350,000 people are living with Down syndrome;
            12 % (42,000) also have celiac disease.

Celiac disease affects 1% of healthy, average Americans.  That means at least 3 million people in our country are living with celiac disease—97%of them are undiagnosed.

Putting Celiac Disease in Perspective:
• The number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. would fill 4,400 Boeing 747airplanes.
• It would take 936 cruise ships to hold every American with celiac disease.
• Fans with celiac disease could fill Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, 37 times.
• The number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. is roughly equal to the number of people living in the state of Nevada.
• Alaska, Delaware, Washington DC, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont all have populations that are less than 2,200,000 - the number of people living with celiac disease in the United States.

Carolanne Le Blanc
Email: GlutenFreeInFlorida @
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, April 29, 2016



Ultra-chewy, rich chocolate cookies with no added fat? And no gluten? Impossible! But it's true: these flourless chocolate cookies get their texture from egg whites, and their flavor from cocoa powder (which represents the only fat in the recipe). Plus they're easy to make: Just stir together a few simple ingredients, scoop onto a pan, and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. You won't believe the delicious result. 

Yes, this batter is supposed to be syrupy and sticky. If it's not, add more egg white until it drips from a spatula in a thick ribbon.  This recipe can be tricky to nail, especially the first time out…don’t get disappointed too soon.

Makes 16 large cookies or 32 smaller cookies

2 ¼ cups confectioners' sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tsp espresso powder, optional but good
1 cup cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process cocoa
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and/or chopped dried fruit, optional

1 Line two cookie sheets with parchment, and lightly grease the parchment. Yes, grease the parchment; these cookies are sticky, and need to be baked on a greased surface.

2 Whisk together the egg whites and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, except for the chips/nuts/fruit. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and stir again until smooth. The sticky batter will be the consistency of thick syrup. Add the chips and/or nuts, if you're using them.

3 Drop the syrupy batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3" circles (for large cookies), or 1 ¾  to 2" circles (for smaller cookies); a tablespoon cookie scoop or teaspoon cookie scoop, respectively, work well here. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

4 Bake the cookies for 7 minutes (for smaller cookies), 8 to 9 minutes for the larger cookies; they should spread slightly, become somewhat shiny, and develop faintly crackly tops. 

Note: large cookies with added chips/nuts will need to bake for 10 minutes.

5 Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan. When they're nearly cool, carefully loosen them from the pan with a spatula.

Yield: 16 large (3 ¼") cookies or 32 smaller (2 ½") cookies. With added chips/nuts: 2 dozen large cookies, or 4 dozen smaller cookies.