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Recipe: Molasses Spice Cookies (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

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Molasses Spice Cookies
Molasses Spice Cookies

As special diets become increasingly common, holiday baking seems to get more and more complicated. One person can't have gluten, another is allergic to nuts ... and what about the vegans and folks who've sworn off sugar? Well, here's a cookie for all (or at least most) of us. Crisp on the outside with a soft, chewy center, this molasses spice cookie is very much like the classic version yet miraculously free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, gums, and refined sugar. 

Note: Although the cookies are sweetened only with molasses and sucanat or coconut palm sugar, the ones pictured here were rolled in raw cane sugar for a festive, sparkly appearance. You can certainly skip that step if you wish, and they will still be scrumptious. 

Molasses Spice Cookies
Adapted from from Cook's Illustrated
Makes about 2 dozen

1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds
3 tablespoons warm water
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup solid unrefined coconut oil 
2/3 cup sucanat or coconut palm sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup raw cane sugar for dipping (optional) 

Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Stir together the ground chia seeds and warm water in a small bowl. Set aside to thicken. 

Whisk together the flours, starches, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil and sucanat (or coconut palm sugar) at medium speed until well combined. Add the chia seed mixture and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the molasses and beat until combined, periodically scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture, periodically scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that the flour is fully incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. 

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into your palm and roll it into a 1 1/2-inch ball. Optionally, coat the ball with raw sugar. Place the ball on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls 2 inches apart. 

Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are puffy and set around the edges but still soft in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. 

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Like most gluten-free baked goods, these are best eaten within a day or two.

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