I’ve had some teff flour lying around (who doesn’t?) so I looked online for some recipes that called for this rather exotic flour. I stumbled upon several peanut butter teff cookie recipes, and I thought – hey, it doesn’t get any better than that. I believe the recipes originate here.
Do you know anything about teff? It’s a very ancient grain used in Ethiopian fermented flatbread called Injera. They basically make an enormous plate of it and place the heavily sauced food on top, and everyone around the table breaks off pieces of the spongy bread and uses it to eat the meat and vegetable dish placed on top.
What interests me most is that teff flour is chock full of minerals, is naturally gluten free and has a decent protein to carbohydrate ratio – not the best, but better even than whole wheat flour.
I’ve been trying to introduce more natural sugar substitutes to bring my triglycerides down to normal levels. In order to not alienate the purists, I’ve included an optional naturally-sugared version.
The best I’ve found in terms of sugar substitutes is Xylitol (even if the name makes it sound really chemical). Stevia is too bitter, agave syrup is really just a simple sugar with glucose and fructose, and Splenda (not available here) doesn’t have the same consistency as granulated sugar and therefore its baked desserts don’t turn out as well.
Xylitol is far from perfect if you read about its side effects (here, for instance), but it’s made from the fiber of various foods and birch trees, which seems like it can’t be all that bad. All in all, I think sugar poses a greater risk to certain people than false sugars because of insulin resistance, and I think I am one of them. I guess it all depends on your physiological makeup.
But these cookies tasted great and work well with the substitution. For those of you who shun sugar substitutes, the original recipe states that a half cup of maple syrup works really well in place of the xylitol.
Don’t worry about how dark the dough is – think “healthy!” “whole grain!” Then get ready to form your balls of dough. When you’ve placed them all on the baking sheet, 12 to a sheet, you’ll want to hold the sides and press a fork down lightly in an effort to flatten them, first one way
then another in a criss-cross pattern.
Since there is no gluten to make it all stick together, I don’t even bother to remove them from the tray for at least 10 minutes. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
(You may need a spoon for the ones eaten right out of the oven – once you’ve refrigerated the rest, they can be eaten out of hand like any normal gluten cookie).
And if you fear you’re not skilled enough to bake with exotic flours, you just need to teffen up a bit. Anyone can do it!
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup xylitol or ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1½ cups teff flour
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.
- Put the egg and xylitol in a bowl.
- Add the vanilla, salt, baking powder and soda.
- Add the oil.
- Mix together.
- Add the peanut butter and teff flour.
- Mix again.
- Form balls, 12 to a tray.
- Press a fork down to flatten the balls in a criss-cross pattern.
- Bake for 8 minutes per tray (turning the tray halfway through the baking time).
- Let them cool before removing from tray.
- Refrigerate the cookies that you don't eat right away.