19 Aug Cookies for Autistic Kids
Mother’s of children on the Autism spectrum have been asking me for this recipe for a few years now, so I’ve decided to post it for other special needs therapists. I’ve worked with enough children on the Autism spectrum to admit that at times you have to use bribes to get them to do what you want. If you’re the parent of an autistic child then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re lucky if some autistic children respond, copy or interact with you, so if you find something they like, it can come in handy as a bribing tool in difficult times.
This recipe is obviously not just for autistic children and it certainly doesn’t claim any benefits! It’s just that out of the different special needs children I’ve worked with, more parents of Autism are trying gluten and dairy free diets. Most parents will have at some point, at least gone through a phase of attempting going gluten and dairy free, because of the press claiming them as possible perpetrators of autism. The fact that there’s still no cure or treatment, is hard enough on parents, but often the most frustrating aspect is there is no known definitive cause. Therefore unlike other types of special needs, this uncertainty causes parents to desperately keep trying new treatment ideas.
So now that I’ve explained why I started to make yummy gluten and dairy free bribes I’ll get on with this very easy and quick recipe. However, I don’t own measuring cups or use scales because when I finally perfected it I didn’t have those with me. So you’ll just have to try to find a bowl and spoon about the same size as mine in the photo! Either way play around with the quantities and ingredients. Adding ginger and cinnamon could work as the base is bland enough to be creative. Be warned that when I tried it with Agave instead of honey they came out much less sweet and mushier, as it’s more liquid than honey. I personally like them slightly crispy around the outside and gooier in the middle but you may want to make them a bit harder, or even bigger or flatter… This I’m afraid is just a guide, so have fun with it and please post any success stories or ideas below! NOTE: This recipe is NOT suitable for anyone with a nut allergy.
ORGANIC CHOC CHIP GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE COOKIES(now you see why I just call them my cookies for autistic kids!)
Preparation time 5 minutes. Cooking time 7 minutes.
WHAT YOU NEED
NOTE: I’ve only ever tried this with organic products as I’m lucky to have them all reasonably priced near by, but I’m sure it works fine with conventional, baring in mind certain additives etc can affect consistency, taste and texture. Also at the beginning I was making my own nut butters but the recipe really worked when I managed to source all my ingredients ready for me.
1 Egg beaten
2 level tablespoons (enough so you don’t see any more beaten egg below) of Poppy Seeds (brilliant for kids that claim not to like nuts or seeds as they don’t seem to mind these)
1/4 teaspoon pure Baking Soda
2 level tablespoons of 80% cocoa Chocolate Chips, organic & dairy free
1 small handful of nuts crushed/quick blend (I prefer using pecan nuts because I love them and they’re sweeter and softer than other nuts. I use about 15 pecans and usually crush them in with my hand. I only use a few and blend them finer with the machine if I’m going to top each one with a whole pecan at the end..). If you don’t like crunchy nuts in your cookies then you can add more poppy seeds for some more texture.
1 teaspoon of pure Vanilla extract
1 over-running tablespoon of pure organic Honey
2 heaped tablespoons of pure Almond Butter
1 heaped tablespoon of pure Hazelnut Butter
(extra pecans to top if desired)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Lay cooking paper over an oven tray and set aside.
I have one big bowl that I beat the egg in first and then put the rest of the ingredients on top in the order of the list above. Simple as that! Only then do I stir it all well with a wooden spoon for about a minute (watch out for lumps of nut butter that need to be mixed in well. I take mine out of the fridge 30 mins before I start preparing so the butters aren’t as hard).
Using 2 small teaspoons, heap the mixture on to one of them and use the other spoon to slide it on to the parchment paper. IT SHOULD NOT BE LIQUID or running off the spoon. Keep placing your dollops of mixture along the parchment paper about 2cm apart.
They will melt slightly in the oven before they start to cook so make sure there’s some space in between, especially if you’ve made them runnier for a softer cookie.
Place the tray in the oven and voila, time to wash up! Keep an eye on them as they cook quite quick. I take mine out after 11 minutes and slide them straight onto a plate so they don’t keep cooking in the heat of the tray. Leave them longer if you like harder cookies or pat the dough dollops down when on the parchment paper, if you want to try a larger flatter biscuit type.
Give them a few minutes to cool down a bit and then enjoy! I love them when they’ve just come out of the oven, but once they’ve cooled to room temperature put them in a tight tupperware ASAP so they don’t dry out. There’s no preservatives after all, so you’ll have to gobble the up in a couple of days!
Charlie started giving yoga therapy tochildren, especially Autism spectrum, ADHD and PDD-NOS over 6 years ago. She has taken courses with Sonia Sumar and the Rainbow Kids Yoga, and worked consistently with the autistic son of a British Ambassador for 4 years. Together with her psychology degree, persistent research and unique approach to each individual, she manages to connect with children of all minds and bodies.