Ch ch ch chia

chia spice cookies.jpg
In my first experiment with chia gel, I made these molasses spice cookies using chia gel instead of oil. Chia gel is made from chia seeds, which are supposed to be a superfood, packed with antioxidants, low in fat, and, you know, just generally super awesome. Now, those of you who know me know I am all about baked goods, and I do not like “healthful” substitutions. If I’m going to have a sweet treat, I want it to be processed and refined and white.
chia gel.jpg
So, I did not get chia seeds for trick baking. I was influenced to give them a try after reading about what an amazing endurance food they are in the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. This book talks about the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who are incredible runners. I highly recommend this book, though I suppose it’d be more interesting if you are a runner and into the whole barefoot/natural running phenomenon (remember my toe spreaders?).
Anyway, chia gel can be used as a substitute for oil and butter and can be added to food as an extender or to pack in some extra nutrients. Years ago I had a pumpkin cake made with chia gel, and I don’t remember it tasting weird or anything. I suspected that maybe cookies made with chia gel might be a little odd, and I was right. The recipe I used is for a chewy molasses spice cookie. Instead, I got a cakey, spongey cookie (I did add a tad more flour than was called for, though, because the dough seemed very soft). For those concerned with texture, this might be an issue, but you know, the flavor is there. I decided they would benefit from some icing, so there you go.
Read on for the recipe …

Spice Cookies with Chia Gel
2/3 cup chia gel* (the original recipe calls for 2/3 cup oil)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the chia gel, sugar, molasses, and egg in a bowl and beat until well mixed. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined. It’s supposed to be a stiff dough, but mine was really super soft. I guess I could have chilled it, but I was impatient and just added a bit more flour.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake until crackly on top (mine never got crackly. They just rose and got cakey), about 12 minutes. Cool on rack.
For the icing, I combined a pat of melted butter with about 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and dripped in some lemon juice.
*Chia gel: I ordered my seeds online, but you can find them in most natural foods stores. To make the gel, you combine 1 part chia seeds with 9 parts water. I read that you should dump the seeds into the water instead of the other way around. Whisk to combine, let sit for a few minutes, whisk again, then let sit for about 10 minutes. It’ll turn into a gel. It’s weird stuff. Stir again before you add it to your batter.

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9 Responses to Ch ch ch chia

  1. megan says:

    Marcy was just telling me about chia seeds! i guess i better check it out!

  2. David M. says:

    They look pretty yummy to me. I’ve never heard of this chia gel…sounds rather interesting. I should tell my mother about it, as she’s the reigning baking queen (to me, at least:)
    – David

  3. Lydia says:

    It’s not the chia gel that bothers me so much, but the cakey cookies. I get shivers just at the thought of cakey cookies; I’ll have mine crisp. You always keep us guessing what you’ll post about next.

  4. suzanne says:

    I had NO IDEA you could order a bit of chia? Did it make you strap on your Firestone huaraches and go for a 50 mile run? The cookies sound pretty great for a semi healthy food at least…
    I am still thinking about Born to Run and I read it weeks ago. Good times!

  5. Amy says:

    I have never heard of chia gel, does it have any flavor? I will be on the lookout for it, thanks.

  6. Seanna Lea says:

    I like the idea of cookies as a food to help with running, and it isn’t any weirder than the sports beans and other energy snacks that companies are coming up with to market to runners (the Luna gummies weren’t actually bad, but I’d never eat them during a run).

  7. Hm… interesting. And we were just researching chia seeds and the like. My friend has been using Salba (chia seeds in disguise) for a couple months now and swears it’s the best thing ever! Hmmmm…

  8. melissa f. says:

    well, i like cakey cookies and these were pretty damn good. augie liked them especially and took care of at least three.

  9. Susan says:

    I don’t like cakey cookies either. 🙁
    I recently read this interesting book that was a collection of essays and biographical stories from a guy whose brother was a scientist studying anatomy and the human body as compared to animals’, and his theory was that humans could run down antelope because our endurance is greater. He studied all these native cultures with histories of running down these animals and it was really interesting from a science perspective. The rest of the book was good but I didn’t love the author’s hardline attitude as far as his way of life and his notions of how much other people should conform to his ideas.

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