AIP Cranberry Coconut Cookies

Here is a brand spankin’ new cookie recipe for all of my fellow autoimmune warriors, and just in time for Christmas! By the way, even my husband, who has no health issues and eats a typical all-American diet, gave these his approval. And that’s saying a lot – he has given me the sideways “not sure why you’d want to eat this” look at more than a handful of my AIP recipe creations before. But not this one! These cookies are awesome, largely because they actually taste like a cookie is supposed to taste – crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and a bit sweet (although not too sweet in this case, since I have to avoid sugar. You can always add a bit more if you’re not on AIP!).

Anyone who has done their fair share of experimentation with AIP cookie recipes knows that the simple act of baking a good cookie can be an enormous feat on this diet. We have to avoid so many things that are normally found in your average cookie…gluten-containing flour; any flour made from grain, in fact; eggs; butter; sugar (the strictest form of AIP does indeed recommend avoiding all sugar); chocolate; store-bought baking powder (due to the aluminum content)…did I forget anything? Baking a cookie that tastes even marginally good on this diet is an accomplishment! Early in my AIP days, I scrolled through the Google results for AIP cookie recipes and eagerly tried the first few I came across, only to be sorely disappointed. Several of them came out gooey – more like gluey, actually, and/or dry as sawdust, and/or tasteless, and/or falling apart in my hands (due to the lack of gluten and eggs). What’s a cookie lover to do on this diet? Well, I’m glad you asked, because you have come to the right place! Only by trying and failing at various recipes, and ordering dozens of non-grain flours from Amazon and cooking with them all, and spending hours in the kitchen baking and tasting, can you really figure out which AIP-approved ingredients work well together. And let me tell you, not all of them are friends! Only certain ingredients come together nicely to form a great cookie, in my opinion. But while an AIP cookie that is really good may be hard to find, it is not impossible. As long as you’re willing to make it yourself, of course. But then, living with any autoimmune disease requires much perseverance, as does following the AIP diet. As much as I love to cook, the hours that I spent in the kitchen preparing my meals the first few months left me close to tears some days. Not because I didn’t want to be cooking, but because I had other things I needed to do that day! Animals to tend to, a daughter to pick up from school and take to lessons, housework, writing, etc. The AIP can feel like a full-time job in the beginning!

But if you are new to this diet (and by “new” I mean in the first 3 months or so), take heart. It will not be this is time-consuming forever. For one thing, you will get faster at your meal planning and prepping for the week. And second, you will eventually be able to add some foods back into your diet. Slowly, yes, but they will come. And every single food you add back will be a victory and will make it easier you to find more dishes to cook and food combinations to eat. I remember just a few months ago when I reintroduced cashews and found that – voila! – I could tolerate them. I was so excited! My husband, however, was nonplussed. He could not fathom why adding one little nut to your diet was noteworthy. I explained that when your entire diet consists of about 30 foods, adding any new food is a huge deal! I still get inordinately happy when I eat cashew butter or snack on some trail mix with the nuts in it. It’s the little things, you know?

But I digress. Back to cookies. Please find the recipe below for these terrific cranberry coconut cookies, full of AIP goodness. Not only are they delicious, they are super fast to make, which cannot be said for every AIP recipe! If you’d like to add mix-ins besides (or in addition to) the cranberries and coconut, please share in the comments, I’d love to hear!

AIP Cranberry Coconut Cookies

Yield: 9-10 cookies

2 Tbs. palm shortening (Spectrum is sustainably sourced, organic, and delicious!)

2 Tbs. unsweetened applesauce

2 tsp. pure maple syrup

1 tsp. coconut sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2/3 c. tigernut flour (Anthony’s is my favorite; it has a great taste and is reasonably priced)

1/3 c. arrowroot powder

1 Tbs. gelatin

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 c. fresh cranberries, halved

1/2 c. unsweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, cream palm shortening, applesauce, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and vanilla. I like to do this with a hand mixer in order to blend the shortening very thoroughly with the other ingredients.

Add all dry ingredients except for cranberries and coconut, and blend well.

Stir in cranberries and coconut.

Drop by 2 Tbs. portions onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.

Let cool and enjoy!!

These cookies, like many gluten-free baked goods, have the best texture the day they are made. They still taste great the next day, though! For longer storage, wrap individually and freeze.