Salmon-a-Go-Go Cookies

Salmonberries are plentiful this time of year. These juicy berries range in color from bright yellows to vibrant oranges to deep reds (we've actually always called the yellow/orange ones 'Russian Berries,' not sure why, but I'm sure it's not politically correct....). They get their name because they look like salmon roe (eggs) and both people and bears devour them. They are similar to raspberries (which means they have to be good, right?) and they make delicious pies, jam, syrup and cookies. We’ve never given them to Rylee before, until a few days ago. I decided, why not. Raspberries were not too good for him in the past, but that was two years ago and the one thing I know for sure, is his intolerances change, often. So far, so good. It was so much fun to go berry picking with him. He’d get so excited when he saw a “good” one (which was all of them), yelling “Mom, mom, I see one.” He’d pick it and inform me, “ohhhh....well, I should eat this one” or put one in the bowl, then quickly grab it back out because, obviously, his mouth is a much better place for his berries then a boring, cold, plastic bowl.

So, what to do with these berries. I found a pie-filling recipe I really want to tweak and try and I also want to try it in my raspberry jam recipe, using salmonberries instead, but I had found a cookie recipe already and thought, yum, these would be a good addition. The cookie recipe was not gluten-free; it’s called Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. Well, they may make a vegan happy, but not Ry. He needed some changes, okay a lot of changes. I needed to first switch out the flour so they were gluten-free, not use the chocolate chips because there aren’t any he can have, change the oil, take out the vanilla (I don’t have a corn-free one, any suggestions?) and use corn-free baking powder. Whew! Actually, the only big deal was the flour. I decided to try a simple mixture I know works well in cake recipes- sorghum, tapioca flour and guar gum.

We also have goji (go-jee) berries that have been sitting in our pantry for awhile and I still hadn’t tried them in a recipe, so they replaced the chips. I think I may be evil, what kind of mom trades out chocolate chips for goji berries? Yep, this one. Not because I don’t want Ry to get treats, I just don’t want him to flare up. Someday, his gut will be in good health and he can devour all the chocolate chips his tummy can handle :-) (I may be crazy, but I really do believe this). So back to the goji berries, these little superfoods are packed with some really good ju-ju. They are a big antioxidant, used in baking, smoothies, tea, etc. They were a great addition to the cookies and since I’ve never baked with them, that was good to find out. In all honesty, these cookies still need some tweaking, but straight out of the oven, they held together, they were moist and their flavor was delicious. Both the boys loved them (and my parents, Mike and I).

Yesterday, Ry came down with a tummy ache. At first, I thought it was a cookie-overdose, but now that it still is hanging on, I’m thinking he may actually have the flu. But he has had so few cookies in his life, he really couldn’t get enough- I had to set some limits :-). One last thing, I was trying to go for that nice, catchy name- it came down to Salmon-a-Go-Go or Go-Salmon-Go, cheesy I know, but I was having fun. Plus, think of your reaction when you read salmon cookies, yuck!?! Oh but they are so good!

Salmon-a-Go-Go Cookies

1-1/4 cup sorghum flour*

3/4 cup tapioca flour

3/4 teaspoon guar gum

2 teaspoons corn-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup goji berries (soak them in hot water for five minutes before using)

1 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup palm shortening, melted

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup salmonberries

*This recipe will work much better if you use all of your ingredients at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together sorghum flour, tapioca flour, guar gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and soaked goji berries (with water drained). After mixing, make a whole in the middle. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the melted palm shortening. Mix well and add the water, mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the whole in the dry ingredients, mix together well. Be cautious not to overmix the cookie dough.

Place spoonfuls on cookie sheets and then gently press a few salmonberries into the top of the dough, careful not to smash the cookies too flat. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees (the original recipe called for about 10 minutes, but my parents oven tends to need 5 more minutes than what recipes call for, so just keep a close eye on them). I found that they were still too soft at 10 minutes. The original recipe (not for gluten-free) said to pull them out when you think they are still too soft because they will harden up; however, I found that mine didn’t harden too much.

We put some of them in a tupperware overnight and they kind of turned into a mushy, tasty concoction. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is we may need to work on the gluten-free flour blend more than the actual baking time- more guar gum, some applesauce? not sure, yet. However, what they lacked in structure they sure made up for in flavor. I also want to try them in a glass pan, in cookie bar form. If you try them, let me know any ideas/suggestions you may have. Enjoy!