In the past few months I’ve had to prepare for and adhere to a low-iodine diet as part of preparations for radio-iodine treatment (radiotherapy).
I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of what’s prescribed, but it does put massive restrictions on your diet – an overview is no eggs, dairy, soya, fish, shellfish, sea veg, sea salt, certain e-numbers, limited meat and limited grains. If you get really into it (which you invariably do, being in charge of your own health makes you incredibly anxious) you start questioning everything you put in your mouth and finding iodine in everything.
I spent a lot of the three weeks struggling when it came to snacks. There are only so many unsalted nuts and slices of apple with cashew nut butter on that you can take.
Thanks to a greater understanding of intolerances, there are plenty of free-from recipes out there. As I’d been eating (water made) porridge every morning, I was pretty fed up of sweet oats, so I tinkered with a few different recipes until I amalgamated a few to create this one, which isn’t too sweet. The cacao nibs (raw chocolate) add a savoury bite and using unsweetened cranberries (or sour cherries if you can’t find them), cuts the sweetness. Feel free to used the normal sweetened ones if you prefer.
I made these salt free, so check there’s no salt added to the tahini etc if you want to follow suit, but I’ve not ruled out salt in this recipe (however I made them without and they tasted fab).
Unlike a lot of free from recipes, this one doesn’t include any weird or highly-processed ingredients and is really quick to make.
IMPORTANT NOTE: most oats aren’t gluten free as they are ‘contaminated’ with flour from the milling process. I found gluten free ones in my local, large supermarket, so they’re not hard to find.
Pecan, Chocolate and Cranberry Gluten/Dairy/Egg Free Cookies
Makes about 10 – prep time 10 mins – cook time 15 mins
– 3 tblsp tahini (salt free if you’re cutting out salt too)
– 4 tblsp maple syrup (onion vegans can use runny honey here)
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– pinch of salt (optional)
– 65g gluten free porridge oats (additive free)
– 30g pecans, chopped
– 30g dried, unsweetened cranberries
– 1 tblsp cacao nibs (can replace with free-from/vegan choc if easier; I wanted recipe to be additive free)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c fan and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl add the tahini, maple syrup, cinnamon and optional salt, stir together.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. The mixture is quite stiff, but you might need to add an extra tblsp of syrup if it won’t come together. Or add a tblsp vegetable oil instead.
4. Using a dessert spoon, scoop out the mixture and put dollops on the baking sheet. Press down the dollop a little. The mixture doesn’t spread loads, so you’ll roughly know the size of the cookie from the dollop you make, so you can adjust to suit.
5. Pop into the oven for between 10 and 15 mins, until they are golden all over and beginning to brown at the edges.
6. Leave to cool on the baking sheets as they’re very delicate and only move to a rack when they are mostly cooled.
7. They’ll keep in a tin for about four days before they start to dry out. Enjoy.
Ps don’t be tempted to overdo the cacao nibs – they pack a bit of a punch!