Updated in 2023! Cooking with alternative ingredients can be expensive and challenging, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t have many retail options. So I like to share creative wholesome solutions that won’t break the bank. These allergy-friendly healthy cookies use cost-effective ingredients that are loaded with nutrition, and they taste delicious! Plus, they can be naturally free of whatever top allergens you need to avoid.
Allergy-Friendly Healthy Cookies with Options for All
This recipe for allergy-friendly healthy cookies was originally shared with us by Amy Green, M.Ed., author of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. She used to run a very popular blog, but retired to focus on family. Fortunately, we still have this great recipe, which was tested and loved by many of her readers. We have added some of their options in the FAQs below!
Can I Substitute Wheat Flour if I Don’t Need Gluten Free?
Yes, you can! You can use a wheat flour instead of the basic flour blend and omit the xanthan gum. Most types of whole wheat flour, spelt flour, or all-purpose flour should work fine. If the dough is a little too sticky, just sprinkle in a little more flour. If it’s too dry, you can mix in a splash of liquid. According to Amy, “Though I make them gluten-free, some of the people that read my blog shared their successful wheat variations.”
I’m Allergic to Sesame! What Can I Substitute?
See the notes! We’ve included options for using sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, or more oats, instead. If you are okay with nuts, you could alternatively toast up sliced almonds in place of the sesame seeds. Or, you could substitute chopped dried fruit or dairy-free chocolate chips! If you don’t have an issue with tree nuts, you can even substitute your favorite chopped nuts.
Can I Use Maple Syrup instead of Apple Juice Concentrate?
You can! It will be much sweeter. I would use just 1/3 cup, and then add enough water to reach the liquid level needed in the recipe. One of Amy’s readers uses 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup apple juice concentrate. Another liquid sweetener, such as honey, could also be used. One reader mentioned that she successfully made this substitute, and also increased the raisins to 1 cup.
Does the Gluten-Free Flour Blend Taste Beany?
No, according to Amy, this blend isn’t beany at all once it’s baked. “It’s become a favorite of mine because it works as a one to one substitution in nearly everything I’ve tried it in. I keep a big container mixed up and store it in the refrigerator.”
What is Garbanzo Fava Bean Flour? Can I Substitute It?
It’s a blend of garbanzo and fava bean flours. You can substitute just garbanzo bean / chickpea flour if preferred. Chickpea flour is produced by many brands and is more readily available in grocery stores.
What Can I Substitute for the Sorghum Flour?
You can use brown rice flour or oat flour instead.
Can I Use Just One Type of Starch?
Tapioca starch is lighter while potato starch is denser. You can use just one type for all of the starch, but it will vary the results a little. You could also substitute cornstarch in a pinch.
Can I Use a Premade Gluten-Free Flour Blend?
Any gluten-free flour blend should work just fine. If your blend already has gums added, you can omit the xanthan gum. Since various flours and starches thicken differently, adjust the dough as needed. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour blend. But if it’s too dry, splash in a little more water.
Special Diet Notes: Allergy-Friendly Healthy Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, added sugar-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- ½ cup raisins
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 1¼ cups Amy’s Basic Flour Blend (see below)
- 1¼ cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
- Cover the raisins with the water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1½ minutes and set aside to soak for at least 10 minutes.
- Drain the raisins and reserve the soaking water. Chop the raisins coarsely.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the sesame seeds. Toast by stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until they begin to turn golden and are fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the toasted sesame seeds, flour blend, oats, cinnamon, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.
- Put the thawed apple juice concentrate in a glass measuring cup. Add the reserved raisin water and 2 tablespoons oil. If necessary, add water to equal a total of 1⅛ cups liquid.
- Add the raisins to the dry ingredients and then stir in the wet ingredients.
- Cover and refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Use a spring-release ice cream scoop (yes, a big one) to evenly portion the batter onto your prepared baking sheet. Use moist fingertips to flatten the cookies to about ½-inch thick.
- Bake the cookies for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
- Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, then individually wrap and freeze the leftovers.
Sesame-Free Option: You can substitute sunflower seed or flaxseed for the sesame seeds. If using flaxseed, skip the toasting step. For seed-free cookies, omit the seeds and increase the oats to 1¾ cups. If you are okay with tree nuts, sliced almonds or chopped walnuts or pecans are also good substitutes for the sesame seeds.