Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before I became gluten-free, I loved soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies.  In fact, chocolate chip was the only cookie I liked, and over years of experimentation I perfected a recipe that stayed soft and moist for days after baking.  After becoming gluten-free, my tastes and preferences didn’t change, but I started to settle for inferior cookies just so I could eat them! 

Gluten-free cookies are notoriously hard and crumbly, with the overpowering taste of sugar to cover up the nasty aftertaste of the binders.  I went from bakery to bakery in search of the perfect GF cookie only to be continually disappointed, so I did what any desperate person would do: I baked my own!

This recipe is a mingling of the chocolate chip cookie recipes from Cooking Free by Carol Fenster and The New Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated.  The most important tip to remember when making any sort of cookie or quick bread is to not over-mix the ingredients, and this is doubly important with GF baking.  Over-mixing will lead to too much air being incorporated into the dough, and the result is air bubbles and a fallen cake or cookie because there is no gluten to hold it together.  Also, in the case of these cookies, if you over-cream the butter, the cookie will spread too much.

Keep in mind that every kitchen and every oven is different, so cooking times will vary.  I also prefer my cookies slightly undercooked for a gooey center, so just keep checking your cookies until YOU think they’re done.  You may even need to bake the recipe a couple of times just to perfect it.  Don’t be shy!  Bake away and enjoy delicious, gluten-free, soft and chewy cookies!

Soft and Chewy GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

¼ cup butter, melted or ¼ cup walnut oil
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/6 cup brown rice flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
1 cup GF chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)

1.     Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and grease 13 x 9 inch non-stick baking sheet (or line it with parchment paper).
2.     In a medium bowl, mix butter and sugar until just combined.  Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
3.     In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just mixed together.  Do not over-mix!
4.     Add the chocolate chips (and nuts, if using).
5.     Drop cookie dough in 1 to 2 tablespoon-sized chunks onto the prepared tray.  If you are using oil, spread the cookies out slightly, as they won’t spread on their own.
6.     Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The cookies should appear slightly under-done, and should firm up when cooled. 
7.     Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wax paper to cool completely.  Do not use a cooling rack.  The cookies will be slightly crumbly when removed from the oven, but they will come together when cooled.
8.     Enjoy warm and tasty goodness!

Makes 16-24 cookies

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