Shauna’s food blog was one of the very first I discovered, and I’ve always loved her work, but this book has really exceeded my expectations. The photography (by the exceptionally talented Penny De Los Santos) is wonderful, and I really adore the short and sweet headnotes: they make the book a true pleasure to read. Perhaps my favorite thing about the book, though, is the “Feel Like Playing?” blurb that accompanies many of the recipes. This is where Shauna notes different ways you can change up the dish, and it’s genius.
I’ve cooked from Gluten-Free Girl Every Day over the past few months (I don’t review books here unless I’ve made and enjoyed at least three recipes). Today I’d like to share these delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, ever so slightly adapted from the book.
One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Shauna is her dedication to the development of flour combinations that make gluten-free baked goods not taste gluten free. You see, when I eat gluten free, it is by choice…not necessity. I have neither celiac disease nor a gluten sensitivity, so if I am going to eat gluten-free cookies, they damn well better taste good (so many gluten-free baked goods simply don’t). My family and some friends we had staying with us really loved these chocolate chip cookies!
The flour in these cookies is Shauna’s Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour Mix, a combination of nutrient-dense teff flour, millet flour, and buckwheat flour. That’s all: nothing weirdly starchy or devoid of wholesomeness. You make up a batch of it by combining 300 grams of each of the flours. (A scale is really a must for successful gluten-free baking: this is the one I have.) In the book, Shauna mentions that you may swap out the buckwheat flour for oat flour or sorghum flour. (Be aware that not everyone with celiac disease will tolerate oat flour.)
The recipe calls for hazelnuts and I didn’t have any on hand, but I recently heard from someone “in the know” (Shauna’s editor Justin!) that not adding the hazelnuts was a BIG mistake. Because there’s that whole nutella-like aspect if you use the hazelnuts, you know? So next time I make these, I won’t leave the hazelnuts out.
Shauna’s recipe is below, and I’ve put the slight changes I made in parantheses. Also note that I sprinkled a bit of coarse sea salt (I like Celtic Sea Salt) on top of the cookies as soon as they came out of the oven. I almost always do this when I make chocolate chip cookies: the salt really intensifies the flavor of the chocolate ;)
Recipes for Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: about 20 cookies
*210 grams Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour Mix (see description in the body of this post above)
*1 teaspoon whole or powdered psyllium husks (I omitted this ingredient)
*3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used fine sea salt instead)
*3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
*1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
*8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
*1⁄2 packed cup dark brown sugar
*1⁄2 cup sucanat or white sugar (I used fair-trade, organic sugar)
*1 large egg, at room temperature
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 1⁄3 cup bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces (I chopped my chocolate a bit larger, I think)
*1⁄2 cup cracked hazelnuts (I omitted these, but I'll be sure to include them next time)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combining the dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, psyllium husks, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until they have become one color.
3. Creaming the butter and sugar: Add the cold butter cubes to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, run the mixer on medium speed until the butter is creamy and softened. Add the brown sugar and sucanat. Blend them together on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix until all traces of egg disappear into the batter. Mix in the vanilla.
4. Finishing the batter: With the mixer running, add the flour a scoop at a time. When all the flour has been added and all trace of flour has disappeared into the batter, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate and hazelnuts. Mix until just combined. Turn the cookie dough out of the bowl onto a clean surface. If there is any flour, chocolate, or hazelnuts left in the bowl, mix them to the dough.
5. Baking the cookies: Scoop 30 grams of cookie dough into your hands. Shape it into a ball. Put it on the lined baking sheet, then flatten it a bit with your palm. Smooth out the edges of the cookie disc. Repeat until you end up with 6 cookies on the baking sheet with about 3 inches of space between them.
6. Bake until the edges are crisp and the center is still soft to the touch, about 12 minutes, turning the tray 180 degrees in the oven halfway through baking. Carefully move the parchment paper to a counter and bake the rest of the cookies.
Feel Like Playing?
Need I tell you that these cookies are best warm from the oven? However, you do need to let them cool a bit before you eat them. Hot out of the oven, they are still a little fragile. Just warm to the touch, they are heaven.
If you can’t find hazelnuts, walnuts will do just fine.
These cookies also improve in flavor if you refrigerate the dough overnight. You can roll the dough into 3 logs, cover them in plastic wrap, and have cookie dough waiting to make a couple of cookies an evening, if you prefer.
Adapted just slightly from Gluten-Free Girl Every Day by Shauna James Ahern with Daniel Ahern. Photography by Penny De Los Santos. Copyright 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.