I just returned from my first IFBC (International Food Blogger’s Conference) in Seattle and I am still trying to absorb all the information gained and recuperate from the fun late nights, amazing food and delicious wine. While I am still a little groggy, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes from last year, when I was still learning to bake gluten-free. You don’t have to be gluten-free to enjoy these cookies, just follow the directions for using regular all-purpose flour in place of the GF blend.
Today’s recipe was my first try at mixing my own blend of gluten-free flours and I was very pleased with the results. I created it to see how some of the other flours behaved and to experience their flavor and texture. The sorghum added a lovely note of nuttiness. This may be my new favorite cookie and might just become yours too!
It is a really nice blend of flavors without the grittiness that often accompanies gluten-free baked goods. I use Authentic Foods finely ground rice flours and it makes a huge difference in the final products. There is a sense of oatmeal even though there isn’t any in here so if you or your children have issues with oats, this would be a good substitute for oatmeal cookies. The combination of flours and coconut make these closer to an ANZAC cookie than a traditional chocolate chip and I love the combination!
As a lifelong baker, it is amazing that it took so long for me to bite the bullet and get a kitchen scale for weighing ingredients. Now that I am gluten-free, it is even more important. Many GF recipes call for flours in weights instead of volume. The reason is that unlike standardized all-purpose flour, the different GF flours needed to approximate the gluten-properties found in wheat flour all vary in weights. So 1 cup of white rice flour is not the same as 1 cup of sorghum flour. I have included approximate volume measurements in my recipe, but I strongly encourage you to get a kitchen scale for accuracy.
A kitchen scale also makes creating your own version of an all-purpose blend really easy. Most scales offer the option of measuring in ounces or grams and come with what is called a zero feature. This allows you to place a bowl on the scale and hit the zero button, erasing the weight of the bowl itself, allowing you to weigh just the ingredients without a lot of math! The other benefit of this is that once you measure in one flour, hit the zero button and add the next one without having to empty the bowl. See, now a kitchen scale is definitely on your wish list for the holidays, LOL!!
If you don’t want to buy a lot of different gluten-free flours, you can easily replace them with a gluten-free all-purpose blend. I would recommend you consider King Arthur Flour’s blend, Gluten-Free Pantry, or Cup4Cup sold at Williams-Sonoma. Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose blend is also good but contains garbanzo bean flour, which some people object to. I prefer using it for savory baking, and I stay with the more neutral flavored blends for sweet or delicate baking projects.
If you do not need to watch gluten, you can make this with your favorite flour too. Just replace the almond flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, potato starch and xanthan gum with regular all-purpose, white whole-wheat, or unbleached all-purpose flours.
Please enjoy these cookies and I will see you on Wednesday with a fabulous recipe celebrating my favorite fall fruit, Apples! Happy Chocolate Monday!!
Nut flours should be stored in the freezer. If you forget to take the almond flour out of the freezer early, microwave the package to soften it. Start with 15 seconds, stir to break up clumps and put back in for another 15 seconds. Break up any remaining clumps and measure out.
Kitchen Skill: Why to Spin Baked Goods in the Oven
I know, you hear it all the time, spin the trays of cookies halfway through the cooking. And yes, you know that the reason is because they will cook more evenly. But heck, you are busy and don’t want to bother… That used to be me. And then I started baking for competitions and paid more attention. Every single oven, no matter how high-end, has hot spots and cool spots. Spinning and switching trays of cookies, cake pans, pies and roasted foods (like Thanksgiving turkeys) truly does make a difference. Your foods will come out more evenly cooked and browned, without dried out areas or uneven browning.
If you are baking more than one sheet of cookies at a time, oven racks should be arranged in the top and lower third of the oven. In addition to spinning the sheets front to back halfway through baking, also switch racks. Place those that started on the bottom on the top rack and move those that began on the top to the bottom. Finish baking as directed.
I recommend using kitchen gloves or oven mitts that cover your entire hand and part of your forearms. That way, as you reach into the oven, you won’t accidentally brush against a hot surface and burn yourself. Look for ones that will protect you against high temperatures and those with a solid griping capability. That way you won’t be worried about having a heavy, hot roasting pan slip out of your hands!
- 6 oz (1 cup) flaked sweetened coconut or unsweetened coconut
- 4 oz (1 cup) almond meal/flour
- 2 oz (2/3 cup) sorghum flour
- 2 oz (2/3 cup) superfine brown rice flour
- 1/2 oz (1 tbsp + 1-1/4 tsp) potato starch or tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla powder or vanilla extract *
- 1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, at cool room temperature
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 6 oz (1 cup) chopped dark chocolate (65% to 70% cacao) or milk chocolate
- 4 oz (1 cup) chopped white chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two half baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Arrange coconut in a single layer in a small quarter baking sheet or ovenproof pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.
- Combine flour or combination of gluten-free flours and starches, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla powder (*if using vanilla extract, include with the wet ingredients) in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
- Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until thoroughly incorporated and clumpy. Add the whole egg and extra yolk (*and vanilla extract if using). Beat until creamy and smooth. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined; scrape sides of bowl and beat another 30 seconds. Remove from the mixer and stir in toasted coconut and chocolate.
- Set bowl of dough aside to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. (This gives the gluten-free flours time to absorb some of the moisture.)
- Use a 1 to 2 tbsp spring-loaded scoop to portion the dough and drop dough 1 to 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies (one sheet at a time for best results) in preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, spin the baking sheet so those in front are now at the back of the oven and continue baking another 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and center is fairly firm when touched lightly with your fingertip.
- Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheet for 1 minute to let cookies firm slightly. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Yield: about 3 dozen (2-inch) cookies
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