Thursday, August 7, 2014

Perfectly Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I'm a whole wheat gal.

I love everything about a loaf of fresh baked bread or a still-warm batch of cookies. The smell, the feel, even the heft of the flour as I spoon it in the cup. I'll be honest, when I became aware that wheat allergy or gluten intolerance might be something my family would have to face, I was resistant. 100%. Life without wheat didn't seem worth living.

But, to be honest, I've gone gluten-free before, and I have to admit there are worse crosses the bear.

I go in for blood work next week to test for Celiac disease. For the time being, it's still up in the air whether any member of our family will have to give up gluten for good. But if we do need to make this change, I'm determined to continue blessing my loved ones with that toasty, comforting feeling of a still-warm batch of cookies. And now, you can do the same for yours.

No matter what the results of my blood draw are, I believe it's worth learning to bake gluten-free. 

With a few fail-safe recipes under my belt, I can be a tremendous blessing friends, neighbors, and even strangers who suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. These folks are just as deserving of a postpartum meal, a pick-me-up, or a welcome-to-the-block treats as anyone--only they might be more afraid to ask. They may feel guilty about asking anyone to go to the extra bother, afraid of judgment, or fearful of seeming ungrateful for turning down a gift of food that could make them ill. Going the extra mile to meet dietary needs for someone in crisis is such an added gift to them. And one of the most comforting foods I can think of is chocolate chip cookies.

The trick, I've found is to use melted butter and baking powder, not soda. The hot butter activates the baking powder before baking and gives it a good rise, which in turn allows the dough to resettle while it cools and give it that nice, wrinkly top that marks a great chocolate chip cookie.

Also, note that the sugar content is 1/2 c. less than most traditional wheat recipes, this is because rice flour is considerably sweeter than wheat. Trust me, you want to leave it out.

Perfectly Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies

2 1/2 c. gluten-free flour blend
1/2 t. xantham gum (if not included in your blend)
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar

2 stick butter, melted
2 eggs

2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (gluten-free)

  1. Combine flour blend, xantham gum if using, salt, baking powder, and sugars in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix melted butter with eggs and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips. 
  2. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes or until bottoms have begun to turn golden-brown at the edges and cookies are golden but still soft. 
  3. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.


  1. I think it is a very good thing that you are actually testing to see if your gluten problem is real. I'm somewhat disturbed by the new gluten free food trend. People have been eating gluten, a valuable vegetable protein, for thousands of years. I have a very hard time believing that we are suddenly all becoming intolerant of it. There are people who truly can't eat gluten, and since the whole world decided to jump in with them, no one takes it seriously any more. A lady I know who actually has Celiac disease was laughed at by a waitress when she made inquiries about the presence of gluten in certain menu items at a restaurant. Apparantly it is becoming a sort of joke for some people. I wonder how much of this has to do with the companies who make gluten free flours and processed products seeing the trend and taking advantage of it by upping their advertisements and product diversity. Gluten free products often sell for substantially more money than their wheat-y counterparts.

    1. I've had friends with similar stories, Emily, and I agree. Especially here in the pacific northwest, gluten-free definitely gets spun as a "lifestyle choice" rather than a medical necessity.

  2. Emily-- this often is true. myself my mom and brother all have gut reactions to eating wheat. but, the thing to remember is that wheat, for the last 50 years has been modified to alter its components significantly and increase the gluten protein content (as higher gluten gives greater elasticity, rise, tenderness etc.). Also, in the last 50 years, baking methods have become faster, so that sourdough (letting the dough proof and ferment slowly and naturally) or even yeast dough (slow style), is no longer the way it's done. It's an industry and time is money... Laura

  3. This recipe looks delicious!! The true answer, I feel, to this sort of thing is to simply go straight to a Grain Free Diet. It's far easier to do than one would think, and you won't BELIEVE how amazing you will feel! Our family has just started trying it, and there are all kinds of snacks you can make for the kids that don't include all that awful sugar, white flour etc - Cheese Chunks on Cucumber Slices, Eggplant/Zucchini Pizza, Meatballs with Veggies, lots of fries in healthy oil, for example, sweet potato fries in coconut oil, for the needed calories (especially for children who need plentiful fat and calories) omelets, fruit smoothies, Shepard's Pie, fried rice with seafood - the list goes on! Here are two great links - the first is her weekly meal menu, the second is her fantastic article on why she lives grain free:

    1. Thanks so much for the links! I'm Glad you've found a diet that is so beneficial to your health. What a blessing. I've heard so many testimonies from women who thrive on a low- or no-grain diet.

  4. P.S. The most serious reason that I'm switching to this new diet is because I've begun to develop lots of tooth cavities and painful toothache, from simply all the sugar and white flour I've been eating. This article made it clear!

  5. Hi Bethany,If you have been eating gluten free before your blood tests then you are likely to test negative.It is important to eat your usual diet and then after the results are in you should change your diet accordingly.It is not an easy diagnosis, as many receive negative results but are most definately reacting to one or more grains.Hope this helps.Molly

    1. Yes, Molly, I did know this, and my doctor was careful to make it clear. I have actually been eating gluten for a couple of years. We went gf for a period of some months several years ago to see if my son's health was effected (it wasn't), but I wasn't paying much attention to my own response to the diet. Actually, I'm quite doubtful that the test will be positive, but it will be worthwhile to have it ruled out, along with (I'm sure) many other things in being tested for. I'm getting a lot of blood drawn! Haha!

  6. depending on your results, here is my fail-proof gf bread recipe.
    1 1/2 cps oat, ground to fine meal
    2 1/2cps warm water
    3 eggs
    1/3 cp brown sugar
    2 1/2 tsp yeast
    3 tsp psyllium husk meal/powder
    1 tsp flax meal
    -mix above ingredients in kitchen aid revolving mixer. Let mix 3+ minutes to hydrate oats and psyllium husk.
    Add in 3 1/2 cps gf flour (I use tapioca, cornstarch, brown rice, and sorghum for a blend), with 3 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum added to the flour and 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp baking powder. Alternate this mixture with 2/3 cp of oil, melted butter or other kind of fat. Beat well. Scrape down and beat 2 more minutes. Dough should be very thick, but sticky. This mixture makes two smaller loaves, (8x4) or one large loaf 9x5 plus 4 hamburger sized buns. form in greased loaf pan(s), rounding the top. lightly brush with oil and cover with parchment. Let rise til not doubled, but visibly puffed. Bake at 350* for about an hour. Loaf should be hard and not "squishable" at all. dump onto wire rack to cool. buns should bake about 20 minutes... important not to underbake, or loaf will fall and get gummy. Makes great toast and sandwiches. Also, a taller loaf pan helps hold the rise. good luck! Laura


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