Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Recipe of the Weeks: The BEST Gluten-Free AND Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
After being diagnosed with Celiac's Disease, these cookies were on the roster of things I could never touch again. My stomach cried for weeks over this loss. After that it was one dry, crumbly, gluten-free cookie after the other....Until I found Erin McKenna's recipe for gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookies!
My first few attempts with her recipe were great: delicious and definitely worth the cost of the cookbook alone, but the texture and taste were still a little bit less than "the best." So after multiple batches of this recipe with a few of my own tweaks, I've finally figured out the alchemy behind the BEST gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie!
The Best Gluten-Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Modified from Erin McKenna's babycakes Cookbook
Makes ~28 cookies
1 cup melted coconut oil (just portion out and zap in the microwave to melt)
1 pre-packaged 4 ounce unsweetened applesauce cup, I like Santa Cruz Organics
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 cup flax meal ground from fresh flax seed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. If you have a convection bake option, now's the time to use it! Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Be sure not to use wax paper! Also, for those of you bakers who swear by your Silpat, don't whip it out this time. For some reason the parchment paper helps with crisping up the edges of the cookie perfectly while absorbing a little of the coconut oil.
A note about measuring: use your "dry measuring cups" (what you'd use to measure the flour or sugar) for your liquids (like your coconut oil) in this recipe! Using a "wet measuring cup" screws up the proportions!
You need two larger bowls for this recipe, so start with your wet ingredients in one and dry in the other. In the dry bowl add your Bob's Red Mill flour, flax meal, baking soda, and xanthan gum. *A side note on the flax seed: I had used pre-ground seed and it left my cookies tasting a little bitter. I found a great way to combat this is to grind your flax seed right before you use them! Either in a dry blender or a clean coffee grinder, pulse until the seeds are powdery and light. Be sure to measure ~1/3 cup to grind, since some of the seeds will get stuck to the blade and sides. Of course, only use 1/4 in your recipe;)!*
In the other bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, applesauce, salt, vanilla extract, and evaporated cane juice (another tip: if you want to save a little moolah and are are ok with using refined sugar you can replace the evaporated cane juice with sugar! The amount is the same and our bodies and tongues really can't tell the difference between the two!) Mix until the sugar begins to dissolve. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine with a rubber spatula until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and incorporate into the mixture well.
Using a tablespoon, portion out a heaping scoop and shape lightly into a ball on your parchment paper. Don't crowd these little puppies, they realllllllly spread out when baking! I suggest no more than 9 cookies per 14x17 inch cookie sheet. Place on the middle and bottom racks of your oven and bake for 9 minutes. Then rotate the sheets 180 degrees and switch the pans on the racks (the bottom pan goes to the top rack and vice versa for the remainder of the baking time.) Bake for another 6-7 minutes until the edges of the cookies are slightly crisp and starting to turn golden. The centers should still be soft!
Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for an additional 10 minutes then remove with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely! You can store these in an airtight container for up to 4 days OR you can freeze them for up to two months! Enjoy your perfect chocolate chip cookie!