I made you cookies.

by caitlin

I realized I have been really serious these past few posts, so I went for something a little lighter on the heart this time. No theology/hip-hop lessons, no earth shattering revelations, no making you feel guilty about home/private schooling your kids (although I hope to have achieved that with my last post, I jest?), this is my solemn vow.

You can call me Chef.

Or Baker. Baker is the correct term for one who bakes.

My approach is usually fretfully boring when it comes to baking. I have a hard time deviating from recipes. Cooking is one thing…more of an art, less of a science. However, when baking I have a fear that if I change one thing then the whole cake/batch of cookies/loaf of bread will go to $*%t.

I can take part of a recipe and add part of another recipe and part of another recipe and put them together and voila! if I think the flavor combo might be good. But it’s RARE for me to sub-in ingredients that may alter the structure of a treat. Especially with gluten-free baking. It’s a scary, scary beast. Unless you understand a bit of the science behind the ingredients, which I am learning a tiddle bit about.

Well, I can officially say that I.HAVE.ARRIVED. when it comes to being risky in my baking endeavors. Not really, but I did tweak a tweaked recipe and can say that it is my own adaptation.

If you aren’t familiar with David Leite (who are you and why are we even friends…j/k), check, check, check, a check him out at Leite’s Culinaria (here). His is a beautiful food blog full of wonderfully delicious goodies. He makes some DIVINE chocolate chip cookies that are pretty famous in the food blogosphere (take a peeksee). For those of us who choose our gluten wisely, or avoid the demon altogether, there is an alternative.

Another of my fave food bloggers, Shauna James Ahearn over at Gluten Free Girl, posted about her gluten-free take on Mr. Leite’s delights (here). Shauna has a load of recipes on her blog and in her books that make life for the gluten-free folks a little more dreamy. It was with her as my guardian angel and her writing as my confidence-boosting guide (she was a high school English teacher, so she has a very positive and encouraging writing style) that I made my first forays into gluten-free baking. These first forays involved me following her recipes to a T.

Nowadays though I’m all grown up and bustin out on my own. So here’s the deal. I didn’t have one of the flours called for in Shauna’s recipe, so I swapped it out with one that I did have. No big deal you might say. However, in gf baking all the flours used bring something to the table to make the resulting product recognizable, delectable, and healthful. After realizing that I didn’t have amaranth flour on hand (who does?) I consulted with Mr. Google and found that amaranth is a high-protein flour. Well, I just so happen to know that flours made of beans (gluten free flours are weird, I do confess) are also high in protein. And lo and behold I had a Garbanzo Bean/Fava Bean blend flour in my pantry…WOOHOO!

This is a BREAKTHROUGH for me, people! I subbed in the bean flour, and guess what? It worked.

These cookies were spectacular. I took them to a bunch of boys (and a few girls) who gobbled them up and were none the wiser about their gluten content…until I spilled the beans because I was just so darned proud of myself.

Good golly it's gluten free!

So here’s the recipe:

MY ADAPTATION OF SHAUNA JAMES AHERN’S ADAPTATION OF DAVID LEITE’S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cup sorghum flour (tangent: one time A and David and I went to a corn maze that was actually in a sorghum field)
1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
1 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour

1 tablespoon xanthan gum (careful, this stuff makes a giant slimy mess if you get it wet)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon good ol’ table salt
2 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
(normally you use unsalted butter when baking, but I like a nice sweet-salty balance in my baked goods, you know depth)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces of good quality baking chocolate
(I like the kind that are disc shaped so you get huge amounts of chocolate in every bite; my awesome mother-in-law brought me these when she toured the Tcho Chocolate factory in San Fran)

Start by sifting all of the flours into a large bowl and then add the rest of the dry ingredients (hopefully I don’t have to explain that the sugars and chocolate don’t go in yet). Stir with a fork or a whisk.

Cream the butter and the sugars in a stand mixer no longer than 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time beating till all mixing and mingling and then add the vanilla and mix a little more.

Add the dry ingredients to the mixer a little at a time, mixing briefly after each addition. Once all the ingredients are incorporated fold the chocolate pieces in with a rubber spatula (you need your strong arms for this one).

All good cookies benefit from a dough chilling stage, but I am a very impatient girl, so keep the chilling brief.

Preheat the oven to 350 and shape dough into large balls and place 6 to a cookie sheet, lined with parchment of course. Bake them for 18 minutes or longer or shorter depending on how big your balls are (heh, heh).

Let them cool on the cookie sheet long enough that they don’t fall apart when you take them off. Eat them before the chocolate cools with a nice cold glass of your beverage of choice (milk for me, beer for Adam).

Note: I have never posted an adaptation of someone else’s recipe, so I hope I don’t get in trouble for this. I attempted to give credit where credit is due. Please take that into consideration before suing me for plagiarism.