Thursday, April 16, 2020

Take a bite

These are the best gluten-free cookies I've tasted and are the second-best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made, only surpassed by the Cook's Illustrated "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe that they published in 2009 and that I haven't yet tried to reproduce with gluten-free flour. 

So many gluten-free recipes fail in the texture department, but not these babies: they are chewy and gooey and wonderful. These are cookies I would make even if I wasn't avoiding gluten. And they are way easier and faster to make than my #1 recipe which involves brown butter and lots of steps. 

These cookies are made with 100% almond flour--no obscure superfine brown rice flour that can only be purchased online or xanthan gum required. And if your grocery store is out of wheat flour, they might just have plenty of almond flour which means you can even make these cookies in a pandemic!

A few things I have learned making these:
1. Monitor the color near the end of the cooking time closely. Nuts can go from golden to burnt very quickly so I set the timer for a few minutes less than I think they'll need and then check them every minute or so (usually rotating the pan so that any hot spots in the oven don't make them brown unevenly) until they are golden.
2. These are easier to make if you use weight rather than volume to measure your ingredients (this goes for a lot of gluten-free recipes because weight is much more specific if you are making substitutions). If you don't have a digital scale, this is a good and affordable one. I put volume estimates in the recipe for people who don't have a scale.
3. Shaping and freezing the dough balls leads to a better texture than baking right after you make the dough. If you do bake them right after you make the dough, they'll spread a lot more and won't be as chewy, more of a crumbly-crispy cookie and if that's your ideal, then go for it; just be sure to reduce the baking time by a few minutes. I prefer chocolate chip cookies with a little gooeyness in the center. Freezing the dough means adding a few minutes of cooking time but I think it's worth it and it means that you will probably have a supply of ready-to-go dough if you are having a crummy day and need a little pick me up. Reach in the freezer and grab three dough balls and in about 20 minutes (5 minutes to preheat the oven, 15 minutes baking time) your day is a little better:

Ahhh. Cookie-therapy on a tray.

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from a recipe by Erin Jeanne McDowell

300 grams almond flour (about 2 3/4 C)
3/4 t kosher salt
1/2 t baking soda
140 grams butter at room temp (10 T or 1.25 sticks)
110 grams light brown sugar (about 1/2 C)
100 grams white sugar (about 1/2 C)
1 large egg
2 t vanilla extract
300 grams (10 oz) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (I prefer hand chopped because then you get the little flecks of chocolate throughout the cookie, but I've also made them with comercial chips and they are fine.) The volume varies widely with these because it depends on your chip/chunk size. 10 oz of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chips, which are a little bigger than standard chips, is about 1 1/2 C
flaky sea salt. 

In a bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. 
Cream the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix. Scrape down the bowl if needed.

Add the almond flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the chocolate chunks/chips until evenly distributed. 

Scoop about 2T sized balls (I used a heaping tablespoon as a scoop), roll in your hands to make a ball and then flatten to about 1/2" thick. Place on parchment and then freeze.

When it's time to bake, preheat your oven to 350, set the desired number of dough balls on a parchment or silpat lined sheet, sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, and bake for about 15 minutes. I set the timer for 10 minutes and then check (somewhat obsessively) for the last few minutes to rotate pans for even browning and to make sure the almond flour doesn't burn. You might need to add a few minutes depending on your dough ball size. One time I was a little generous making them and they took about 18 minutes total, another time they were more modestly sized and were done at about 14 minutes.


Katy K. said...

I have also gone gluten-free since you were last posting regularly! But I am also allergic to tree nuts, so can’t do almond flour. I make my own flour blends, both whole grain but one more white and one that is more whole wheaty, and get most of the individual flours on standing order. My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe so far is the one from the America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook 2- their whole grain blend is one of my standbys, too.

Valerie said...


Have you found the gluten-free recipe that uses nutbutter instead of flour? Those, too, are excellent!

Kate said...

I tried a flourless peanut butter cookie a long time ago but need to experiment more with the concept! Do you have a favorite recipe?