Sometimes I just need a cookie. Nothing fancy. But free of soy, gluten, egg and dairy, please.
I’ve tried so many allergy-free chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years. Some were complicated, some simple. Nothing was spectacular. (There is one recipe I like a lot, but it’s more like an English digestive biscuit. Not very sweet, but so very good.) I’d yet to find my egg, dairy, soy and gluten-free version of the recipe on the back of the bag of Tollhouse.
One night about a week ago, feeling super stressed with life and work, a moment of oh-my-god-when-will-I-get-married-when-will-I-have-children-why-didn’t-that-script-sell panic set in, and I decided to get over myself, brew some tea and bake.
Unlike most cooking, baking requires the following of very specific directions. It requires that I put aside whatever is worrying me or annoying me so that I make sure to add a tablespoon of baking soda and the teaspoon of baking powder, and not vice versa.
Baking is totally Type A.
For about six years, I’ve been using the same allergy free mini chocolate chips in all sorts of baking. And until last week, I never noticed a cookie recipe on the bag. Was it always there? (I don’t think so.)
I decided to make the cookies and the pity party was over long before they cooled. To my surprise, they were the best chocolate chip cookies I’d had since I’d cut out all the allergens years ago. I shared them with friends, with and without food issues. I brought some to my dad who doesn’t do gluten, and even my mother, a professional foodie, gave them her approval.
Then last night, after a long weekend/workend finishing Type A holiday orders, I decided to whip up another batch. See if they were as good the second try. I find allergy free baking can be inconsistent and unpredictable. These aren’t.
I don’t know how soon I’ll get married or how many kids I’ll have or when I’ll sell my next story, but these cookies are fabulous. That much I know.
And so, here is my slightly tweaked version of the recipe via the Enjoy Life chocolate chips bag. Use whatever chips you prefer, but theirs are my favorite for baking. Whole Foods usually has them (mine has restocking issues sometimes), but getting them via Amazon is a no-brainer. I buy them in a multipack and they’re there when I need them.
The recipe makes about three dozen. You can always freeze some, but I prefer to share them. I get a certain satisfaction when serving allergy-free food to people who can eat anything and having them ask for more. It’s the little things.
ALEX’S FAVORITE ALLERGY FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
2/3 cup Palm Shortening (aka vegan shortening – I use Spectrum Organic. It gives everything this amazing flakiness, and creates the almost shortbread-like consistency that makes these so awesome.)
1 tbsp Oil (Canola, Safflower, Grapeseed, whatever you prefer or have on hand)
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract (It sounds very Ina, but use good vanilla extract. It does make a difference. Nielsen-Massey is my go-to and it’s GF.)
1/3 cup water (I always use room temp water.)
2 + 1/4 cups Gluten Free Baking Flour Mix (For the baking flour mix, Bob’s Red Mill always works, but if you want to skip the add xantham gum step, use my favorite, Domata. Their flour comes with it already added. And it’s soy free, which not all xantham gum is.)
1 tsp Salt (I vote kosher)
1 tsp Xantham Gum
1+1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder (I use Rumford – it’s gluten free, aluminum free and you can get it most anywhere, including Trader Joe’s)
1/2 bag (5 oz) mini chocolate chips, Enjoy Life or your favorite (The original recipe calls for a whole bag. I like a good cookie to chocolate ratio, and I actually think half a bag is close to perfection. Perhaps even a little less than half.)
1. Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C
2. In bowl one, cream together shortening, oil and both sugars (doesn’t require a mixer although you can – I just grab a spoon).
3. Add in the vanilla and water and mix just a bit to combine.
4. In bowl two, mix GF flour mix, salt, xantham gum (if mix doesn’t have it), baking soda and baking powder.
5. Mix dry ingredients into the first bowl.
6. Add the chocolate chips. Leave the bowl on counter to set about ten minutes. (As with all allergy free baking, things sometimes need a minute or two, or ten, to mingle. I use the time to wash whatever has made it into the sink at this point – everything but the one bowl and the spoon. It’s actually kind of brilliant. You end up with a clean kitchen much faster.)
7. Grab a baking sheet (I use two and cook them in one round) and using a small cookie scoop, drop them onto parchment paper. Lightly press each one with the palm of your hand to flatten. (Or not. They cook well both ways.)
8. Bake 8-10 minutes, then let them cool at least another 10. 15-20 if you have the patience. Anything less than 10 and then fall apart a bit. (Not that I would know. I follow directions.)
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