Tag Archives: Chocolate chip

Happy Birthday, “I Love You”, and Chewy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Post-post note! The day after this went live I was featured on America’s Test Kitchen for their Blogger Spotlight series! A few years ago my dear friend Thom turned me on to ATK and Cooks Illustrated in general, and I’ve come to refer to this incredibly knowledgeable source for any base recipe that I NEED to get right on the first try: basically they take a recipe and dissect it to the core, and then explain to you WHY certain combinations worked and others didn’t. I was honored, the day after my birthday, to be spotlighted by this incredibly well-known publication, especially with such an intro by their social media intern Belle Cushing.

Last night around midnight my dad woke me up to crack a huge bottle of champagne and have a chat in the backyard hot tub. I had literally just turned 31 – the age my dad was when he had me. We’ve renamed this occasion the “Better Champagne Birthday”. Climbing back into bed later after a text from my mom and a phone call with a good friend, I started mulling on the love in my life.

When I was 19, Ruark was the first man (of no familial relation) to say “I love you” to me. Or, at least, the first one of significance. It was New Years Eve of 2000/2001, and we were dressed formally and dancing at my parents’ house. Since then I’ve remembered every first “I love you” – where I was, if something as simple as making crepes inspired it, and how it felt physically inside of me to say and hear those words with someone for the first time. I remember this with all the men I’ve dated and all the women who’ve honored me with their friendship, giving their “I love you’s” so freely and fully that they’ve sometimes come for the first time at the end of a text or an email. The older I grow, the more weight those words carry. But a good weight – like a thick quilt in the dead of winter or stepping into a cool pool of water on a blistering summer day.

This week I was gifted with a new “I love you”. “I love you very much”, specifically. It caught me off guard. It was delicate, and genuine, and the kind of gift you want to wrap up and tuck somewhere safe.

I said “I love you” right back to this friend – and meant it – and the evening continued on, those words spoken and then left, sweetly, in the air. And then the next day they troubled me. And then the following day I found myself deeply introspective.

So I lay in bed in the first few hours of my 31st year thinking of “I love you”:

The way my father tells me – over and over again – that no one will ever love me as much as he does. The way my mother and I say it as we hug tight. The way my siblings and I say it easily and fully and often. The way Ruark and I end every phone call with it, still, though we’ve not been a couple for three years now. The way Lindsey’s “love you’s” have seen me through 15 years of growing pains. The way Abby ends a text with, “love you darlin”. Or Lyndsey’s “I love you’s” are so full and rich I feel her inside my heart though she’s hundreds of miles away. The way I now have to raise my voice to tell my grandparents I love them so that they can hear it. Or how I can say “I love you” over and over to Mitra, who doesn’t need words to know I do.

I was told recently that old souls say “I love you” first. I rarely have that courage, though I often say that them my head while holding tight or keeping a gaze. Once I’ve said them once, I want to say them again, and in any moment that feels significant.

But I think we often let fear stop us from expressing our love. Or at least I do. Not surface love or lust or social propriety, but real love and affection and attachment. Do we do this for protection or self-preservation? Or because once someone’s said “I love you” we immediately fear the day they’ll go away and we’ll be left to wonder what happened to that love?

And where does that love go once a relationship has ended? If we haven’t seen someone for a month, a year, a decade… where is that love?

Is it possible to love someone who said goodbye to me many years ago or to love someone who I’ve known for only a few months?

I guess the older you get and the more you experience, the more there is to chew on at 1:30 in the morning.

But, today, for me, love is everywhere. It’s in the people who, at some point on my birthday, will think of me with love. It’s in listening to the song that Ruark wrote me for my birthday last year. In wearing the pink chef coat that Erika gave me today. In flipping through the “Cook” Book that Dalane made me of all the menus and quirky texts I’ve sent him since starting my chef job out east.

It’s in Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. The new “I love you very much” person’s favorite sweet. I love making people’s favorites for their birthdays – cheesecake, Snickerdoodles, apple pies, brownies… they’ve been my way to say “I love you” when celebrating someone’s birth. Today, as I transcribe and clean and ponder on the conjunction of a few harmless, full words, I’m thinking “love” with butter, flour, and chocolate.

– Jacqueline

Chewy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 18 cookies

Note: these are adapted from America’s Test Kitchen / Cooks Illustrated, which I find incredibly reliable when you want to nail something specific. They’re chewy and soft, but very sweet. In general I love subtle sweets, so while these are perfect for those who want bakery or Toll House-type cookies, don’t say I didn’t warn you if, like me, you prefer them with a bit of heft from nuts or oatmeal or almond butter. Sometimes love is baking outside your box.

Ingredients:

  • 10.5 oz gluten-free flour blend (mine was 6 oz brown rice flour, 3 oz. tapioca flour and 1.5 oz millet flour, more or less)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or white sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate baking chips (regular or oversized, as I used here)

Preheat oven to 325°. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment.

Measuring out the flours in a medium bowl. Add xanthan gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer), beat sugars and butter until thoroughly combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth and slightly fluffy. On low speed, add flour mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop into balls (about 1/4 cup or smaller, depending on how you like your cookies). Crack a ball in half and then fit the smooth sides together, so the rough dough from the middle makes the edges rougher and gives more surface area for texture. Place at least 3″ apart on baking sheets.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating halfway through, until edges are slightly crispy but centers are still soft.

Cool on baking sheets (this will help the insides continue to cook but the edges stop before getting too crispy).

Share with many “I love you”s.

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Morning Jolt Cookies – Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Coffee, Chocolate Chip!

My Morning Cookies - Oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, molasses, maple syrup, vanilla and coffee!

I needed a jolt this morning.  Strong coffee, chocolate, molasses, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla… what else could I throw into a cookie?  Yes, this is the way I wake up, especially on mornings such as today. 

I had an ambitious plan to wake up early (I went to bed at 10:30pm last night! It’s an ingenious idea I highly recommend), take the dog to the river, write an article and bake a batch of cookies before heading over to interview some filmmakers.  But then it looked like this:

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky... stormy weather...

And the dog decided that nestling next to me was much more fun than going outside.  And I decided that hitting snooze five times was more exciting than going outside.  And together we decided that being adorable was much more vital than going outside.  And then, in a Herculean move, I made some decaf espresso (it’s all about mind motivation), put the dog in her sweater (I have become one of those people), and we hit the chilly, misty streets.

Oh, this also helped me get out of bed this morning.  Nothing like a little Gladys in the headphones when you’re out walking.  I want to be like her… oh so cool.

I’m interviewing filmmakers today for a new project (shh) I’m working on.  I lost the guy I was going to do this project with a few months ago and really want a new creative partner, so the next two days I’m interviewing 14 awesome-seeming individuals and am hoping to fall in business-love with one of them, or that one of the filmmakers at the company I’m squatting at falls in business-love with me.  And so I must bring cookies and milk.

I was so psyched by my healthy-ish Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies the other day I figured I’d take it a step further and throw in some mega-energizing peanut butter, coffee and molasses.  Keep it gluten-free, keep it dairy-free.

The result?

OK, so I ate one five for breakfast (in all honesty, it was two.  But I’m hypoglycemic so two feels like five.  I must immediately never stop eating cookies for breakfast).

And they are delicious.  Still a tad too sweet for moi, but most people will find them just-sweet-enough.  I baked one round without pressing, so they were light and fluffy, and used a spatula on the second to flatten and crisp them a little more.  Both are delightful.  You get the depth of the peanut butter, the punch of the chocolate, the whole-grain goodness from the flours and oatmeal, and the dark aftertaste of the molasses.  The coffee just strengthens all the other flavors – if you want a real coffee taste I’d suggest throwing in another tablespoon.

Now the rain is coming down and I’m drinking my second cup of decaf java, ready to write some articles and go meet some new people, and then meet a lovely man for some live bluegrass tonight.

I just got the Happy Days theme song in my head.  Not a bad Tuesday.

Flatter Version of the cookies

Notes: I used teff flour for fiber, millet for protein and the soft texture I love in cookies and arrowroot as a binding starch.  If you so choose, you can substitute this mixture for 1 3/4 cup of all-purpose pre-blended flour, such as one from Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur.  Make sure your oats are gluten-free and your shortening is fresh and preferably non-hydrogenated (I use Spectrum).  Also, please use real maple syrup and never a “pancake syrup”.  If you do, don’t tell me or I will cry, literally.  I used Sunspire’s dairy and gluten-free chocolate chips this time.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour / starch
  • 3/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup Teff flour (or brown rice, quinoa etc)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon (or 1.5 tsp of another kind)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill is awesome)
  • 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Line heavy baking sheets with Silpat or parchment.
  • In a small bowl mix flours, gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk to combine.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat shortening and peanut butter on high until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and beat on high until fluffy and almost marshmallowy in consistency (yes that is a word.  Now).
  • Reduce speed to medium high and add the maple syrup and molasses while mixing, beating until smooth.  Scrape the bowl down if needed to make sure it combines fully.
  • Add the vanilla and coffee granules and beat to combine, scraping bowl as needed.
  • Stop mixer, scrape the bowl, add the flour mixture and mix on low until incorporated, then at medium until fully combined.
  • Fold in rolled oats… hold on, timer is dinging… ok, I’m back.  Fold in the rolled oats one cup at a time until evenly distributed.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Drop onto prepared mats using a little more than a Tbsp (I used two large spoons and rolled the dough between until they were the size and nice little round shape I wanted).
  • If baking two sheets at a time, bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the pans (top to bottom and front to back) so that the cookies bake evenly, and bake for another 7 minutes.
  • If desired, halfway through the baking process flatten a bit with a metal spatula.
  • Bake until slightly brown, adding an extra 3 minutes if you want them a bit crispier.
  • Cool a minute or two on sheets before removing to cooling racks.
  • Enjoy with a glass of your favorite milk, a black coffee or a shot of insulin.

Rounder version

Gluten-and-Dairy-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten, Dairy and White Sugar Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten, Dairy and White Sugar Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Autumn has hit New York City.  I’m typing at my desk by my window, and a sharp chill sneaks in.

It seems that, practically overnight, we’ve said goodbye to sundresses and sandals, to bare arms and walking in the shade.  One part of me loves this crisp air, and is day-dreaming of pumpkins and pie, of Halloween and Christmas cookies.  The other part of me is mourning how the streets are already a little bit emptier at night, how my dog is going in hibernation mode, how I have to buy new shoes to replace the ones I wore out through the city slush last season.  Of being cold for the next few months.

Saturday I took Mitra for a walk in Central Park with a friend, decked in worn fall boots and a scarf.  And when I got home I knew what I needed to get me through the weekend: oatmeal cookies.

I had spent the morning working out a recipe for a Dusty Baker reader in the UK (Hi, Peter!)  – and it wasn’t quite right.  The night before I had tried a sweet and savory cookie recipe for a local friend – it also wasn’t quite right (all I’ll say is peanut butter and duck fat… it’s coming).  I was a bit of a grumpy dusty baker.

So there was to be no failing with this recipe.  Not only did I have some friends I wanted to bring something sweet to, but I wanted to get back to the gluten-dairy-sugar alternative baking that is a major part of my food lifestyle, which had been neglected a bit by all the baking I’ve been doing for other organizations.  And I had a short amount of time before heading downtown again.

I looked at a bunch of cookie recipes – both those with and without gluten – and was shocked at the amount of sugar or sweetener the recipes called for.  White and brown sugar, and a lot of it?!  A cup and a half of agave syrup? No, thank you!

I wanted my cookies to be simple, wholesome and just-sweet-enough. 

So I used only 1/2 cup of maple syrup for sweetness, added a bit of dark molasses to replace the flavor missing from the absence of brown sugar, and added some flaxseed meal for fiber.  I used shortening for stability.  I added some black pepper for a savory kick, and threw in a healthy spoonful of my favorite Vietnamese cinnamon along with some freshly grated nutmeg (they’re totally worth it).  I followed the advice of Karina at the Gluten-Free Goddess and kept rice flour out of the recipe (I based my proportions off of her recipe, which  is stellar – thank you Karina!).

I love the results.  For me, these are the perfect cookies to dunk.  Slightly sweet and spicy, soft, a perfect vehicle for the delicious chocolate that sits nestled within the oatmeal.

They’d also be stellar with raisins.

Start to finish, it took me 45 minutes to make, bake and wrap 36 of these babies.

I was a happy camper.  I brought a few to a friend to nosh on over some cheap whiskey and a game of chess (which I’m not as bad at as I had previously thought) and to another friend I met up with for a post-show glass of wine.  And may have eaten a few for breakfast before heading off to a late brunch with food-blog people the next morning.  Followed by an awesome Bloody Derby and Stumptown Coffee.

OK, Autumn weekends in New York City can be pretty awesome.  This one was delicious.

Wait, what’s a Bloody Derby, you ask? Oh, let’s just say an incredible cocktail I introduced a few people to at the Ace hotel (and had to name).  I think it will go along swimmingly with a duck-fat cookie. Coming soon to a Dusty Baker near you.

I may have eaten this entire stack of cookies for breakfast today. Yes, salad for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds meal
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp dark molasses
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts or pecans, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats (totally worth the $).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk all dry ingredients up to the black pepper and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large bowl) beat shortening on high heat until fluffy.
  • Add eggs, maple syrup and molasses and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes (beating the eggs gives a little lift and body to the coming flours).
  • Quickly beat in the vanilla.
  • Add all the flour, turn speed down to low, and mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the oats a cup at a time until distributed evenly.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips (or raisins!) and optional nuts.
  • Drop in rounded tablespoons onto mats.
  • Put in upper and lower third of oven and bake for 6 minutes.
  • Press down on each of the cookies with a metal spatula to flatten, then rotate the trays (switch upper and lower) to ensure even baking.
  • Bake for 7-9 more minutes, or until lightly browned. 
  • Cool a few minutes on trays before removing to cooling rack.

These are stellar when warm, and when dunked in a glass of unsweetened almond milk.

These will make soft and chewy cookies. If you like them crispy, turn heat down a bit and bake for about four more minutes.

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