Post 39 – The Great Cookie Experiment

Chocolate chip cookies.

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The classic version delivers gooey, melty yumness.

So why mess with a good thing? I’ll tell you why.

I am getting married in less than a year (less than a year!) and my future mother-in-law cannot tolerate gluten. To be honest, I don’t see her very often and therefore don’t need a grand repertoire of gluten-free foods to cook (plus she has plenty of her own recipes that work just fine for her), but it’s good to have at least done a few test runs myself. Plus, I love a good recipe experiment!

I remember the first time I met Sam’s parents. Six years ago (wow!), right before Sam and I both left to study abroad on different continents (our first test at long distance), I flew out to Seattle to meet his parents and see the wonderful place where Sam grew up. I arrived late one night and his parents were already asleep, but the two of us, still awake and hungry, got into the fridge for a midnight snack: Jenny’s famous blueberry muffins. My family had never refrigerated muffins growing up, but these muffins were wonderful cold – their tops shiny and golden, their insides dense and soft without being too sweet and studded with dark purple berries. Sam had always raved about his mom’s delicious muffins and cookies, recipes she had perfected through the years, though she didn’t eat the flour-filled versions herself.

The next morning when I woke up, I met his parents and Jenny made us French toast before our day of Seattle-venturing. Sam and I offered to make his parents a gluten-free dinner that night, as a gesture of appreciation for my stay at their home. Though I don’t remember what we made for the main dish, I do remember the flourless chocolate torte that I made with Jenny in mind. Due to my confusion between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate the torte ended up a much darker chocolate than intended, but Jenny still loved it and appreciated the thought.

Williams-Sonoma recipe

Williams-Sonoma recipe

Despite Jenny’s gluten intolerance, I haven’t experimented with many gluten free recipes. I’m happy to use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas or rice instead of pasta for a side dish, but I’ve rarely messed around with flour substitutes in baked goods. It always seemed like you had to have too many extra ingredients.

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Nonetheless inspired by the delicious panisse cubes on Sam’s salad this past weekend I bought a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour and decided to try my hand at panisse (well, eventually I will try it). Since I was in the mood to bake and I have a whole bag of the stuff I figured I might as well experiment with other recipes, so I looked up a recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Since my gluten free baking experience is limited, I didn’t trust myself to come up with my own recipe. I looked around and found a few different cookie recipes, but when I found one that sounded like the classic recipe with pretty much a one to one flour substitution I went for it.

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You would think a substitution that direct would cause concern or hesitation on my part. Surely garbanzo bean flour would not interact with the other ingredients in the same way as wheat flour, but the recipe didn’t have any weird ingredients (e.g. xanthan gum) and the pictures looked normal so I figured, hey, worst case scenario – I would toss the whole batch.

Just in case I made a half batch of the gluten free cookies and a half batch of regular (flour) chocolate chip cookies to compare (or serve as a chaser to the disgusting taste). Of course I used Jenny’s recipe for the regular cookies since Sam is such a fan.

Gluten free dough - notice the color.

Gluten free dough – notice the color.

Though I don’t recommend the taste of the cookie dough itself, the cookies turned out great! (Sam even approves though he calls them “fake” cookies.) They are chewier and crispier than the traditional ones and they spread out quite a bit more, (refrigerate the dough longer next time? Use half butter, half shortening?) but they surprisingly did not taste like chickpeas (despite the dough itself tasting pretty bean-y). Hip hip hooray – the great cookie experiment was a success! Next time I’ll have to tweak the recipe just a little bit. Follow this recipe to make your own gluten free cookies.

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Can you tell which one is which? (Yeah, yeah you probably can. Well aren’t you smart.)

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One thought on “Post 39 – The Great Cookie Experiment

  1. Pingback: Post 121 – Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Chip Cookies | Erin Eating Everything

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