Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Giving Gluten-free a Go...Works for Me Wednesday

I'm going to be totally honest with you.  Gluten-free scares me. 
To be more precise, it intimidates the HECK out of me.  Rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, teff, millet...when I read about these ingredients, I feel like I should apologize for blogging about all-purpose flour.  It's so, ya know, *mundane.* ;)

You're talking to a girl who dips into her flour canister almost daily.  You're talking to a girl whose house is covered in a light dusting of flour.  You're talking to a girl who panics when there are less than 2 bags of all-purpose flour in the house.

You're also talking to a girl who has a friend with Celiac Disease. When she and her family were visiting town a couple of years ago, they popped in for dinner.  Y'all, I was so nervous.  I ended up making ice cream for dessert which was the only thing I could think of that was gluten-free.

So, I was delighted to meet Elana Amsterdam from Elana's Pantry last December at the Girl Hunter Weekend.  Elana is cool, funny, smart, beautiful; you'd like her.  She did not make this ol' all-purpose flour girl feel intimidated. As a matter of fact, she inspired me to break out of my comfort zone. She has 2 cookbooks: Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour and this one...
{Now, does that cover make you want to dive into gluten-free baking, or what?!?}

Elana was nice enough to let me share her chocolate chip cookie recipe from the book here on the blog.  The cookies are soft and wonderful with a great texture from the almond flour and big chunks of chocolate throughout.
PS...did you know that all food bloggers must have a stash of baker's twine to tie cookies?  
Really.  It's in the handbook.

I followed the recipe *almost* exactly, except I mistakenly bought the wrong kind of agave nectar (more on that in a minute).

You'll need these ingredients...
....will you please pretend you see vanilla extract in that picture?  Thank you!

 A close-up of almond flour...dontcha wanna reach right in that bag?

Let's get gluten-free, y'all!

Elana's Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies
{adapted and used with permission from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook}
  *makes 15-16 large cookies*

 2 & 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup light agave nectar (if you buy the amber, please see my notes below)
1 TBSP vanilla
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, salt, and baking soda.  

In a separate bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. 

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.

Fold in the chopped chocolate and refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.

Use a 2 TBSP cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet.  The cookies will spread, so leave 2 inches between each cookie. 

Bake for about 9 minutes until lightly golden.  Let the cookies cool for 20 minutes on the sheets. Serve warm or remove to wire racks to cool completely.

**If you mistakenly use amber agave like I did, the agave has a distinct deep, molasses flavor when the cookies are warm (they're still yummy). The next day, the amber agave mellows and the cookies are brilliant.  I might have inhaled two this morning...possibly three.  Shh...**

Having some delicious gluten-free recipes up my sleeve?  Works for me!

Thank you, Elana!!!

37 comments:

  1. Macaroons are gluten free too... maybe you could make those next! =]

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  2. The only thing I've ever made with gluten free almond flour was macarons...so far. I love the look of these cookies and how some of the melted chocolate formed almost heart shapes on the cookies.
    I'm a big fan of molasses so this amber agave is right up my alley.

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  3. Hi! I've been lurking for a little while. Love your style :)

    I used to feel the same way about GF baking, until I realised that you can often bypass all the schmancy flour types and just use a supermarket gluten free flour mix. I've had variable success with cupcakes - chai ones that turned out REALLY well, and pumpkin ones that fell flat (but tasted great) - but sometimes biscuits (cookies) actually turn out BETTER gluten free, maybe because they're less doughy. Scandalous, I know! If you want a truly amazing GF cake for your friend, look up Chocolate Heartache Cake. It's based on eggplant, of all things. Oh, my.

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  4. Elana is the sweetest person! I sat next to her at a Food & Light last summer and she's just the best! I need to pick up that cookbook..and yes, GF baking can be tricky sometimes!

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  5. I have always been a bit afraid of the GF word for a long time - but if a flour lovin'girl like you can bake a batch of gluten free (and make a random chocolate heart shaped on the top of one them them) they cant be that terrifying! What is the texture like?

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  6. I've been reading your blog for years, painfully adapting recipes to be GF.

    *with tears in eyes*! Thanks. And Elana rocks. She's saved many a birthday and special occasion for me over the past two years.

    Thanks for the love to the GF community, which seems to be growing substantially these days...

    Almond flour is the best...

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  7. Hi Bridget
    Thank you for posting the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.
    I’ve been looking for this recipe since forever! LOL. :D
    I’d like to invite you to submit the pictures of your Chocolate Chip Cookies to http://www.foodporn.net so other chefs can make the same creation. :)
    You know it’s fun to make others hungry. :D
    Can’t wait for your recipe. :D

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  8. once you get started and begin to bake no glutine it really isn't that difficult...just like everything else it just takes practice....thanks for the recipe and for the great book title...will send link to friend! hugs from the WEST PORTICO, P

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  9. once you get started and begin to bake no glutine it really isn't that difficult...just like everything else it just takes practice....thanks for the recipe and for the great book title...will send link to friend! hugs from the WEST PORTICO, P

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  10. Gluten free scares me too! But Elena is a pretty cool chick, so I bet these cookies are amazing!

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  11. Oh my gosh I get so nervous when I see gluten free stuff, and I always think it cannot taste any where near as good as the stuff we normally make. And I so don't think I will be brave enough to ever try. But if you can do it, I may be brave enough to try, one day, maybe....

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  12. Gluten free completely scares me! One of my co-workers has Celiac disease and when she told me, I (being the sensitive type : P ) blurt out "You mean no more cupcakes?!" I think I'll try this recipe and send her some.

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  13. My father has celiac disease, so I often bake GF for him. Had to learn because I love to bake for him. Last year, Thomas Keller introduced Cup 4 Cup Gluten free flour. IT IS MAGICAL. It literally can be substituted CUP FOR CUP for AP flour (I only had a problem with Gougeres... .but I think I was rushing). I can bake almost any recipe with this flour, and I don't need to add xantham gum or mix up different GF flours. MAGICAL.

    It is VERY expensive. I know that Gilt sold it and you can buy it from William Sonoma. It is worth EVERY penny. I have 4 3lb. bags in my pantry.

    I also have a GREAT gluten free gnocchi recipe that actually is better than the traditional gnocchi recipes I have made for years. Every time I visit my parents, I make 4 batches and freeze the gnocchi. I even use this recipe for my AP flour loving family at home. I would love to share with your savory site, but not certain how to reach you with that info.

    GO BUY C4C flour. It will change everything you think about GF baking!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Are you willing to share your GF gnocchi recipe? I've never made it before, and now being GF I'd really love to try it.

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  14. I'm right there with ya, Bridget. But I sure do love almond flour when I use it. I can't wait to try the C4C flour from Thomas Keller. I've heard it is amazing.

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  15. These look pretty darn good! I'm with you - and in fact if it has xantham gum in the ingredients I immediately move on. Almond flour, that's ok though! In fact, I just made gluten free 7 layer bars and was pleasantly surprised.

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  16. Wonderful!! I have been gluten free for 8 months now. I have a few good recipes I use and not so much afraid to bake GF now. =)

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  17. these look delicious Bridget!! I've often thought about giving GF a try, mainly for Steve, maybe I could try starting with these cookies.........

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  18. You seriously just made my day. I have 2 gluten-sensitive aunts, and I've been wanting for so long to find somewhere, some person/books like this that have a wealth of information on gluten free *baking*! I'm sooooo stoked for holiday season this year now!

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  19. Gotta get that cookbook! Good on ya for conquering your fear! Also, i LOVE almond flour. delicious stuff :)

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  20. My 15 year old son was diagnosed a year ago with Celiac. He also has food allergies - peanuts, nuts, eggs, mustard....talk about a challenge. These look yummy.

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  21. I need to get into more gluten free baking!

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  22. it might seem daunting, but just like with any other baking, the more you do gf, the easier it is. :) thanks so much for sharing this! i thought i'd let you know too that while i haven't tried any of elana's recipes, my understanding is that she uses a finer almond flour than the bob's red mill you used. bob's is pretty milly, but there is other almond flour out there that's much more refined in texture and produces far superior baked goods. (it's just not available in my area, so i haven't tried it.)

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  23. It scares me too! I used the Almond Flour to make this: https://thesecretlifeofmrsbundt.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/working-lunch-lemon-almond-tart/ and loved it. Not totally gluten free, but for my first attempt I was pleased. And I love Sweet Paul so any opportunity to share his work makes me happy.

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  24. These are gluten-free AND vegan. Even better! (I happen to be both)

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  25. LOOK GREAT! MY HUBBY IS GF SO I CREATED A NEW BLOG...ALL GLUTEN FREE!!! HOPE YOU'LL CHECK IT OUT FOR YOUR NEXT BAKING ADVENTURE FOR YOUR FRIEND! http://gfcookiesxo.blogspot.com/

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  26. I do not have much GF recipes in my file...I need to stack up. This really looks like a yummy cookie dish. I will try, definitely.

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  27. It is so exciting to see you experiment like this!! Such an amazing review of Elana's book and these cookies look amazing ~ I LOVE almond flour!

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  28. you should try macarons! they're gluten free too!

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  29. I believe I'm Bridget's aforementioned gluten free friend. EVERYTHING Bridget makes is awesome! And just so you know...the ice cream that night was scrumptious! You can't go wrong with ice cream, right?

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  30. Love this! I have a handful of gluten-free-ers in my life and I hate that they frequently have to pass on dessert. I'll stick this recipe in my pocket for such a time and maybe even get my hands on that cookbook! Thanks!

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  31. i have been following you for a while now and have just found out i have gluten intolerance. one of the MOST depressing parts of this is i have felt like i can no longer look at / use all the FAB food blogs i have been following and loving...your included. today i decided to just randomly look at some of the blogs i used to so love. its like torturing myself...UNTIL i found this post ! it was so nice to see. honestly you've made my day ! thanks for posting these cookies. i have almond flour and cannot WAIT to try these. i cannot tell you how nice it is to still be "included" in this way ! keep the GF recipies coming !!!!

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  32. When Everly was born,ergo baby carrier sale I wore her exclusively in my moby wrap and it was absolutely perfect for carrying a tiny,ergobaby canada snuggly newborn and keeping her warm during the winter months - but as she’s grown, it has stopped offering the back support I need to haul ergo baby carrier around a 16 + pounder (not to mention all that fabric is HOT in the NC summertime).

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  33. Love this! Her recipes are awesome, and I love seeing a gluten-free cookie Bridget-style. Seriously, that pic with the chocolate chunks...I want to hang it in my kitchen. We have a new neighbor, and I'm thinking this would be a great gift. I usually take traditional chocolate chip cookies, but so many people have food allergies these days.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
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