June 19, 2013

Bakery-style Chocolate Chip Cookies - free of the top 8 allergens

If you have followed Get Allergy Wise for awhile, you know that most of my recipes are adaptations of preexisting recipes.  I definitely need other recipes as road maps and realize how lucky I am to be able to search the web to find much of what I am looking for.  Recently acquired some parsnips but never cooked with them?  Search for recipes on the internet!  Only have carrots, onions, salsa, and a bag of rice in your cupboards?  Get meal ideas on the internet!  Seriously, we are spoiled with convenient, expansive information these days.

Despite the internet's bottomless pit of great recipes, I am still a fiddler by nature.  I can't help but play around with recipes -- sometimes a little and sometimes a lot -- to fit the needs of my milk-allergic, nut-allergic kids or to lower the sugar content, or to fulfill our family's lifestyle choice of eating more plants and less meat.

So it says a lot (and is pretty rare) when I do *not* find a thing to change about a recipe.  One such recipe is vegan author Dreena Burton's recipe for homestyle chocolate chip cookies.  The recipe is a favorite cookie recipe of mine.  When I first discovered it online two years ago, I think I made batches of it for three months straight, I was that addicted.  I love that the cookie uses oil rather than vegan margarine or shortening and also uses a good amount of maple syrup as the main sweetener.  Even Dreena's estimated bake time (11 minutes) was exactly right for my oven.  Okay, the one thing I did change was that I omit the molasses but that is because I never have any on hand.  Besides that, I couldn't find anything to change about this recipe!

I love Dreena's chocolate chip cookies but the tinkerer in me was curious.  I wondered if I might be able to do something about the wheat-based flour that the original recipe calls for.  Could I replace the flour with something that would be safe for those who are allergic to wheat or gluten-intolerant? 

I've tried the popular gluten-free flour blend of brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch.  But I seized the opportunity to go off the beaten GF trail and combine some flour alternatives that have accumulated in my pantry, flours that I must have bought after seeing recipes that I wanted to try but sadly haven't gotten to yet.  I opted for a more protein-rich mix of garbanzo flour (boy, I have a lot of that around!), potato starch, and quinoa flour.

The cookies turned out delicious!  Texture-wise and tastewise, they were very similar to the original recipe.  These cookies were able to attain a more golden brown color than when I make the original homestyle cookies.  (Perhaps the molasses that I always omit usually helps with browning?)  I think the quinoa flour adds a slight nutty flavor but this works fine with the chocolate.  And I don't know why, but big chocolate chunks elevates these cookies to another level.

Bakery-style Chocolate Chip Cookies - free of the top 8 allergens
Adapted from Dreena Burton's homestyle chocolate chip cookie recipe featured on her Vive La Vegan! blog and cookbook of the same name

Dry ingredients:
1 cup garbanzo flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup turbinado "raw" sugar

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup Enjoy Life mega chocolate chunks or 1 cup of safe chocolate, coarsely chopped
Extra sea salt (flakes are great) for sprinkling, optional
  1. Preheat 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease or line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.  Make sure any clumps of flour or starch are broken up to ensure even mixing.
  3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract into the well and mix the wet ingredients together.
  4. Gradually combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring through the dough so that there are no pockets of dry ingredients left.  The dough will be a little thin, not as sticky and thick as a typical gluten-full cookie mix.  Then stir in chocolate chunks. 
  5. Spoon out 1 to 1.5-inch balls of cookie dough on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with additional sea salt flakes if you so desire.  Leave 2 inches of space between each cookie -- these cookies do spread quite a bit!
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes or until cookies begin to turn golden.  Promptly remove from oven and let cool.
I find these vegan chocolate chip cookies -- Dreena's original or this gluten-free alternative -- very easy to prepare.  We are planning to do some cookie sales this summer to raise funds for the FARE Walk for Food Allergy.   Adding chocolate chunks versus chips is a fun touch to look more professional.


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