April 23, 2012

Gluten-free Not-So-Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies That Don't Taste Like Crap

     These cookies are not paleo or primal or very low carb.  They are gluten-free.  When I first started eating gluten-free, I went through a period of eating gluten-free substitutes.  I probably ate every godawful gluten-free product out there, wasting a ton of money on stuff that tasted horrible and had a carb/calorie count through the roof.  I did find a few that I like that I keep around in case I want a certain taste - Udi's bread for the occasional toast, Tinkyada pasta for the rare pasta dish (I now like zucchini better), and maybe some GF crackers once in a while.  But I don't buy or eat them often.  I also bought just about every GF flour back in the day, trying in vain to reproduce an edible bread or cake.  Almost all were terrible and probably three times the cost of regular baked products and were full of alternate grains or bean flours.  I probably wasted hundreds of dollars.  Finally, I realized that I would never completely recreate the tastes of non-GF foods and, with the exception of the short list above, I don't bother with GF products much anymore.  
     I see the same trend happening in the paleo/primal community.  I have several paleo cookbooks that attempt to recreate cookies or cakes or some other "treat" by subbing stevia (blech) or eliminating the sugar entirely or subbing honey or maple syrup.  Maple syrup is supposed to contain a bit more glucose than fructose, but it imparts a maple flavor that I just don't enjoy in my desserts.  Same with honey and it generally has a higher fructose content than I like.  Some use coconut flour which for some reason (FODMAPS?) gives me stomach cramps every time I eat it.  Coconut oil is OK, but it imparts a slight coconut taste to baked goods that, again, I just don't enjoy.  So my new motto is this:  A foray into the dessert world is fine on occasion but I want the same flavor that I am used to - no weirdly tasting sub-par dessert if I am going to waste some calories or carbs (which I don't count anyway) on it.  One caveat though - they will always be GF - the repercussions of non-GF food on my system is not good and never worth it.
     For several years, I have tried to reproduce an GF chocolate chip cookie that tastes and has the consistency of those my mother, who was an amazing baker, made.  I've had some success with taste, but the texture was never quite right.  GF cookies tend to be soft or crumbly, especially the next day.  Last night, I tried again. ( I am embarking on a Personal Paleo Code/ala Chris Kresser adventure starting May 1st, and I thought I might indulge this last week in April.) My favorite cookie flour is Honeyville Blanched Almond so I started with the recipe on the back of the bag that is based on Elana's Pantry recipe.  But as usual, I am never satisfied with a recipe as it stands and I thought to change it up a bit.  My recipe has real sugar (because honey and syrup make cookies too moist and soft and because agave syrup is just nasty fructose-laden junk).  It's only 1/2 cup of real sugar for 20 very large cookies, so that is 1/40 of a cup per cookie - I doubt it will kill me.  It has real Nestle semisweet chocolate chips (1/20 of a cup per cookie), so a bit more sugar comes from those.  But, and this is a big BUT, the sugar improves the texture immensely.  The edges brown a bit and get just a bit crunchy, while the middle stays chewy with just a bit of "bite" to it.  That is what I'm looking for.  I also used butter instead of grape seed oil (again, blech).  And finally, I added an egg because every recipe in my mother's old recipe book for cookies contain eggs.  The dough without the egg was crumbly and grainy.  WIth the egg, it turned into a lovely cookie dough reminiscent of my mother's.  Here's the recipe.  It's not paleo or primal or low carb, but it is gluten-free.  And it is delicious.  And it is a special treat that fits into my paleo/primal world once in a while.

Gluten-free Not-So-Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies That Don't Taste Like Crap

Mix dry ingredients:
2 1/4 cups almond flour (Honeyville is best, hands down)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix wet ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar with 1 tbsp water (or just enough to moisten the sugar to the consistency of honey)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter

Blend wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add 1 cup chocolate chips.

Use an ice cream scoop or large melon baller to scoop out generous portions of dough onto a cookie sheet.  Flatten the cookies to about 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick with your hand.  They will not spread much on their own if at all.  Bake at 325 until the edges are lightly browned and the middles are not mushy.  Cool and enjoy!  I stored these in a cookie can and the next day they were just as good.  Here's a picture - they are as good as they look, maybe better!

1 comment:

  1. Some gluten free products are indeed tasteless. I'm glad I came across this recipe and I find it so interesting because I like desserts. This chocolate chip cookie recipe is a must try.