Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gluten Free / Vegan Chocolate Chip (And Double Chocolate Chip!) Cookies

This recipe is from Babycakes by Erin McKenna.  This cookbook changed my life.  I have altered the recipe a bit, but the one below is very similar to the one that appears in the book.  The only thing you have to do to turn these chocolate chip cookies into double chocolate chip cookies is use 1/2 cup less all purpose flour, add 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the coconut oil / sugar bowl and use 1/3 cup of Apple sauce instead of the 6 tablespoons.

To make Double Chocolate Mint Cookies, prepare the double chocolate chip variation and add a tsp of peppermint extract.  They taste like Christmas!

3/4 cup coconut oil (this comes in a relatively solid state, just microwave it so it's a liquid)
6 tbs homemade or unsweetened applesauce (I use my own pear sauce now, the recipe follows)
1 tsp salt
2 tbs pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice (you can find this at any health food store, maybe grocery store)
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-purpose baking flour (most grocery stores carry this)
1/4 cup flax meal (health food store or grocery store)
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (health food store-Whole Foods carries it now as well)
1 cup vegan (or not!) chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325.  Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, salt, vanilla, and evaporated cane juice.  In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking soda, and xanthan gum.  Using a rubber spatula, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until a grainy dough is formed.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they're evenly distributed.

Using a melon baller, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the portions 1 inch apart.  Bake the cookies on the center rack for 15 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after nine minutes (this is important!).  The finished cookies will be crisp on the edge and soft in the center.

Let the cookies stand on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely before covering. These cookies freeze well!

I recommend using metal measuring cups for both the wet and dry ingredients and measuring carefully really makes a difference in gluten free baking.  I know some of the ingredients are bizarre, but they're relatively simple to get your hands on.  I use an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough (the ones with the handles that only portion out a specific amount) and that way they're uniform and bake evenly.  I like to use a tiny scoop so I can make several dozen and eat a whole bunch at once but rationalize that I really only had two normal cookies....

Use these little guys for everything - ice cream sandwiches, dunk them in coconut milk, grind them in a food processor to sprinkle them over your favorite vegan ice cream, make a crust for a vegan ice cream cake or cheesecake...

Roasted Pear Sauce:

 4-6 medium sized pears of your choice (I like the variety bags, usually)
 Agave nectar (I eyeball this!  probably a quarter of a cup)
 Cinnamon (I eyeball this, too...I'd estimate around 3 tbs)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray sheet pan with oil spray of your choice and set aside.  Peel and cut pears into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place on baking sheet.  Pour agave over the top of the pears and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Toss to coat.

Arrange pears in a fairly even layer before placing on the center rack of the oven.  Check and rotate sheet after 20 minutes, toss the pears so they roast evenly.  I generally cook mine for about 40 minutes - you want them to be nicely roasted so they blend well.

Let cool.


1/4 to 1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup agave (optional)

Place Roasted Pears in food processor or blender.  Pulse to combine.  Start by adding 1/4 cup of hot water.  The pear sauce should be the same consistency as apple sauce, so you'll have to use your best judgment.  Test it!  If it isn't sweet enough, add the additional agave.

I use this pear sauce recipe in a lot of my baking and it's a delicious snack, too!

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