This surprised me …these amazing cookies that came to life in my oven. In the past, when I would see the phrase “gluten-free” on a package or label, I would just continue on my way. Can’t be so good, right? Turns out I was mistaken.
I’ll confess that I have an ulterior motive with this one. We have recently discovered that my eight-year-old granddaughter is gluten intolerant. So many of the foods that I prepare on a regular basis are shared with her at family gatherings.
So, I now have an additional focus when deciding on dishes to feature on this site. I’ll still include the crowd favorites. You know the ones I’m talking about …pasta, pizza, and bread. But if there is a dish that can be just as delicious by eliminating the gluten, I’m ready to give it a try.
We are so fortunate to live in a well-populated area where there are quite a few grocery stores offering a variety of items …the unusual ingredients. You know the ones where not too long ago we’d have to drive a distance to Whole Foods or search for them online. Our local “go-to” store now has several well-stocked aisles loaded with organic shelf-stable items, which include a substantial display of gluten-free products.
There are some folks who like to mix up their own gluten-free all-purpose flour to have on hand. But for this presentation, I went with a bag of Bob’s Red Mill pre-mixed flour. It’s affordable and as it turns out …makes a darn good cookie. And while on the subject of flour and baking, I have found that it is so much easier and more precise to measure baking ingredients by weight rather than by volume. If you have a decent digital kitchen scale, drag it out and dust it off. If not, you may want to consider investing in one. Just a thought.
The butter and dark chocolate bits are melted and blended in a heat-proof glass (or metal) bowl that is suspended over a pot of simmering water. The bowl is then transferred to your work area to continue. Here’s the best news …the entire creation of this amazing batter is completed in this bowl. No mixer or blender needed. Just your favorite wooden spoon. Or spatula.
Once the sugar, vanilla, and eggs have been incorporated, it’s time to add the flour mixture. Be sure to stir the batter vigorously for several minutes. You’ll notice that the batter will thicken significantly as you stir it. If it still feels warm to the touch, place the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes before adding the chocolate chips.
These cookies are large …like the ones you see in the bakery case. About four inches wide, chewy in the center and crisp on the edges. It’s important to spread the batter on the tray to flatten them before baking. The batter round should measure at around three inches in diameter. If you prefer smaller, chewier cookies …just use less batter (about one tablespoon) and let the batter rest in a mound on the baking sheet. Take a look at the recipe that inspired me for an example of the smaller version.
When the cookies are done, they need some cooling off time before transferring them. They tend to break easily when they are fresh from the oven. Just shift them, parchment paper included, over to a wire rack to cool completely.
The flavor of these cookies will remind you of a good piece of dark chocolate. If you prefer a sweeter cookie, replace the 60% cacao chocolate with milk chocolate pieces …or even white chocolate. If you like, add some flaked sea salt to the just from the oven cookies. Or once cooled off, sprinkle with some confectioner’s sugar. Here’s another thought …add some chopped nuts to the batter. Whatever way you like them. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for several days …if they last that long.
gluten-free dark chocolate cookies
Loosely adapted from a FOOD52 recipe
By Alice Medrich, Bittersweet Brownie Drops
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao)
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour (50 grams)
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (175 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large cold eggs
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (170 grams)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter with the 8 ounces of dark chocolate in a medium heat-proof glass (or stainless steel) bowl set directly in a wider skillet or pot of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the mixture is melted, smooth and fairly hot to the touch.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together thoroughly and set it aside.
Remove the bowl of chocolate from the water bath. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add 1 egg, and stir briskly until it is incorporated. Repeat with the second egg. Add the flour mixture. Stir the batter vigorously with a wooden spoon or spatula until it is smooth and shiny and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
If the batter is still on the warm side, place the bowl in the refrigerator for several minutes. Be sure the batter is completely cool to the touch, then stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.
Use 2 slightly rounded tablespoons of batter for each cookie. Place the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread the batter to create a flat surface of about 3 inches in diameter. There should be a least 2 inches between each to allow for the cookies to spread during the baking process.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and a little cracked on the surface and feel soft and tender—but not squishy— when touched with a fingertip. Rotate the sheets from upper to lower and front to back about halfway through the time to ensure even baking. The cookies will firm up as they cool.
Set the pan on racks to cool, or slide the parchment liners from the baking sheets to the racks. Once cooled, cookies will keep in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.