Baking gluten free cookies is a challenge I am enjoying embracing. Before Christmas there was a huge list of GF cookie recipes on Ginger Lemon Girl. A few days ago, I finally made a batch of cookies from the list - Ricki’s cashew choc chip cookies which were both gluten free and vegan. When I saw these on Diet, Dessert and Dogs, I was immediately intrigued by the unusual combination of ingredients. Cashews are probably my favourite nuts and I love cashew nut butter, although I don't buy it often.
Having just made an impulse purchase of cashew nut butter, I was pleased to find that I had almost all the ingredients in my kitchen. The only one I lacked was coconut butter which I am yet to embrace. The recipe was fairly easy and appealed because it only made 10 cookies. (My last batch of choc chip cookies made dozens and, over a month later, I am still nibbling my way through the swag of them in my freezer!).
These cookies smelt wonderfully sweet and spicy as they came out of the oven. The texture was so creamy when warm that I thought maybe it was just warm cookie dough. But as they cooled they become more crumb-like inside. Hot or cold they were very crumbly to touch (I think they would have collapsed if I had tried to take them off the tray before they cooled) but they held together well enough when cool – I did wonder if the coconut butter would have made a difference. The cardamom was quite strong and I thought maybe just a pinch next time and perhaps some orange zest might get the taste right for me. Overall I was really pleased with this recipe.
This sort of recipe makes me stop and think how much I have changed in my baking habits. When I was a child making chocolate crackles, grubs, anzac biscuits and honey joys, the idea of such biscuits would have seemed so fanciful. We never even made choc chip cookies. Now I feel I have such weird and wonderful ingredients that recipes like Ricki’s don’t scare me.
Since gluten free food has become an issue for my family last year, I have been determined to cook gluten free food that anyone can make without having to run to the nearest health food store and arm themselves with a box of unpronounceable ingredients that seem more like alien foods in sci fi movies. When I became vegetarian I wanted to prove anyone could (and often did) eat yummy vegetarian food. It was both a challenge and a voyage of wonderful discoveries. Gluten free cooking appeals to me in a similar way. But I am finding that, just as I don’t flinch at cooking with tofu, tempeh, and tahini these days, that gluten free cooking is revealing to me a whole host of exciting new tastes and textures.
So, it seems that one person’s comfort zone is another’s worst nightmare. I think what I am trying to say is that these cookies may seem overwhelmingly foreign in ingredients and taste for some people. It saddens me to think that I can’t please everyone. But fortunately our comfort zones can be a place of change. I love learning just how many different styles, ingredients and tastes are available for my enjoyment in the world of cooking. And I know that I wouldn’t be exposed to so many of them without the wonderful world of blogging. Roll on the next challenge!
Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Diet Dessert and Dogs)
⅔ cup (scant) cashew butter (at room temperature)
1 Tbsp organic coconut butter, melted (I used margarine)
1 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup ground flax seeds
⅛ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, mix the cashew butter, coconut butter, and tahini until smooth. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and mix well. Add remaining ingredients. It makes quite a stiff but soft batter.
Place spoonfuls of batter on a greased or lined baking tray. Wet your palms to smooth and slightly flatten each cookie - this is Ricki’s advice – I didn’t do it and found that, once baked, mine looked exactly the shape they were when I dropped them on the baking tray, so next time I will follow her advice. Ricki also says they will spread slightly but mine didn’t.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking tray. They will be too crumbly and soft to remove when hot but will firm up as they cool.
On the stereo:
Everything Must Go: Manic Street Preachers