If there is one food I’ve excelled at making, it has always been chocolate chip cookies. I began attempting to bake them as a preteen using an antiquated recipe from the American Woman’s Cookbook (1939) which worked better than any other I’d ever read. The cookies always came out soft and chewy, and were reliably just as wonderful the next day or even several days later. Often, I boxed and wrapped them and gave them for Christmas presents, and not once did I ever hear a complaint.
After years of making them, when the recipe became engraved in my head, I began to play with the ingredients. I swore I would never give away my recipe to anyone besides Jackie Macedonio, who was my cook when I ran Bomburritos catering. I had to provide it to her because the cookies were on the menu.
Wheat sensitivity and weight loss goals eventually took those amazing cookies off my list. As I talk to people who visit the website, though, many of them are clamoring for gluten-free recipes that don’t taste different from the original food. Before I cook, I do my research, but even after reading about several gluten-free all-purpose blends, nothing impressed me. When I went to the store to purchase the GF flour, the colorful but small bag of Pamela’s was calling to me. I listened. I still don’t know why.
As I set out to make the cookies, I figured I’d have to seriously tweak the recipe on the Pamela’s package, but the 5th grade teacher in me started dividing the measurements down to a smaller batch, and guess what? They basically matched that old, classic recipe. So, I didn’t use the Pamela’s recipe or even add xanthan gum. I just used my recipe, the one etched in my brain. I mixed them, all the while thinking, “They’ll taste gluten free.” I baked them with little confidence, but 12 minutes later, there they were. Cookies that tasted like my famous chocolate chip cookies, and they were so good, who would ever have time to notice, “These are gluten free.”
Now, I cannot begin to tell you that these cookies are healthy food, except that walnuts are the most nutrition-packed nut, and if you use dark chocolate, there are benefits including cell reparation, heart health and mood elevation. Organic gluten-free oats are a great cereal alternative for people with wheat sensitivity or celiac disease. The nutritional benefits of oats include lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancers, including breast cancer in postmenopausal women. If you don’t eat butter, try replacing it with coconut oil or avocado, but I cannot vouch for the same results I had using unsalted butter.
(Makes 24 cookies)
1 1/8 cups Pamela’s all-purpose gluten-free blend
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup organic turbinado sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 ozs. chocolate chips (use your favorite kind, but to be truly gluten-free, make sure the chips don’t contain wheat or have cross-contamination)
1/4 cup Irish oatmeal or organic oatmeal (regular oats may be cross-contaminated)
1/3rd cup walnut pieces
1. To make preparation easier, soften the butter for 15 – 30 minutes before you begin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl. I do it by hand with a wooden spoon.
3. In a small bowl, crack the egg and beat it until it’s frothy. Add the vanilla and combine with the egg.
4. Pour the egg/vanilla mixture into the creamed butter and sugar and mix well.
5. In a medium bowl, sift the gluten-free blend. Add the baking soda and sea salt and combine.
6. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the large bowl and combine thoroughly.
7. Mix in the oatmeal, then the chocolate chips and walnuts until each bite will have something in it, chip or nut.
8. On a prepared baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange spoonfuls of cookies so that they are about 1 inch apart in all directions. You may need to bake two batches or use two pans.
9. Place in the center of the oven on a shelf at medium level, and bake for 12-15 minutes. Watch the cookies as 12 minutes approaches to decide if they are done or need a minute or two or three more.
10. Remove the cookies when they are a light golden color and cool on the stovetop or on a rack.
11. Enjoy with your favorite milk-type beverage. I like an almond-coconut blend. Don’t eat them all! It may be hard, but do your best.