Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found myself dancing between two pitfalls as I tweaked this recipe. The first was that Universal problem of Gluten Free Flatness (UGFF, if you will), where the cookies come out as sickly, sprawling things. The second was overcompensation, soft, puffy cookies with a cakelike mouthfeel. An improvement over the cookie puddles, but not quite right. The addition of sweet rice flour adds the perfect chewy mouthfeel amidst the all-over softness. My wheat-eating friend has been happily gobbling up the castoffs all week. 

  • 150 g (2/3 Cup) Butter, about 1 Stick + 2 1/2 Tbsp
  • 95 g (1/2 Cup) Sugar
  • 105 g (1/2 Cup) Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Xanthan
  • 105 g Glutinous Rice Flour or Sweet Rice Flour (1 1/4 Cup Glutinous Rice Flour or 3/4 Cup Sweet Rice Flour)
  • 40 g White Rice Flour (1/3 Cup White Rice Flour or 1/4 Cup Superfine Rice Flour)
  • 65 g (1/2 Cup) Tapioca Flour
  • 4 g (1 Tsp) Baking Soda
  • 5 g (1 Tsp) Salt (reduce by half if using salted butter)
  • 340 g (2 Cups) Chocolate Chips, one full bag

Special Equipment
Cookie Scoop (optional)

About 30 minutes, if you have enough cookie sheets

Around 30 standard-sized cookies

Move one of your oven racks to the center of the oven if there’s not one there, and preheat oven to 350 F. 

Nuke the 150 g (2/3 cup) butter in a medium bowl until just soft enough to blend. Add the 95 g (1/2 cup) sugar, 105 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar, and, making sure the bowl and butter are no more than lukewarm, the 2 eggs.  Add the 1 1/2 tsp xanthan, making sure to drop it in the middle of the bowl rather than along an edge. Mix the contents of the bowl thoroughly.

Weighing or using the scoop and level technique to measure with cups, combine the 105 g (1 1/4 cups) glutinous rice flour, 40 g (1/3 cup) white rice flour, 65 g (1/2 cup) tapioca flour, 4 g (1 tsp) baking soda and 5 g (1 tsp) salt, reducing the salt to 1/2 tsp if you used salted butter.  (If you're feeling strong, you can skip mixing the dry ingredients separately and just stir them in really well.)

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and then mix in chocolate chips. The batter is very dense, and I find that a wooden spoon and a silicone spatula work best. If you’re using a hand mixer, stop and let it rest if it starts to feel warm.

Roll the cookie dough into balls (or use a cookie scoop)

These cookies usually take 9-12 minutes in my oven. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, I recommend you start checking them at 7 minutes. They are ready when they are just the tiniest (TINIEST!!) bit browned on the outside edges. 

You should really, really buy a baking scale
In the US, most of us grow up measuring with cups and spoons. We think of baking scales as sort of weird, complicated, and expensive, if we think about them at all. Nothing could be further from the truth; they are small, cheap (a perfectly good one costs about twenty bucks) and save dirty dishes. They also ensure that the cookies you’re making are the same as the cookies I’m making. Even after testing my measuring cups for accuracy and triple checking the flour densities that my conversion spreadsheet uses, the cookies I made when I measured by volume were significantly different than the original. They still tasted good, but they looked slightly odd. For some ingredients, like sugar, measuring with a cup is perfectly fine and there is hardly any error. For things like flour, that’s not the case at all. Even if you’re measuring properly, by scooping in the flour and then leveling it off, the amount of error is significant (and that’s not even considering how wildly different measuring cup sizes can be). Another huge benefit to cooking by weight is that it becomes much easier to scale a recipe up or down, without ending up trying to measure 4/5 tbsp or 3/8 cups. It’s nice to be able to cook just as much as you want, and being able to tinker without wasting a lot of ingredients (and knowing that you’ll be able to reliably reproduce your results) is likely to make you much more willing to experiment in the kitchen.


Amazon Links for Ingredients:
Glutinous Rice Flour
White Rice Flour
Tapioca Flour

Cookie Scoop
Oven Thermometer
$20 Baking Scale

Sweet Rice Flour (Certified GF)
White Rice Flour (Certified GF)
Tapioca Flour (Certified GF)

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