Gluten + Dairy-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

On days I’m a little overwhelmed or harboring heavy feelings at the state of events lately, I’ve pulled up a short video that harkens me right back to my 14 through 18-year old self. I can smell the straw and the hay, the musty dust in the barn air, the damp, oily, pungent scent of wool, and of lambing. The smell of iodine as we dipped new lamb’s navels. And this, one of the most soothing of sights. It’s slightly ironic that I had been thinking for a long while about sharing a non-dairy milk in this season. Since for adults, milk is not actually mandatory food. Yet most of us still drink milk or ‘mylk’, in whatever way. And it’s clear to me that my routine of watching the new lamb drinking one of its first meals, the soothing calm I feel when returned to old memories, is all about finding some comfort, and of the awe of watching new life, a whole new world unfolding.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been fairly quiet and unsure of my place in this current moment we’re in. I’ve experienced the range of emotions like a lot of people. I’ve been so close to just quietly closing my facebook account for sheer “can’t handle the vile and ignorance there,” but I’ve also understood – because I too was once extremely ignorant. And in some aspects, am only a little less so now. I’m still learning, along with most of us.

But I also have been sitting on several recipes and meals, several thoughts about our relationships to our bodies, and how we block out how we’re really doing in order to navigate our worlds. I’m not sure I have the bandwidth yet to to delve deep into those second topics, but we all need to eat, and in our own ways, find comfort amidst the sometimes dramatic shifts of the ever-changing seasons.

Today I’d thought to share my norm, a healthy seasonal recipe. But on this solstice weekend, what’s speaking to me more is that idea of comfort amidst change. So we have instead an updated recipe of the ultimate American comfort classic, Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you need a little treat, go ahead and make them, along with the non-dairy milk I last shared, and enjoy while watching the video linked above on repeat. The trio will be a comfortable hug to self. :)

Lastly before the recipe, a couple lines from a blessing I’ll share more about in coming days or weeks. Whether you choose to make cookies or not, I encourage you to meditate on the meaning of these words to you as you make a meal or treat in the kitchen, or during your next workout, next yoga session, or time in silence contemplating the solstice:

May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.


From A Blessing for the Senses by John O’Donohue in his Anam Ċara

Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten + dairy-free), makes about 24
2 cups /240 grams gf all-purpose flour
1/2 cup / 50 grams oatmeal, finely ground into a course flour or 1/2 cup oat flour, gluten-free if necessary
1/4 cup sugar / 50 grams
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup /100 grams coconut oil
1 egg or flax egg
1/2 cup / 120 ml brown rice syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. water
A dark chocolate bar, cut into 1/2 cup of rough chunks, or 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If using flax instead of an egg, mix 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 Tablespoons warm water and stir together to form a little slurry.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, egg or flax mixture, brown rice syrup, vanilla and water.
  • Stir into the dry ingredients, and mix in chocolate chunks.
  • Cover and chill the batter for about an hour or overnight.
  • Divide into cookies on a baking pan and bake each batch for about 10 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies {gluten + dairy-free}


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When I first learned to bake, I’d make all the cookie recipes in my mom’s old cookbooks. The vintage Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook were well-worn and loved, so my first cookies came from those books. When we finally got Internet, I branched out and Martha Stewart’s recipes became my favorite. Chocolate Chip was never my go-to cookie, but it was my sister’s, so I ate my fair share.

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I had a particular fondness for oatmeal raisin, and while I always made chocolate chip as thank you gifts, I never could bring myself to choose them for my own enjoyment. Until W and I attempted a completely revamped chocolate chip cookie.

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These cookies have brown rice syrup and oil instead of butter, and just enough finely ground  oats to give them a hint of oatmeal-cookie-texture. They stay soft for days on end when other cookies go dry and crumbly. They have the best flavor. They dunk nicely in a cup of tea, if you’re a non milk-and-cookie person. And they are gluten-free!

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These are the cookies W requests, the ones we like to have on hand when friends come for dinner, the ones W liberally talks up to all the relatives, and eats by the stack during long study sessions. The Recipe Redux‘s November theme is holiday mixes, and these are definitely the cookies we will package up into a nice make-at-your-leisure jar snuggled into our holiday gift baskets.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies,adapted from Martha Stewart
2 cups gf all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, finely ground into a course flour or 1/2 cup oat flour, gluten-free if necessary
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
 
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg or flax egg
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. water
  • For a packaged cookie mix, measure out and layer dry goods into a large jar.  Lay chocolate chips along the top, and seal.
  • To make cookies, mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  In medium bowl, whisk together oil, egg, syrup, vanilla and water.
  • Stir into the dry ingredients, and mix in choolate chips.
  • Cover and chill the bowl of batter for about an hour or overnight.
  • Bake each batch for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.
 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

“Good habits are as addictive as bad habits but, you know, much more rewarding.”  That simple thought may be my lifeline right now, as I consider the extreme parallel- interests my thoughts have taken lately.

School –  Running –  Cooking.

Teaching –  Running –  A Quick and Healthy Meal.

Learning New Curriculum –  Running hours before sunrise –  Breakfast with pumpkins.

Got to get to that stack of grading –  Workout tomorrow – Remember to check the lights on the hydroponics at school – Roast up those pumpkins for cookies.

Welcome to my world.  The only thing that has kept my new work life “balanced” is equally obsessing over my other two loves, running and spending quality time in the kitchen.

Weeks ago now, I know, but as I was leaving my parent’s house the week before Thanksgiving, I was encouraged to take two perfect little pie pumpkins.  I intended to use them for a pumpkin pie.  That week got busy, however, and I pulled out a can instead.  Now, a couple weeks later and already full force into the Christmas season, I am busy pumpkin-ing up meals on a regular basis.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin oatmeal, rosemary roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin risotto, the list goes on.  What I’d really been meaning to re-vamp for months now are amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  They are gluten and dairy-free and even better than the original recipe (less cakey, more cookie-y).  Perfect to share for holiday festivities.  Or just to warm and comfort on a cold December day!

Going back to that, ahem, good habits and balance thing, I know my diet may be a wee bit heavy on the orange veg lately, but I keep saying to myself, “You are balanced.  You have three lovely things to not stop thinking about”.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from Culinate
4 oz.  / 1/2 cup coconut oil 
1 egg or 3 Tbs. aquafava
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
12 1/2 oz. / ~2 3/4 cups gluten-free flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
about 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a medium bowl, weigh out the flour and combine with the xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Fold in about half a cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Pack a cookie scoop level with dough and drop the dough onto a cookie sheet.  Add a couple chocolate chip pieces to each cookie.  (I DO like a balanced ratio of pumpkin to chocolate, so tend to only add a few to the batter and then add as needed to each cookie.)
  6. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.