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Saturday, January 28, 2012

(Gluten-Free) Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been experimenting with gluten-free recipes.  

Not having much luck, I admit, with anything that should be light and fluffy--like bread, muffins, cakes, etc.

Cookies, however, are a different story.  
Erin made these.  Gluten-free sugar cookies, with a strawberry buttercream frosting that is out of this world.

I baked a gluten-free version of Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies.  "Loaded," because they are just overflowing with good stuff, and are as perfect a combo of crunchy-on-the-outside-and-chewy-on-the-inside as any non-gluten variety.

If you do not have gluten intolerance and wish to bake a "regular" version of these cookies, just follow the italicized notations!

Today's Playlist
  • "Believe".........The Bravery
  • "Perfect Situation"............Weezer
  • "Sick Boy"........Social Distortion
  • "I Fought The Law"........Mike Ness
  • "Reptilia"......The Strokes
  • "The Cave"............Mumford & Sons
  • "In The Garage"........Weezer
  • "Nickels And Dimes".......Social Distortion
  • "The Kids Aren't Alright"........The Offspring

Gluten-Free Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 24 HUGE cookies)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs (for regular recipe, use 2 eggs)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour mix, with xanthan gum included (for regular recipe, use 2 1/4 cups flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramel bits
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free pretzel pieces (for regular recipe, use regular pretzels!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Gather your ingredients.

Hopefully, you remembered to take your butter out ahead of time to soften.

To your softened butter, add the sugar......

and brown sugar.

Cream together until it's totally blended and incorporated.  No buttery lumps.  Many recipes will tell you to cream it together until it's light and fluffy.  

Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but my butter and sugar has never gotten to the "light and fluffy" stage.

I figure that as long as it's all mixed together, smooth with no lumps, I'm good to go.

Add the eggs and beat well to incorporate. The gluten-free version needs 3 eggs.  

(Remember, if you are not doing the gluten-free recipe, you only need to add 2 eggs.)

Add the vanilla, mix until blended.

Add the flour, 2 cups.  (If you are not making the gluten-free version, add 2 1/4 cups flour.)

The gluten-free flour mix I am using has rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum.  Gluten-free flours can make your baked goods a bit dry and crumbly.  The xanthan gum helps to hold everything together.  Increasing the liquid (in the case of this recipe, adding an extra egg) and decreasing the flour (in this case, by 1/4 cup) that the "regular" recipe calls for will also help to make the cookies less dry.

Okay, back to adding the dry ingredients.

Add the salt......

and baking soda.

Mix on low until just combined.
Add the chocolate chips.  I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you could use milk chocolate or white chocolate.

Add the caramel bits.  Don't they look like chick peas?  Just sayin'.

And lastly, add the pretzel pieces.  I used gluten-free pretzel sticks and broke them in half.  You only need 1/2 cup of the pretzel pieces, I would suggest breaking them by hand, so that you'll end up with less crumbs than you would if you crushed them.

Stir to mix in all the yummy bits.

Drop them onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  I used my favorite cookie scoop and scooped out gigantic (about 3 tablespoons each) cookies.  

You can make your cookies as large or as small as you like.  The size is not important.  What is important is that they be uniform in size, to ensure that they will cook evenly.

My gigantic cookies took 14 minutes to cook.  If you drop them by polite little teaspoonfuls, they will probably only take about 8 minutes to cook.

You will know they are done when they are no longer mounded, but spread out, and they start to brown a bit around the edges.


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