Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gluten-Free Baking 101: How to Customize Your Own Recipe for Gluten-Free Cookies

Quick. What's your favorite cookie?

Chocolate chip?

Double chocolate?

Straight up sugar cookies?

I don't discriminate. I like them all.

Which is why I want to teach you today how to make your OWN recipe for gluten-free cookies. What I'm giving you here is a basic recipe to follow, an outline if you will. I did the same for gluten-free, vegan waffles and pancakes, and that recipe has probably been used more times than all my other recipes combined. It's not just because it's good. It's because it's simple and gives you, the reader, control over the ingredients you want to use.

Let's start. Here's the recipe. Below the recipe, you'll find notes on each ingredient and what you can use: 

My mom's latest batch, following my guidelines

Make Your Own Gluten-Free Cookies
This recipe is designed to be foolproof. You can take this general recipe and customize it as you like. Read the whole post as it contains information on what ingredients can be used. 

1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour
1/3 - 2/3 cup granulated sugar (2/3 cup is pretty sweet, so err on the side of less)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons puree
6 tablespoons liquid fat
(Optional) 1/2 teaspoon extract
(Optional) 2/3 cup add-ins

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set out 2 cookie sheets. You can grease them, but I find it's generally not necessary with these cookies. (Depending on what ingredients you use, the number of cookies you end up with will change, but expect to make around 12-16 cookies.)
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the puree, fat, and extract. Stir until completely mixed. 
  3. Stir in the add-ins if using. 
  4. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten slightly. Depending on what ingredients you use, your dough may be stickier and you will not be able to roll it into balls. In that case, just drop the dough onto the cookie sheets as you would any other drop cookies. Those will spread slightly. 
  5. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 
What can you use for the above ingredients?

1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (without xanthan gum) OR
  • 1 cup flour (brown rice, garbanzo bean, sorghum, teff, buckwheat, millet, or quinoa)  + 1/3 cup starch (potato, arrowroot, tapioca, or cornstarch) - in this case, you can use 1 cup of just one flour (i.e. 1 cup brown rice flour + 1/3 cup tapioca starch) or you can mix a bunch of flours together, equaling 1 cup. Sometimes I just take out all my bags of flour and add a few tablespoons of each until I reach 1 cup, then I add my 1/3 cup of starch OR
  • To make these grain-free, you'll have to make a few changes to the basic outline, so instead I'll give you the link to the almond flour/coconut flour version I made
I deliberately left a few flours off this list. Almond flour and coconut flour require too many changes, so see the link above. I don't like the flavor amaranth flour gives to cookies, so I left it out. I haven't baked with oat flour before, so I also left that out. White rice flour tends to make them too chewy, a bit like mochi, and rather bland. 

2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Cane sugar, Sucanat, brown sugar
  • Coconut palm sugar, xylitol, erythritol
  • Any other granulated sugar
6 tablespoons puree
  • Pureed fruit (i.e. applesauce, pureed pear, pureed banana)
  • Pureed sweet potato, pumpkin or other winter squash (these should be cooked before pureeing)
6 tablespoons liquid fat
  • Oil (grapeseed, canola, olive)
  • Melted butter
  • Melted coconut oil
  • Melted Earth Balance
1/2 teaspoon extract
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Any other extract for a different flavor (almond, orange, etc.)
2/3 cup (optional) add-ins 
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chopped nuts 
  • Chopped dried fruit or raisins
  • Coconut flakes
  • Sesame seeds
  • Have fun!
How to add protein to your cookies:
For vegans, you can add chopped nuts or seeds to your batter. For non-vegans, eggs are a great way to increase the protein in your cookies:
  • Add 1 large egg with your wet ingredients. Cut the puree down from 6 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons. Cut the baking powder down from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon. 
Cookie recipes that I've used this basic recipe for:
Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Lemon Mint Cookies
Sesame Breakfast Cookies (recipe in my cookbook) 

Make sense? Have questions? Leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer!

Come up with a version of this that you enjoy? Feel free to leave a comment with your recipe or a link to your recipe if you post it. 


Anne said...

This is fabulous! Thanks!

Kaverin mamma said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. These were so easy and quick to make, and tasty too. A great addition to our allergic family cookbook. :)

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into sharing this. Love how open-ended the recipe is and that it doesn't rely on almond flour. You're the best!

Stefania said...

oh boy, these r good. I used teff and chickpea flour, with tapioca starch. Then used 3 tbsp. of puree banana and 3 tbsp. of unsweetened applesauce. only use 1/3c of coconut sugar and unsweetened shredded coconut with raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds. They are beautiful.

thebradiricks said...

I've tried to Pin this post and it won't let me because there's no image that uploads with it. Don't know if that's something you can fix on your end...or if that's something I'm supposed to do?? Just thought I'd let you know. Maybe you could Pin it, so it could spread that way too!

PharmerFarmer said...

I WAS so excited. I was just wanting to make cookies and found yours. I have your cookbooks and love the food. I had given up on successfully baking until then. Thank you.

Jessica Miller said...

I think it is not that hard to cook gluten free food. Just replace some ingredient with their gluten free substitution and you are done.

Amber said...

How much cocoa would you add in to make these chocolate?

Iris said...

Great question, Amber. I would use 1 cup of gluten free flours, then replace the 1/3 cup of starch with 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. That usually works for me.

Jenna said...

Yum! I just tried this recipe with teff and sorghum flour rand tapioca starch. I added cashews and coconut with cinnamon and vanilla for flavor. I would cut back on the sugar. I only used 1/2 cup but with puréed banana that was a little sweet. I'll definitely make this again soon.

burghgrl said...

Ahhhh beauty, you're a GEM! This stroke of brilliance is akin to a powerfully bright lighthouse in a dark& stormy sea. I've been in a state of MISERY since the gluten issue in my life & so so so desiring just the simple comfort of a stinkin COOKIE that doesnt cost three/four dollars and taste like cardboard. THANK YOU...this'll be, my secret GO TO for EVER!! Love love love your writings by the way :)


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