When it comes to gluten, the writing seems to pretty much be on the wall. While I personally only have a slight sensitivity to it, a couple of family members have full-on gluten allergies. So, it doesn’t make sense to carry on cooking in the same way if not everyone can enjoy it. Well… you could, but it’d be awfully cruel.
So, over the past few weeks I’ve been starting to avoid obvious gluten-filled recipes and adapting others where possible. It’s not always been easy and if you’re used to the taste and texture that gluten flour provides, going gluten-free can really feel like a compromise. I guess most people making the transition feel that way to begin with.
So, this weekend I want to make a tart. The recipe requires a chocolate biscuit base and normally I’d just go and buy some cheap store-bought biscuits. That won’t work anymore. I guess I could go and buy some gluten-free ones, but a: commercially made gluten-free biscuits are not overly accessible here in New Zealand as yet, and b: what we do have is enormously expensive. Better just to make my own I reckon.
So, I did some internet trawling and found this excellent little recipe from Everyday Dishes.com. I loved that these biscuits (or cookies as you call them in the US) included ground almonds (almond meal) and ground chia seeds. They were quick and easy to make and the end result was a cookie with an intense chocolate flavour and a soft chewy texture. While my cookies didn’t seem to flatten out as much as they did in the original recipe (perhaps my batter was a little too thick) it didn’t matter, as the taste and texture were perfect. (NB: I made them again a few weeks later and the batter was definitely tackier, resulting in a flatter cookie – obviously small differences in ingredient measurements, such as the volume of eggs, do affect the outcome).
You could easily adapt this recipe if you wanted a healthier version – think substituting healthier sweeteners, using cacao powder instead of cocoa, coconut oil instead of butter. Or, if you’re like me and thinking ‘show me the chocolate’, you could totally dress these babies up by adding some chocolate drops or cacao nibs into the batter, or piping some chocolate icing on top. Either way, these versatile little cookies are a definite keeper and I have a feeling this won’t be the last time you’ll be hearing about them. (Later: Check out how I’ve used them as a base for my Choc-Cherry Tarts and my Banoffee Tarts – de.licious!!).
GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Makes about 3 dozen
Ingredients: (This recipe uses imperial measurements – Click here for Unit Converter)
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal/ground almonds
- 1 tsp ground chia seed
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Add flour, chia seed, almond flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl then whisk until completely incorporated and set aside.
- Cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and combine completely.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients; mix until thoroughly combined (batter will be thick).
- Form batter into balls about the size of a ping pong ball. Place on parchment lined baking sheet approximately 3″ apart (do not flatten balls). Bake 9−11 minutes.
- Allow to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting