Monday, July 25, 2011

On finding the perfect gluten free, dairy free chocolate chip cookie recipe

            I have loved baking for years, since I stood on a chair next to my mother and we made cookies and Parker House rolls. Later, I was allowed to use her big silver mixmaster, with the admonition that I had to clean and shine it properly when I was finished. As a teen, I made all sorts of whacky recipes with it, though I never did manage to get it quite as shiny as she did.  Through the years, I developed a number of my own specialties that I mixed up in my own Kitchenaid mixer in my own home. However, I never could make chocolate chip cookies as wonderful as my Aunt Susan’s. Mine, made with the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, with real butter, were too crunchy. Hers, on the other hand, had a bit more substance, and managed to be chewy and gooey at the same time. Finally, one day I called her and begged, “Please give me the recipe for your chocolate chip cookies! How do you make them so delicious?”

            Her giggled reply startled me. “Butter flavor Crisco,” she confided. “The recipe is on the back of the can!” It was a jar to my health-food seeking heart, but I bought a can and the first batch confirmed it – the Crisco was the secret.

            Then, seven years ago, I learned I needed to eliminate all gluten from my diet, and later, dairy went too. I very slowly learned to bake again, using different flours and foreign-to-me ingredients like xanthan gum. Using gluten free cookbooks and the internet, I tried lots of chocolate chip cookie recipes. There were the cookies made with soy flour, which tasted like – well – chocolate chips and soy flour. There were dry and crumbly cookies, flat and crunchy cookies. Finally, I remembered Aunt Susan’s recipe, and decided I’d try to adapt it – could they be worse than the ones I’d been making? Surely not. With a few changes, it turned out to be the best gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe I’d ever made, and is our go-to recipe when we want cookies. Try bringing them to a picnic – no-one will believe they’re gluten free.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar

¾ c. Crisco Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening

1 T gf vanilla extract

1 egg

1 ¾ c. gluten free flour mixture (see below)

1 t. salt

1 t. xanthan gum

¾ t. baking soda

1-1  ½ c. gf,df chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. Combine sugar, shortening and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt, xanthan gum and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture and mix ‘til blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper covered baking sheets (I prefer the insulated baking sheets). Bake 9-13 minutes, depending on whether you’d like them chewy or crispy – they’re wonderful somewhere in the middle. When they’re golden brown and you like how they’ve cooked, slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack, and try to let them cool before you eat them.

·               If using Crisco really offends your sensibilities, go ahead and try Earth Balance (read the labels to find the gf,df version) or another butter substitute. The cookies will still be yummy, just crunchier.

·               You may sometimes need to add a few T of flour to get the dough to the right consistency for cookies – add at your discretion.


Gluten Free Flour Mixture

1 24 oz bag Bob’s Red Mill white rice flour (I like the fine consistency of this brand)

2/3 c. tapioca starch

1 1/3 c. potato starch

      Combine all in a large jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake well. Use cup for cup in recipes calling for regular flour. If the recipe hasn’t already been adapted for gluten free ingredients, you will need to add ½ t. xanthan gum per cup of flour.

Trusting in Him,


  1. Sounds yummy! :) Where do you get xanthan gum and the different starches?

  2. It's gotten much easier to find them through the years. Besides health food stores, you can also find many of the ingredients in the GF section of the grocery store. Walmart even carries xanthan gum now! Ocean State Job Lot carries many Bob's Red Mill products at a significant savings, as well. Hope to see you soon!