Two Versions of Alton Brown’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (GFCF)

From almost the moment I woke up, I was on my feet – I had a baking agenda, though I didn’t do everything that I’d planned. I baked three batches of chocolate chip cookies, three different recipes – one a variation – and gingerbread – something that I’ll be sharing next year, since I think it would be off-kilter to post a recipe for such a thing after Christmas. The smell of chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread permeated the house. I hope everyone had a great Christmas, with more than enough food, family and friends, and Christmas cheer all around.

It’s those chocolate chip cookies that I baked that morning that I’m sharing here today. The third batch I’m holding on to a bit longer since I want to play with it a bit more and fine tune it, but I can already say that they’re my Dad’s favourite.

This particular chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from Alton Brown. To be honest, I had hardly a clue about who Alton Brown is – I confess I didn’t even recognize his name – until not too long ago and I’ve since come across a number of blogs singing praises to the heavens about his recipes and how they work. It was while I was researching, once again, the chemistry of chocolate chip cookies that I came across Mr. Brown’s three recipes for chocolate chip cookies. I don’t remember how it happened or started, but lately I’ve been having seemingly an obsession, for lack of a better word, with chocolate chip cookies. I pore over articles about them, including that New York Times article with the thirty-six hour dough that had food bloggers in a frenzy, and study all the varieties that are out there that are inevitably tied to Ruth Wakefield. Sometimes, my interest is not so much in eating them but learning about the chemistry that makes a good chocolate chip cookie. Such personal quests are sometimes  a pain since I want to go right down to the very science of it and that can’t always be easily found or answered with a few clicks of a Google search.

Soon enough, I came to find Alton Brown’s recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. Delving further into this recipe, it turns out that it is adapted from one of his three chocolate chip cookie recipes: the chewy, I believe. I made the cookie dough the night before, on Christmas Eve, and baked them on Christmas morning. They seemed promising, I was hoping I’d be one of the thousands standing and clapping in ovation, but once I tasted one, I wasn’t completely happy. The cookie itself was of a pleasing sturdiness, it was chewy, but all the while as I ate it I thought something was lacking. I became full after just one cookie – that in itself not a bad thing, except that this feeling of being full was not satisfied but ugh, like it was just sitting there.

Most of my gripes seemed to be idiosyncratic, however, as almost everyone else liked them. My aunt loved them – may I tell she ate four in a row? – even to the point of employing one of the oldest tricks in the book: to exclaim and point at something non-existent and, while everyone’s backs are turned, take the last cookie and run. Cheeky!

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Peanut Butter or Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GFCF)

Start typing “gluten free chocolate chip” into Google and the first search suggestion is “gluten free chocolate chip cookies”. (Second is gluten free chocolate cake.) Maybe I’ve made it obvious in my various comments on different bloggers’ posts, but just in case I haven’t, I like chocolate chip cookies. It’s one of those cookies that seems to always hit the spot and that everyone likes. Some days, I’ll get a hankering for them. In the old days a.k.a. before blogging I would just crave that cookie – sometimes it would pass, other times it would be reciprocated. Nowadays I’m on the Internet, torturing myself with pictures of all kinds of chocolate chip cookies and reading recipes, then driving myself crazy trying to figure out which ones to make with what I already have on hand. Such was the case with these cookies.

First I was looking at Elana’s chocolate chip cookies – the ones that I’ve read rave reviews about everywhere, from people who have made them to people who have eaten them, made by Elana herself, at food blogging conferences. All of the ingredients I had on hand but not enough for all of them.

The deal was sealed when my brother came along and saw what I was looking at. “Chocolate chip cookies? Are you going to make them?” Meaning, today. (This was a couple of weeks ago.) Then I remembered a gluten-free, flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookie I’d seen on Martha Stewart’s website, but that I’d first caught sight of in one of the issues of Everyday Food way back in 2005. (Really, was it that long ago?)

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Hot Chocolate For After the Snow (GFCF)

Calvin:  The secret to making great hot chocolate is to put the tiny marshmallows in first.

Hobbes:  So they melt faster?

Calvin:  No, so you can fit in forty or fifty of them.  This way the hot chocolate just fills in the cracks.

Hobbes:  I wondered why you eat it with a fork.

Calvin:  Also, I don’t use milk.  I just heat the syrup.

The most magical thing to wake up to is snow falling outside your window. The dull crunch of walking in snow, rosy-cheeked and exhaling fog with every breath. The world subdued and blanketed in muffled silence.

After an appointment at the dentist I came home and had lunch (a vegetable and beef stew with coconut milk that I’ve been making lately), before setting out again into the snow with my brother. I don’t know how long we were out there, but it was at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Possibly two hours. Time is lost. The little kid in me still wants to stay outside, even when my feet are freezing and beyond comfortably numb in ill-advised Adidas trainers and my fingers stiff from the cold despite wearing gloves. The only thing that can lure us back inside is a promise of something warm to drink.

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