It's no secret that I absolutely have the biggest sweet tooth of anybody I have ever known. I just cannot get enough sugar. When I was a young girl, every time my mom took out a cake or trifle or other dessert to serve, she found a telltale little fingerprint in the frosting or whipped cream! I always had to swipe a taste because I simply couldn't wait as long as I was supposed to.
Even when I got older, this unfortunate tendency to consume sugar at any opportunity continued. I had a job as a cake decorator after I graduated from college; as part of the process, we would level out each cake layer by slicing off the rounded top. More often than not, I would fold the edges together and scoop the otherwise-wasted slab of cake into my mouth. I learned a few weeks ago that, even though I haven't worked at The Cake Lady in over two years, they still call that top portion of cake "the Esther taco."
So when I found out that I couldn't digest gluten or dairy properly, I was ruined! How on earth was I supposed to enjoy sweets still? The local patisserie in Sioux Falls became my refuge - the chef there makes the most delicious macarons I have ever tasted. But when we moved to Grand Rapids, the patisserie was obviously no longer an option for me.
So I took matters into my own hands and decided to start developing some gluten-free, dairy-free dessert recipes that I could eat without feeling horrible afterwards. The challenge? Making them taste as though they contain wheat, butter, and milk, even though they don't. I don't want to be able to taste that my desserts are gluten and dairy-free.
My first task was developing a wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipe. Because really, what is better than a chocolate chip cookie? I wanted to make sure my cookies were chewy and dense with that perfect slight crunch around the edges. I wanted them to taste buttery and rich and divine.
After researching several different flours, I decided on a mixture of oat and coconut flour. I hate it when gluten-free recipes call for three or four different types of flour; it's so expensive and complicated to have that many ingredients in a recipe. I chose oat flour because it is so reasonable (under $4 for a 22oz bag, which is unbelievably cheap for a wheat-free flour). However, I read that oat flour sometimes creates a fluffy, cake-y product, which I didn't want. I mixed a small amount of coconut flour into the oat flour in order to keep the density I wanted in the cookie. Coconut flour is also reasonable and generally makes wonderful desserts!
Coconut oil was the best choice instead of butter. Shortening was also an option, but coconut oil lends such a wonderful richness. I personally love coconut flavor, but if you don't, you can buy refined coconut oil, which doesn't taste of coconut at all.
The result of this recipe is wonderful. I am so happy with the flavor and texture of the cookies, and many people have tried them and had no idea that they are gluten and dairy-free. Each cookie is rich, indulgent, chewy, slightly crispy, and tender. The chocolate is rich, the brown sugar adds depth of flavor, and they stay soft for days. Success!
Try them for yourself. I promise, they are absolutely delicious.
1 3/4 C oat flour
1/4 C coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 C coconut oil, softened
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1 C chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the two flours, baking soda, and salt. Use your stand mixer to beat the coconut oil and two sugars together until creamy and slightly fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and beat until mixed. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for a few minutes to help set the coconut oil and prevent spreading. Just before placing the cookies in the oven, add a small sprinkle of sea salt to the top of each cookie.* Slide into the oven for 10 - 12 minutes; the cookies should be set, but still slightly soft in the middle. Do not over bake, or you will lose the soft, chewy center. Leave on the cookie sheet to set for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack or plate. Enjoy!
*A very talented friend of mine showed me the importance of a properly seasoned cookie. Don't be afraid of the salt. It will bring out the full flavor of the cookie and make it so much more delicious!
Makes about 20 cookies.