Chocolate Chip Cookies with Hazelnuts

Excerpted from Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, © 2013 by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Hazelnuts

There are only a few times I miss gluten at all anymore. Mostly I eat better than I ever did before I had to cut gluten out of my life. However, when friends of mine started raving about Kim Boyce’s whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, I started to feel a little mopey. And then I did what I always do—converted them into something delicious that I can eat.

Kim Boyce’s book, Good to the Grain, is one of my favorite baking books of all time. After leaving her pastry chef job at Spago, Kim set out to bake for her family. Realizing she didn’t want to give them white flour and sugar all the time, she began working with whole-grain flours. Many of the flours she discovered are gluten-free. Everything I have made my own out of this book has been tremendous. But these are my favorite.

I’ll never taste the whole wheat cookies, but I have a hunch these might be better. Teff has a slight chocolate taste to it, so it pairs beautifully with anything chocolate, as do hazelnuts. Teff + chocolate + hazelnuts = magic.

I feel privileged to know Kim. We talk about baking all the time, especially now that one of her daughters had to go gluten-free. She approves of these cookies. We think you will too.

  • 210 grams Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour Mix (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon whole or powdered psyllium husks (see note below)
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted
  • butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1⁄2 packed cup dark brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup sucanat or white sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄3 cup bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1⁄2 cup cracked hazelnuts
  1. Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, psyllium husks, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until they have become one color.
  3. Creaming the butter and sugar. Add the cold butter cubes to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, run the mixer on medium speed until the butter is creamy and softened. Add the brown sugar and sucanat. Blend them together on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix until all traces of egg disappear into the batter. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Finishing the batter. With the mixer running, add the flour a scoop at a time. When all the flour has been added and all trace of flour has disappeared into the batter, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate and hazelnuts. Mix until just combined. Turn the cookie dough out of the bowl onto a clean surface. If there is any flour, chocolate, or hazelnuts left in the bowl, mix them to the dough.
  5. Baking the cookies. Scoop 30 grams of cookie dough into your hands. Shape it into a ball. Put it on the lined baking sheet, then flatten it a bit with your palm. Smooth out the edges of the cookie disc. Repeat until you end up with 6 cookies on the baking sheet with about 3 inches of space between them. Bake until the edges are crisp and the center is still soft to the touch, about 12 minutes, turning the tray 180 degrees in the oven halfway through baking. Carefully move the parchment paper to a counter and bake the rest of the cookies.

Makes about 20 cookies

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Need I tell you that these cookies are best warm from the oven? However, you do need to let them cool a bit before you eat them. Hot out of the oven, they are still a little fragile. Just warm to the touch, they are heaven.

If you can’t find hazelnuts, walnuts will do just fine.

These cookies also improve in flavor if you refrigerate the dough overnight. You can roll the dough into 3 logs, cover them in plastic wrap, and have cookie dough waiting to make a couple of cookies an evening, if you prefer.

***NOTE***
Psyllium helps replicate some of the properties of gluten in doughs.  The whole husks are more effective in gluten-free baking, but the psyllium husk powder will do if that's the only kind you can find.
 
All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix
I think of this as the transitional mix. We’re all so used to white flour in our food that we kind of crave our gluten-free baked goods to be white as well. I understand. Try as I might, I could just never get behind a whole-grain pie crust. So I use this AP flour mix for pies, cakes, biscuits, and some cookies.
It’s easy to make. All you have to do is mix up the following, based on the ratio of 40 percent whole-grain flour and 60 percent starches and white flours.
  • 400 grams millet flour
  • 300 grams sweet rice flour
  • 300 grams potato starch
Dump them all in a large container (we like the large plastic containers restaurants use to store their food, which we buy at restaurant supply stores) and shake. Shake and shake and shake harder until all the flours have become one color. There. That’s your flour. Whenever you want to bake, just reach for that container and measure out how many grams you need for that recipe.
Here’s one of the main reasons I write my recipes in weight. What do you do with this mix if you can’t do cornstarch because of your corn allergy? Just substitute tapioca flour or arrowroot instead. You can’t find sorghum? Try millet for your whole-grain flour, or buckwheat.
We don’t think of this as OUR mix but yours. Make the mix that works for you, based on what flours you can eat, what you can find in your local store, or just what you have in the kitchen at the moment.
Think 40 percent whole-grain flour and 60 percent starches and white flours and you’ll have flour in your kitchen for all your baking needs.

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