Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
a gluten-free recipe based off my favorite regular cookie recipe
I found myself adjusting the thermostat on a recent chilly morning, muttering to myself, “I am so over winter”. The only part of cold weather I enjoy these days is the smell of baking cookies, but then fresh-baked cookies transcend seasons. They’re something we make for school bake sales, bring to friend’s homes for celebrations, an after school snack, to welcome the arrival of babies and comfort grieving people. As a baker, cookies are very easy to take for granted, something one tends to whip up with a carefree attitude–”I’ll just bake a batch of cookies”. Or at least that was always my approach until I decided my body needed a little break from wheat.
Chocolate chip cookies are one recipe that is probably the most amenable to swapping in an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. I keep Cup4Cup in the pantry for such occasions, but as experience has taught me during my years of gluten-free experimentation, and the much deeper dive I’ve taken over the last five weeks, that baked goods will always come out better when you take the time to use a more measured approach with gluten-free flours and starches. This recipe is based off my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe from Williams Sonoma (you can find it here).
Is it finicky to need two flours, a starch and xanthan gum for a cookie recipe? Only you can answer that question. If you already keep a gluten-free pantry, then you may likely have the brown rice flour, millet flour, tapioca starch and xanthan gum needed for these cookies. If you insist on swapping in a gluten-free flour mix, make sure to use the same amount by weight (not volume, as that varies), and read the flour blend to see if it has xanthan gum. If it does, you can omit it from the recipe. If your blend doesn’t have xanthan gum, then be sure to include the measured amount below.
You might be wondering if the walnuts are optional in this recipe. I’m going to say no only because they do act as a bit of binder in the recipe. If you omit them, you’ll likely need to add a little of one of the flours or tapioca starch but since I haven’t developed the recipe that way, I can’t guide you on how much or which one. You can swap them for an equal amount of pecans if you like.
I love this gluten-free version of my classic chocolate chip cookies even more so than the original. The mix of flours used here give the flavor more depth, and the tapioca starch ensures a crisp around the edges, chewy in the center cookie. They’re quite addictive. The dough does need chilling time, so don’t skip that part. If baked straight after mixing, the cookies will spread too much. Chilling allows the butter to firm up again, and the flours to thoroughly absorb into the liquid ingredients. This is good advice for most cookie doughs. I recommend a few hours at least, and up to 3 days in the fridge. See the tip in the notes section at the end for freezing them for longer term storage, up to 2 months.
Hope the week has been filled with pockets of peace. Remember to be kind. –xo, j.
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