Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

In 2007 when I was first venturing into the world of gluten free all I really wanted was to eat something that had even the slightest recollection of a "normal" tasting cookie.  Back then there were very few options for gluten free even at places like Whole Foods. And the options they did have tasted mostly like cardboard. This is what spurred my passion for gluten free baking.  Before then I really did not care to bake. Baking seemed so rigid with all that measuring and what not and quite frankly, I thought it was boring.  Fortunately, I discovered that gluten free baking was anything but boring.  In fact, I felt more like a mad scientist than a baker. And let's just say "mad scientist" fits my personality better than "baker".

Gluten free has come a long way since 2007 with so many different products to choose from. Some still have that cardboard like flavor but many more do not.  There is still nothing better than baking something from scratch especially when it comes to home baked chocolate chip cookies. This cookie recipe is one of my all time favorites and it's gone through an evolution as I've perfected my craft over the years. Yet it still reminds me of that very first venture into the art of baking gluten free.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1/2 Tablespoon flax meal
2 Tablespoons water
6 Tablespoons (84g) vegetable shortening (I use Earth Balance brand)
1 cup (150g) light brown sugar
1/2 (60g) cup tapioca flour
2/3 cup (81g) brown rice flour - Authentic Foods Superfine Brown Rice Flour - 3lb
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 Tablespoons (60g) white rice flour - Authentic Foods Superfine White Rice Flour - 3lb 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon coconut milk-Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk, 13.5-oz. Cans (Count of 12) 1/2 cup chocolate chips --I use Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Gluten, Dairy, Nut & Soy Free, Mini Chips, 10-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line one standard size cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flax meal with the water in a small bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl cream together the vegetable shortening with the light brown sugar by mixing on low for a few minutes. In a separate bowl combine the tapioca flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, salt, baking soda and xanthan gum.  Whisk these dry ingredients together. Add the flax meal and water mixture to the creamed vegetable shortening and brown sugar mixture along with the coconut milk. Mix on low until fully combined. Then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix on low until all the ingredients are fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  It should look and feel just like cookie dough.  Finally, add the chocolate chips and mix on low for about 15 seconds. Use a spoon or scoop to make round balls about 1-1 1/2 inches in size. Space cookie balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Flatten each ball so they are the shape of cookies (they will not flatten much on their own during baking). Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes or until cookies are easy to remove with a spatula.  If they are still soft bake for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a cooling rack.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Simmering Summer Chimchurri Sauce

Chimichurri sauce is my new best friend of the sauce world. Especially now with it being summer and all, we often have something grilled for dinner.  And this gives almost any flavor an extra kick in the pants! I also love that it is made without gluten or dairy OR nightshades!  So, I don't have to futz around my kitchen trying to figure out how to substitute ingredients.

Surprisingly, I recently discovered this delicious sauce/marinade at a friend's house.  It was so good I put it on everything! Steak, corn chips, name it! I was eager to make my own concoction immediately after and have now ensured that I always have a batch stowed away in the fridge for when I have a hankering.

I have used this on grilled chicken, as a dip for vegetables and chips, as a salad dressing, the list goes on.  Warning: it does have a strong garlic flavor so if you are not a fan of garlic then only use half or less than what I use.  And if you have plans for a date with that special someone, well, bring a few packs of breath mints with you.

You will need a blender or something similar in order to puree it into a sauce.  If you do not have one of these you can still make it.  You will just have to finely chop all the ingredients and mix by hand.

Chimichurri Sauce (gluten free, dairy free, vegan):
1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons vinegar (can use cider, white, or red wine)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients into a blender--I use something similar to Magic Bullet Blender, Small, Silver.  Blend into a puree mix, pour into your favorite serving vessel and enjoy!