Just seems like a good day to bake. And chocolate chip cookies are just the thing.
Even better are gluten free chocolate chip cookies because then even I can eat them.
First, there was flour.
This recipe is adapted from a gluten free all-purpose flour from The Art of Gluten Free Baking. Sicily and I used it once before without including the mochiko (more on that later) and it was AMAZING. Light, tender biscuits and fluffy pancakes. Normal people would leave it alone and not change a thing, but no one has ever accused me of being normal. I wanted a flour recipe that didn't involve actually measuring different flours to combine in odd ratios, leaving a 1/2 cup of four weird flours in crinkly bags in the pantry. I wanted it to be easy and delicious. Here's the recipe:
1 24-oz. bag Bob's Red Mill brown rice flour
1 24-oz. bag Bob's Red Mill white rice flour
1 16-oz box of mochiko (sweet rice flour; available only at Asian grocery stores or online. We subbed potato starch in our first batch because we couldn't find an Asian grocery in Marietta, GA)
1 15-oz bag of tapioca flour (also at Asian grocery stores, but sometimes in regular stores)
2 tsp. xanthan gum
Directions: Dump everything in a big bowl, stir together thoroughly. Use as a cup-for-cup substitute when AP flour is called for.
A word about xanthan gum. Some gluten free people are still sensitive to gums, and they can actually be eliminated from this recipe. I choose to keep it in there because A) it seems it make the flour perform a wee bit better, and B) it's not an issue for me. Xanthan gum is a bit pricey, but I got it on sale for 25% of the regular price, so it was a no-brainer.
Gluten free all-purpose baking mixes can be pricey themselves. This mix costs about $10 to make and produces almost five pounds of flour (4.9375 pounds for the sticklers among you). In comparison, Pillsbury's Best all-purpose flour costs about $7.50 for five pounds, while Bob's Red Mill's gluten free all-purpose flour costs $8 for about half as much. One of the things detractors of gluten free eating point out is that you pay three times as much for something that doesn't make a difference (absent a celiac diagnosis). I'm not here to debate the merits of gluten free food, but I sure as hell don't want to pay three times as much for flour. If this particular formula works as well as the last batch, I am sold.
In addition to the cookies I will be baking this afternoon, I plan on making pizza crust and bread in the bread machine this weekend. I am sure a batch of scones or biscuits will happen, too, as the test much be thorough and well-documented.
And bread is dee-licious. So there's that. Stay tuned...
Part 2: The Cookies.