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April 26, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Gluten-free cookies

This week I’m going to share my signature gluten-free recipe: chocolate chip cookies. The trick with any gluten-free baking is retaining moisture and to stop it from crumbling. Finding the right gluten-free flour* will help with the latter. The secret ingredient to achieve the former is, of all things, mashed potato! I’ve done a bunch of primitive science experiments with various suggested ingredients, and mashed potato came out on top. You can’t taste it in the final product, yet it gives the cookies that melt-in-the-mouth texture which is often lost in most gluten-free baking.

Ingredients:
4 ounces / 110 grams butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons condensed milk
1/2 small potato, mashed
1 cup gluten-free flour*
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
3 tablespoons chocolate chips

Method:
Cream butter and sugar.

Add condensed milk.

Add potato. You may find a drop of milk helps to mash it; if so add a little more flour to compensate.

Add flour and baking powder, and stir in chocolate chips.

Roll into balls—don’t worry if they still seem a bit sticky.

Press gently with a fork dipped in (gluten-free) flour to flatten slightly.

Bake at 175oC/350oF for 10-15 minutes.

They should be golden on top and just starting to brown on the bottom when taken out. They may feel at this stage as though they’re not cooked, but let them cool and they should turn out all right. It’s very easy to accidently overcook these cookies, as they’re still soft when taken out.

If you’re having trouble with crumbling cookies, you may need a different type of flour*, or try adding an egg yolk to help the ingredients bind.

This recipe can take a little trial and error to get right, so it may be worth doing a couple of smaller batches (just halve the recipe) to get the hang of it. Once learnt it is definitely worth it; life’s too short to go without cookies!

*Finding the right flour:
For the best gluten-free baking you need the best gluten-free flour. If you’re already gluten-free you probably have your favourite brand, but if you’re cooking for someone else and are new to the concept, I’m afraid it’s not cheap. Simple rice flour doesn’t usually cut it for baking, as it’s not got the same texture as wheat flour so doesn’t behave in the same way. You want to look for a combination flour, which combines many different gluten-free flours to create one that behaves in much the same way wheat flour does. Check in your supermarket to see what they have on offer, taking into consideration additional allergies, and also comparing the cost of different items.

Regular flour cookies:
Making these cookies using regular flour uses the same recipe, just cut out the mashed potato and make sure the cookies are fairly flattened when you’ve put them onto an oven tray.

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