Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just for fun I have been experimenting with grain-free baking. Flour is such a key ingredient in baking, and it is so interesting that we assume it has to be grain-based. Many non-grain flours are very commonplace anymore. Almond flour, coconut flour, bean flours, buckwheat flour (buckwheat is in the rhubarb family), and more. 

These cookies are made with the divine combination of almond flour and coconut flour, with some buckwheat flour and potato starch to lighten things up. The buckwheat flour has an interesting spicy flavor, similar to cinnamon, but not quite. I noticed that the day after the cookies were baked I could no longer taste the buckwheat. It must have mellowed into the other flavors. You cannot really identify any one of the flour flavors. They combine into a delicious cookie with a soft texture identical to grain-flour cookies.

Good news! Spectrum Organic Shortening now is available in butter flavor. Perfect for baking!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
from: giddyupglutenfree, dorothy allard 2011

3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup shortening (Spectrum butter-flavored)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs (or egg replacer for 2 eggs)

1 tbsp almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract (gf)

2 cups chocolate chips (dairy-free)

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350º. 

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

1. Sift together dry ingredients, set aside.

2. Combine shortening and sugar in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer on medium high speed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until creamy. Stir in milk and vanilla.

3. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients. You may have to stir the last bit of dry in by hand because the dough will be stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough in refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Scoop up 2 inch dollops of dough (no need to be precise), and drop 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Ingredients note: Use organic ingredients when you can, and evaporated cane juice instead of refined sugar.



Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Gluten and Dairy Free Carrot Cake
We just celebrated a couple of birthdays at my house. Mine and my husband's. Our birthdays are one day apart. Which means we usually share a cake. This year we chose Carrot Cake. 

This recipe is adapted from a tried and true family recipe, one that we don't make often enough. This gluten-free version of the cake is indistinguishable from the original. It is very moist and the blended flavors are divine. The frosting was a little more challenging to replicate. Cream cheese frosting is traditional with Carrot Cake. There are some dairy-free "cream cheese" products out there, but they are soy-based and I know that many of you avoid soy. So I developed a frosting that is the same texture as cream cheese frosting and added some lemon juice to give it little tang, sort of reminiscent of cream cheese. It works.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Celebrate spring with this moist and delicious cake. 
3/4 cup sorghum flour

3/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt 
1 cup vegetable oil (or light olive oil)
2 cups organic cane sugar

3 large eggs (or egg replacer for 3 eggs)
2½ tsp vanilla extract (gluten free)
2 cups grated carrots
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple (do not drain the juice) 
1 cup raisins (optional)
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour (gf) a 9" x 12" baking pan.

1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together thoroughly the flours, starch, xanthan gum,
baking soda, baking powder,  salt, and cinnamon.

2. In a large bowl blend oil and sugar with a hand blender at medium speed until incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until incorporated. By hand stir in carrots and pineapple (with juice).

3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stir well. Fold in nuts and raisins. Mixture will be thin. Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  Cool well before frosting. 

Carrot Cake Frosting 
1/4 cup Earth Balance (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp So Delicious Coconut Milk

4 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Whip butter, shortening, vanilla, coconut milk, and lemon juice well. Mix in powdered sugar in thirds. Frost cake when it is cool.
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