We have cookies!

Ok. I tried this recipe for almond meal chocolate chip cookies. I also did not want to have to log in to yet another service I will not use regularly just to gush and make copious notes about it. Yes, it is gluten free, and for carb counters, and can even be eaten by people like me.  I’m all about gluten free baking if I can find simple recipes: the more complex the recipe, the more likely it will contain things I cannot eat.

It calls for

  • 1 cup of almond meal (I got mine cheap at Trader Joes!)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (mini chips work best)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ok. Good enough. I switched in 1/4 cup of lightly packed coconut sugar (mine is from Coconut Secret, but there are other brands out there), added 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8th of a teaspoon of almond extract– maybe a little less– just enough to bring out the flavor of almonds a bit. My mini chocolate chips came from Enjoy Life, who are almost as anal as I am about what is in their food. For that they get a shout-out from me!  I also used one large chicken egg, since I like being precise.   Other commenters on this recipe had added rice milk to make it more like dough, but I opted not to to, just to see what would happen. 

I used coconut oil spray on my baking pan, and set my oven to 350 degrees. I stuck my handy probe thermometer in there to watch the temp go to about 367-ish or so, then put my cookies in.  Since my oven is lame and doesn’t let you set the temp by anything but presets, I just have to watch it.

I have to admit, I was worried at first about the lumps in my almond meal. Keeping it frozen as I do, they just wouldn’t stir their way out when I mixed in the dry ingredients.  Even the coco sugar was easier to de-lump. I decided not to worry about it. Liquids have a tendency to change things– especially when you are baking gluten free.

The dough came together very interestingly. For one thing, at first it really looked like there wouldn’t be enough liquid. The egg and the extracts seemed to get lost and were overwhelmed for the first minute of mixing. After a bit, though the dough did come together. And it became thick, and sticky. Not unlike certain kinds of thumb-print or oatmeal type cookies. Because it looked like a type of cookie-like baked good, I carried on and did not panic. It really did not look like enough dough to make five cookies, let alone 15 as the recipe suggests.

I tossed in the chocolate chips, and stirred some more.  It became a slab of marvelous smelling, ooey gooey goodness. You can take my word for it, this satisfies any craving for cookie dough you might have… though it’s harder to forget there’s raw egg in it. So if that’s a problem, well… I’ll continue to keep an eye out for you for cookie dough satisfaction.

So I stared at that lump at the bottom of my bowl, and tried to glare it into perfect little balls of goodness. I wondered how to divide the dough that way… I suck at splitting up dough in anything but halves of itself. Threes tend to get really uneven for me. Don’t even talk to me about splitting by fives!

I noted that the recipe was mute about how big a cookie was supposed to be. So I went to my tool rack, grabbed a size 40 disher, and dished away.

What I came up with was six and a half lumps of somewhat evenly dished product on my sheet. I sighed, pulled out a knife, and divided what I had in half across the cookie sheet, then did some dither-moving until I had 15 unevenly sized cookies on my sheet.  It’s not wide enough for 3 rows of 5, nor long enough for 5 rows of 3, so I improvised.  That means I had lots of goo smeared on the bottom of my nicely oiled sheet.

I will admit, the dough was a lot looser than it was when I first formed the lump. I worried a bit and decided that I wanted cookies, and I did not care if they were perfect, so I baked them anyway.

Suspicious of all recipe baking times, I peeked through the isinglass  at 5 minutes, and noticed that the lumps looked puffier than they had before, and the granules were less distinct. I was startled. This is the first time that five minutes made any visible difference in the entire history of my gluten free baking adventures.  Even in conventional baking, it takes a broiler to get 5 to mean anything visible to the naked eye without opening the oven door.

The recipe is right on the nose. 10 minutes means 10 minutes. I waited a bit longer because they were a bit palid (at a little before 9 minutes the kitchen smelled wonderful!), then at, say 11 minutes or so, I pulled them out. They were VERY brown on the bottom, and toasty on the top, and smelled that amazing carmelized smell that tells you that they would have burned in 3 seconds flat… had they remained in the oven any longer.

And I was rewarded. They were very light, lightly crispy. Moister and less crumbly than I expected. They held together beautifully, and it seems the almond meal melted together into a real cookie, instead of some knitted together mass of almond granules I was expecting.

Oh, and the flavor… is just like a chocolate chip cookie– with maybe a touch of almond flavoring in it, but that’s only because I put it there. I can’t imagine it without the salt.  I think it was worth it even if they would have puffed up more without it.

If I were to make these again, I would use a size 60 disher (if such a creature exists), and do every thing else exactly the same.

I guess I wouldn’t want the smear on the bottom of my cookie sheet. Surprisingly, as long as I waited, even the smear did not burn at 11 minutes in a fast oven.  They would have been easier to remove, I think, but as it was only two of them stuck. I may next time try using baking parchment, or that silicone embedded stuff that they use instead these days.

Well, ok, I think I’ll double or triple the recipe so there’s enough to share.  Keep in mind these cookies are tiny by conventional standards… maybe the size of a silver dollar, or a Spanish doubloon (or at least the picture of one in my head, which doesn’t help you). Hopefully, the picture below will give you a slightly better idea of the size of these things.

UPDATE: There is no picture!  That’s because I don’t use my phone to take pictures of things (like smart people) and instead use my uber geeky  and slightly ancient EOS Rebel to take the picture, which means I have to…post process the image to make it fit and work well on the web.  Unfortunately, I have not had *time* to do this, and so the post got delayed, and delayed… so I’m posting anyway without a picture. It will be here when I get time, I promise!

Double UPDATE: Here is my picture. Warning: It’s really Big. I will fix later!

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