The American Love: The Chocolate Chip Cookie

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“But I want chocolate chip cookies!”

Growing up, my life was a collision of two worlds, even when it came to food.  On the one side was the traditional daily Korean fare of rice, fish and vegetables for all three meals.  On the other side was the American eating of the 1970’s – cheese in a can on Ritz crackers, Chef Boyardee, and Nestle Toll House cookies.

Even my non-baking, non-sweet eating Korean mother baked Nestle Toll House cookies on occasion.  It was what everyone did and still does.  Biting into a fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookie is high on the list as one of many people’s little joy’s in life. Chocolate chip cookies even became the state cookie of Massachusetts in 1997.

Go out to eat at a restaurant, and you’ll find chocolate chip cookies in some form worked into a dessert.  Go grocery shopping, and you’ll see 101 variations of the chocolate chip cookie with a handful of sugar cookies, macaroons, and oatmeal raisin cookies on the periphery.  Buy ice cream, and you’ll find the chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and broken up chocolate chip cookies to use as a topping.  You can even purchase chocolate chip cookie scented candles, soaps, air fresheners, and hand sanitizers.

Americans have a love affair with chocolate chip cookies.  And when dietary restrictions or allergies limit your ability to have dairy, wheat, sugar, nuts, soy, and/or sugar and fats, you can suddenly find yourself living a life without one of your food loves.

The good news for most folks these days is that you can get just about any type of chocolate chip cookie you need:  fat free, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, you name it, it’s out there.  Unfortunately, they don’t always quite “hit the spot” for whatever reason.  Many that I’ve tried just simply have a strange aftertaste that I can’t quite get over.  Others are too pasty or way too hard.  Sometimes it’s just not “right”, meaning it’s not what you expected out of your chocolate chip cookie.  And even when you do find a type that you like, sometimes you just want a homemade, fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookie.

Until very recently, I never tried making a chocolate chip cookie at home, though. Why be disappointed?  But the other day, my middle daughter said that she wanted to make cookies, and she wanted them to be chocolate chip.  What was a mother to do?  I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for my daughter.  Because that’s what a good mommy does, right?

So, below is a recipe that my daughter and I concocted for chocolate chip cookies which are dairy free, soy free, nut/peanut free, gluten free, and made with a heart healthy fat and little refined sugar.  We decided we wanted them to be like the bigger, chunkier cookies you buy fresh from the bakery, and I have to tell you that the group we served them to the evening we baked couldn’t believe they had none of the above ingredients.  I hope you enjoy them, too.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups gluten free whole grain oats (quick cooking or regular, either is fine)

2 cups gluten free flour blend (we used Bob Red Mill’s which was garbanzo bean flour and brown rice flour mixed)

1 cup coconut sugar (we used the Madhava brand found at the grocery store)

1/2 cup gluten free ground flaxseed meal

1/2 cup tapioca starch

1 tbsp xanthan gum

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

2 to 3 cups Enjoy Life allergen free mini chocolate chips*

1 1/2 cup safflower oil

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup Agave

1 tbsp gluten free vanilla

Baking Instructions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Grind the oats in a food processor to make 3 cups of oatmeal flour.   Measure the 3 cups into a large bowl.

3.  Add the gluten free flour blend, coconut sugar, flaxseed meal, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

4.  Stir in the mini chocolate chips.  Set aside.

5.  Blend together the oil, applesauce, agave and vanilla.

6.  Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Mix the batter until all ingredients are well mixed together.  (Note:  With gluten free batter, the chips will seem like they aren’t incorporating well.  When you form the cookies, you can just use your fingers to make sure the chips are in the dough.)

7.  To form the cookies, take two level tablespoons of cookie batter and roll them with clean hands into balls.  Place them on a cookie sheet with enough space to flatten the cookie with a fork in a crisscross pattern.

8.  When your cookie sheet is full, bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.  Turn the cookie sheet around and bake for another 8 minutes.  The cookies will be nicely browned.

9.  Cool on the cookie sheet for at least two minutes before moving the cookies to a wire cooling rack.  Cool completely.

10.  Enjoy!  Makes 36 large cookies.  You can always choose to make one tablespoon sized cookies, but you should then reduce the cooking time by a couple of minutes or so.  (Note:  We discovered that these were absolutely great for making a homemade nondairy frozen dessert “ice cream” and chocolate chip cookie sandwich!)

*My son likes a “more cookie to chips” ratio, so 2 cups of chocolate chips is good for his batter, but my daughters prefer a “more chips to cookie” ratio, so they put 3 cups in their batter.

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