Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Gluten-Free 36-Hour Cookie

To my gluten-free friends and family, I haven’t turned my back on you. I made a gluten-free version of the 36-hour cookie, and I made enough rookie mistakes to tell you what not to do. I based my recipe on the adaptations of both The Art of Gluten-Free Baking (formerly Four Chickens) and Gluten-Free Girl (they are only slightly different).

The main issue was coming up with flours. Jeanne, from The Art of Gluten-Free Baking, has a custom mix of all-purpose gluten-free flours, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. Shauna recommends equal parts sorghum, tapioca, potato and amaranth for this, but I didn’t have the latter. I remembered a more recent post, though, in which she shared her recipe for all-purpose gluten-free flour: 70% whole grains to 30% starches – by weight, not volume – which is different from her previous recommendation of a 40-60 ratio, but then again she’s no longer using gums. Bob’s Red Mill also makes a gluten-free all-purpose flour, if that’s easier for you. So, based on a 70-30 ratio and the contents of my pantry, I ended up using 280 g sorghum flour, 280 g oat flour, 120 g potato flour and 120 g rice flour.

I then noticed that both recipes called for ingredients in volumes rather than weights, which is somewhat unusual for gluten-free baking (especially coming from Gluten-Free Girl). But the amount of flour that I had was a little more than 4 cups, so I increased slightly the amounts of the rest of the ingredients to compensate. I also believe the amount of sugar called for is more accurate in the Gluten-Free Girl version than in the Art of Gluten-Free Baking version. For this recipe, I did get Dagoba Chocodrops (from a trip to Central Market), but they only had the 73% cocoa ones, and that was too bitter for the cookie. If that’s all you can find, increase the amount of sugar further, or use gluten-free chocolate chips or chunks. That being said, the cookies were moist, the texture was good, and they tasted quite good apart from the lack of sugar for which I forgot to compensate.

The following recipe is my adaptation and makes 3 dozen cookies.

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (see above)
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp coarse salt (like kosher salt)
1 ¼ sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted margarine (or butter, at room temperature)
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (or 2 if necessary)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 oz chocolate disks or fèves , ideally 60% cacao content (see above)
sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Cream the margarine and the two sugars together using a mixer with a paddle attachment until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and mix to combine. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the margarine mixture and mix until just combined. (This is where you might want to add the extra beaten egg, depending on which flours you used and on how your mixture looks.)

Add the chocolate disks and incorporate by hand (try not to break the pieces). Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, ideally 36 hours (the dough can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours).

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Scoop the dough into golf ball-sized amounts (with an ice cream scoop or with your hands). Place the balls of dough on the baking sheet and flatten slightly. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.

Bake for 16-18 minutes. Cool slightly on sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool some more. The cookies are best eaten warm or at room temperature, but they do get harder and more crumbly if left out for a few days.

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