Plenty of really good gluten-free chocolate chip cookies have come out of my oven before, ones that nobody can guess are labeled with the “gf” word. But these are THE ones. My favorite, my best, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies – the result of dozens of batches and several years of experimenting. (I don’t like referring to them as “The Best” because I haven’t tried all the chocolate chip cookies in the world and everybody has their own set of characteristics that they measure against.)
It’s taken me a long time to nail down the cookies you see here partly because I always spot a new recipe that immediately has me reaching for the baking sheet. I do a little tweaking to make them gluten-free if needed and all is right in the world. I’ve made these classics from Sarah, walnut studded beauties from Joy, a honey laden version, and chewy, brown butter ones (already gf) from Alanna.
I’ve learned that most regular cookie recipes can be a decent gluten-free success if you substitute a good gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour by weight, NOT the cup measurement. But, if you want amazing gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, a little more attention to detail with process & ingredients is needed.
And I stand firmly behind putting a little more effort into it.
Think gloriously crisp & buttery edges, slightly sunken and chewy middles, and the perfect ratio of chocolate to batter. It makes me want to shriek every time I take my first bite, still warm and a little underbaked.
Although this might be a little lengthy, I wanted to share with you the extra details I’ve learned over the course of gluten-free cookie baking. I want to set you up for success! So let’s get started.
The way to make sure a recipe turns out the same every single time, no matter if you’re baking gluten-free or not is to measure by weight. Since we all scoop, spoon, pack and pour differently, my 1 cup flour may be 120 grams and yours 145. With the science that happens when you cook, that can make a big difference. Invest in an affordable digital scale, it’s well worth it.
Cup4Cup Flour has proven time and time again to me that it is the best gluten-free flour blend on the market. There really isn’t anything that compares. It has no grittiness, a soft crumb, stability and consistency. It does contain cornstarch, xanthum gum and milk powder which some people can’t tolerate . In that case, I highly recommend the allergen friendly Bubble Girl Bakes Gluten-Free Flour. I’ve used it in this recipe and adjusted for the binding power of the other ingredients by adding 3 tablespoons of sweet rice flour and chilling the dough for an hour instead of 30 minutes. You’ll get great results, just a thinner, flatter cookie.
Temperature of Ingredients:
It’s important to bring your cold ingredients to room temperature before starting the cookie making process – the butter, egg and your gluten-free flour (which should always be stored in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid). Why? Because at room temperature the eggs and butter form an emulsion that traps air. During baking, the air expands, producing light, airy, evenly baked treats.
Always chunks over chocolate chips. (I know the title says chips, but that’s just because that’s what most people call them.) Not the chunks that come pre-cut in a bag, but the type you chop up yourself using the best quality chocolate bars your sweet tooth can afford. Not only will the chunks distribute more evenly throughout the cookie, but the shards from chopping will disperse throughout the batter. And one more vote for chunks – chocolate chips hold their shape due to less cocoa butter, while the latter melt into gooey chocolate decadence.
Nuts or no Nuts?
I battled with this one a lot. I love chocolate and nuts together. I like the texture they bring to cookies and their toasted flavor. But I decided that chocolate chunks deserved to shine alone in this cookie. Plus, I wouldn’t have any noses turn up when I had to tell the people who hate nuts in brownies that these cookies contained them too. Instead I got the best of both worlds by using this toasty, pure walnut extract that my friend Vangie of Meso Nutso makes. She does it all herself and the quality & care is evident. She uses triple distilled vodka, local Oregon walnuts and bourbon to make this particular extract. I know beautiful is not the right descriptor to describe aroma, but it’s true in this case.
I tested this recipe with several different chilling times, from none at all to 2 days. The winner? 30 minutes. With no chill time they spread too thin and don’t get that nice rippled effect. Bake them straight from the refrigerator after a night of resting and they don’t spread enough. Result: mini hockey pucks. Both still tasted great, but not quite the texture I desired.
Okay…… I think you’re ready. You’ve got all the details for gluten-free chocolate chip cookie success. Ones that you’ll eat too many of the first time you make them and ones that nobody will know they’ve got the “gf” word attached to them. Now all you need is a sweet tooth like mine and glass of milk for dunkin’. Go forth and bake!
My Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from all recipes linked to in 2nd paragragh
makes 16-18 cookies
215 grams Cup4Cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
100 grams (1/2 cup) lightly packed dark brown sugar
67 grams (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
140 grams unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)
1 large egg, room temperature (mine always weighs as close to 60 grams as possible)
1 teaspoon Meso Nutso pure walnut extract (vanilla is lovely too)
80 grams of 85% cacao chocolate, chopped into chunks
80 grams of 65% cacao chocolate, chopped into chunks
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, stir together sugars and maple syrup so that no lumps remain. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until mayonnaise consistency, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add sugar mixture and beat for 1 1/2 minutes on medium speed, scrape down sides, then beat for another 1 1/2 minutes so the mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg and walnut extract, incorporate on low speed for 20 seconds.
Then incorporate flour mixture in 3 additions, until batter just comes together and no flour streaks are present. Stir in chocolate with spoon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. After batter has chilled, make cookie dough balls that are a scant 2 tablespoons of batter. Bake 8 cookies per sheet for about 12 minutes. They should look a little underbaked in the middle, starting to brown on the outside.