Our food allergy story began almost twelve years ago, after the birth of our ninth child. I’ll share more of that story in another post. The short version is that, after a five-day hospital stay, he was diagnosed with MSPI (milk-soy protein intolerance).
It took over ten months and an insanely strict elimination diet (for ME since I was his sole source of nutrition) to figure out the rest of his food allergies. Wheat/gluten was one of the many.
Since I’ve always enjoyed baking, this was a tough blow. No more yummy treats coming out of my kitchen…. Yeah, that didn’t last long. Twelve years ago, today’s glut of gluten-free information and help did not exist. There were only a few cookbooks available; but, thankfully, there was a helpful community at egroups (yep, it was an age ago!) of parents of food-allergic kids who willingly shared anything helpful they came across.
From there, I found a group called SillyYaks, and I was back in the baking business.
The inspiration for this recipe came from the SillyYaks group.
The Very BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum (unless the mix you purchase includes this binder)
2 cups shortening (Crisco®, or palm shortening — NO substitutes)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4oz each)
2 T vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz) semi sweet chocolate chips.
In a medium bowl combine flour blend, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum.
In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until well blended and smooth. Add vanilla and pudding mix. Add eggs. Mix well.
Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and blend well until no flour is visible.
Mix in chocolate chips.
Drop by teaspoons full onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven when cookies are only BARELY browned around the edges. Cool for 1-2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to clean counter top (not cooling racks) to finish cooling.
Enjoy warm from the oven, room temp up to 2 days OR freeze for longer term freshness. They are very yummy to eat straight from the freezer.
This recipe lends itself well to variations. Instead of vanilla pudding mix and semi sweet chocolate chips, try the following:
- Chocolate pudding mix and white chocolate chips
- Butterscotch pudding and caramel bits
- Butterscotch pudding and toasted nuts or butter brickle pieces
- Lemon pudding and poppy seeds (I would use all white sugar for a pale, delicate cookie, and use lemon extract instead of vanilla extract)
Really the flavor variations are limited only by your imagination.
The gluten-free flour mix that I usually use for these cookies is a brown rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch blend in the following ratio:
6 cups brown rice flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
(Prepare as much of this mixture as you think you’ll use in three months, and store it in a canister or jar.)
PDF version is here.