The very best gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

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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

4½ cups gluten free flour mix (you can either make up your own mix or buy a pre-made GF flour mix. I will share the blend I use below) ***
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
4 eggs
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.

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Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and blend well until no flour is visible.

Mix in chocolate chips.

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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.

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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.

 

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The very best chocolate chip cookie

Chocolate chip cookies

These are, hands down, the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten. And, judging by the number of requests I’ve had for the recipe, I get the feeling I’m not alone.

I started baking at a young age…. my earliest memories of baking begin when I was about age 10. It was one of the many things my mother taught me to do. I found I could almost never go wrong if I brought freshly baked goodies to a gathering. And, freshly baked cookies and cinnamon rolls are how I snagged the world’s best husband! True story.

My mom actually deserves most of the credit for this recipe since it is the one she baked for us kids when we grew up.

I have made one modification to her original recipe: I add a lot more vanilla. But, the 2-tablespoon amount is really a guesstimate…. I’m really bad about measuring. I always just dump from the bottle.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

4½ c all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 c shortening (i.e. Crisco® or palm shortening; leaf lard will also work, if you have access to the unprocessed stuff. Aside from that, no substitutes!)
1½ c sugar
1½ c brown sugar
4 eggs
2 T vanilla
2 c (12-oz. bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips.

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until well blended and smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir until well blended and 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.

(Click here for a PDF version of this recipe.)

Enjoy warm from the oven, room temp up to two days OR freeze for longer term freshness. They are very yummy to eat straight from the freezer. And when they are thawed, they taste as good as fresh.

 

Click here for a gluten-free version of this recipe that tastes just as good!

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“We Sing” Wednesday – He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills

This is another song I learned in the Good News Club my parents taught. My mom made large graphic song books to teach the songs to the children who attended the weekly club hosted in our home. Volunteers were selected from the group of gathered kids. They were invited to the front to hold the books and turn the pages to lead the remaining children  through the songs.

I can still picture these illustrated songbooks. I asked my mom recently if she still had any of these songs so I could share photos. She couldn’t find them. 🙁

He Owns The Cattle On A Thousand Hills
by John W. Peterson

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
The wealth in every mine.
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and the starts that shine.

Wonderful riches more than tongue can tell,
He is my father so they’re mine as well.
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
And I know that He will care for me!
© 1948. Renewed 1976 John W. Peterson Music Company

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“We Sing” Wednesday – Fishers of Men

This is a fun, active song for little people. As kids we would “cast” and reel in as if fishing. Make motions to “follow” Christ. Put hand to ear as if listening and head down as if to sleep for rest.

The words and tune are simple and repetitive, making it an excellent song to teach to preschoolers. Enjoy!

There are some crafty fun ideas here: (link).

And more ideas here: (link).

I Will Make You Fishers Of Men
by Harry D. Clarke

I will make you fishers of men,
Fishers of men, fishers of men.
I will make you fishers of men,
If you follow Me.
If you follow Me,
If you follow Me.
I will make you fishers of men,
If you follow Me.

Hear Christ calling, Come unto Me
Come unto Me, Come unto Me.
Hear Christ calling, Come unto Me
I will give you rest.
I will give you rest,
I will give you rest.
Hear Christ calling
Come unto Me,
I will give you rest.
© 1927. Renewed 1955 Hope Publishing Company

 

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“We Sing” Wednesday – The Smile Song

This week’s song has a special place in my heart. I learned it from my grandpa. He was a happy, joyful man who LOVED the Lord.

Walt and Erva Coffman, September 3, 2001

Walt and Erva Coffman,
September 3, 2001

He was very friendly and would strike up a conversation with anyone he encountered.This song reminds me of him and the excellent example he set of joy and a positive outlook on life.

For a special treat today, I’m including audio of Grandpa Walt singing this song. It was recorded in my dad’s recording studio (Rolltop Music), in the beginning of 2002, only months before he died in June of the same year.

I still miss him.

 

The Smile Song

There are many troubles that will burst like bubbles
There are many shadows that will disappear.
When you learn to meet them
With a smile to greet them,
For a smile is better than a frown or tear.
You can smile when you can’t say a word,
You can smile when you cannot be heard;
You can smile when it’s cloudy or fair,
You can smile anytime, anywhere.

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