Note: This drawing is now closed. What’s this, no behind-the-scenes shots from the amazing, new Nancy Baggett book, Simply Sensational Cookies? Sorry folks, but I wasn’t at this shoot. Todd & Diane of White on Rice Couple did the stunning photography (including the styling) for the book at their studio in California. Nancy went out there for the shoot, but I couldn’t make it. I’m still kicking myself for that, but the photos in the cookbook are so gorgeous, I can’t complain. So what’s up with the plain Jane cookies I baked for this post? Well, I wanted to try something from the new book at home, and as beautiful as many of the cookie photos are in this book, I’ve gone gluten-free — my options were a bit more limited. Fortunately Nancy does include some gluten-free recipes though, and I decided to first try out these classic chocolate chip cookies. If you’re gluten-free and have gotten a little tired of dense, healthy-tasting cookies, then you definitely want to make a batch of these. They’re really light, almost impossibly so. Another odd but good thing about this recipe is that unlike a lot of gluten-free baked goods I’ve tried which get hard (and kinda gross) after a day or two, these only got better. I guess it depends on how you like your cookies — either warm from the oven or after they’ve had time to settle down. We had a little debate in my house about it, and the vote was split.
So as usual for a book I’ve worked on, if you live in the U.S. or Canada and want to be entered into a drawing for a free copy, just post a comment before the end of Wednesday, October 24th. And if you want to try out this gluten-free recipe (with some notes from me), here you go…
Gluten-Free Classic-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
reprinted from Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett with permission from the publisher
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 1⁄3 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups white rice flour
1⁄2 cup brown rice flour
1⁄2 cup cornstarch
1 1⁄2 to 2 cups (up to one 10- to 11-ounce bag) semisweet chocolate morsels (I would definitely try these again with butterscotch chips!)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Grease several baking sheets or coat with nonstick spray; or line them with baking parchment.
In a large microwave-safe bowl with the microwave on 50 percent power, heat the butter until very soft but not melted or runny, stopping and stirring every 20 seconds. (Alternatively, warm the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring, until softened but not melted or runny. Remove from the heat.) Continue stirring until completely creamy-smooth.
Vigorously stir in the sugar until well blended; mash out any lumps and stir until cooled to barely warm. Vigorously stir in the eggs, vanilla, baking soda, and salt until the mixture is well blended and smooth. Very vigorously stir in the white and brown rice flours, cornstarch, then the chocolate morsels until evenly incorporated. Let stand to firm up for about 5 minutes. (Nancy emphasizes that unlike regular cookie batter, vigorous stirring here is both fine and encouraged to keep the cookies from turning out too crumbly — stir away!)
Using a (1 1⁄2-inch) diameter spring-loaded scoop, or heaping soupspoons, drop mounds of dough about 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake (middle rack) one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are tinged with brown and feel almost firm when pressed in the middle. Let stand until firmed up just slightly, about 2 minutes. (It was getting warm in my kitchen, so I started chilling the dough between baking batches and even tossed a sheet of scooped cookie dough into the freezer for a few minutes — cooling the dough definitely helped with spreading, and I think it improved the texture too. I might make these again and chill the dough for a few hours or overnight.) Using a wide spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks. Cool completely. Cool the baking sheets between batches or the cookies may spread too much. Store these, airtight, for up to 1 week. They can be frozen, airtight, for 3 to 4 weeks.
Yield: Makes thirty to thirty-five 3-inch cookies