The Quest for a Gluten Free Cookie Recipe

It is quite wonderful how many recipes show up on blogs these days.  Aside from my earlier blog on the perfect margarita, I’ve avoided the topic up to now.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate sharing good recipes, it’s just that normally, my cooking abilities are a little hit and miss.  How can I ever forget the first time I tried to make a traditional English Yorkshire pudding?  It was timed to be finished at serving time for the main course and I went to the oven and pulled out the tray.  It looked nothing like the fluffy stuff in the cookbook.  In fact it really looked like a giant tortilla chip with the consistency of papadum.  Sigh. 

My difficulty with eating is compounded by the number of foods with which I have a troubled relationship.  A celiac diet helped but it wasn’t until tried a ‘low FODMAP’ offering that I began to feel better about my intake.  Now days finding foods that fit this restrictive list is relatively easy.  Thirty years ago, those with celiac disease, or those with digestive difficulties that made eating gluten-based grains an unsavory prospect, had a daunting task in menu planning.  Gluten free products back then were few and far between and one had to have the sleuthing skills of Sherlock Holmes and the nose of a bloodhound to find proper ingredients.  You also had to be willing to experiment with recipes.  It helped if you had the kind of adaptability that would bring a smile to the lips of Charles Darwin. 

Although things are much better these days, some recipes can still offer unmitigated disasters to the unwary.  A case in point is a cookie recipe I’ve been meddling with for months.  The first challenge encountered was finding something called ‘rolled rice’.  After a bit of research I discovered ‘rolled rice’ could be called ‘flattened’ rice or, in India, ‘poha’.  Knowing this didn’t help me find any, although I’m sure that the inestimable mother of PoojaG (writer of the ‘lifesfinewhine’ blog that I follow) would know where to find it.  The ‘flattened’ grain that I did have on hand was quinoa flakes, and I decided to experiment and substitute this for the ‘rolled rice’. 

The first time I made the recipe, the cookies looked great sitting on their sheet and went into the oven looking jolly-well like cookies.  It was a bit of a shock when I pulled them out ten minutes later.  All the individual little balls of batter had melted into one flat mess that covered the sheet.  Shades of the Yorkshire pudding debacle!  It too looked like a single large tortilla chip, except this one was gooey.  Double sigh!  I scraped some off and tried it.  Very sweet and too buttery…

At first I thought it must be the fault of the quinoa flakes.  Having never found poha, I wondered if ‘flattened rice’ had some marvelous power, beyond the capability of quinoa flakes, to absorb the generous amount of butter that was called for.  It took a number of experiments before I finally concluded that the amount of butter in the recipe was about twice too much.

More experiments ensued until I had cookie that looked fit and proper to eat.  And so, my contribution to the culinary blogosphere is ready.   Fit for anyone with celiac – a no for anyone with diabetes or can’t have sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix ½ cup + one tbls of melted butter with 1 cup of white sugar, ½ cup of cane sugar, 3 medium sized eggs and 2 tsp of vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl blend:

½ cup of rice flour,

¼ cup coconut flour,

¼ cup of chick pea (garbanzo) flour,

½ tapioca starch (or potato starch)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup of shredded coconut

1 ½ cups of quinoa flakes

½ tsp salt

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Let sit for an hour in order for the quinoa flakes to absorb liquid, then roll into balls on cookie sheet (approx. 30 cookies)

Bake for about 10 minutes.

If I ever find some ‘poha’ I will give it a try – it would be interesting to know if ‘flattened rice’ is an absorbing powerhouse, or if the original recipe had a mistake in the amount of butter required.   Bon appétit. 

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