Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I need to take a computer course. Isn’t that ridiculous? Isn’t my generation supposed to be naturally computer savvy?

Unfortunately I seem to have missed out on the “computer genius” gene and I’ve been struggling with uploading pictures off my camera (among other things). The program just shuts down every time I plug in the camera. I feel like I spend at least 75% of my day troubleshooting cursing at my computer and it makes me want to unplug it, toss it out the window, and move to the country. 

Am I crazy or are there other people out there who feel like technology is sometimes frequently more trouble than it's worth? I feel really old and crabby saying that but it's true, I hate computers.

I'm very frustrated because I had this great post planned for you guys; with some pictures from my race on Saturday (my boat placed second), a few scenes from opening day at the farmer’s market (I bought 5lbs of honey), and these delicious cookies I made for my rowers. I've been putting off posting about these things since Saturday because I can't seem to get the pictures off my camera. At this point I didn't want to wait any longer to share these cookies with you, so I've decided to post without pictures and update when I'm finally able to load them.
Edit: I was able to get pictures of the cookies off my camera but now I'm having trouble again so no market pictures.
Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Elana's Pantry. Yields about 24 Cookies.

I'm not allergic to gluten, nor are any of the guys who I made these cookies for but I’ve been wanting to try baking almond meal for a while. Unfortunately, the only company available in Binghamton is Bob’s Red Mill and I’ve read only bad reviews about it (dry, crumbly etc) – plus it’s about  $10 a pound. The Trader Joe’s* brand, however, is significantly cheaper and has a much better texture. It is a meal and not a flour so its not very finely ground but it adds great texture to cookies or a sturdier cake – just don’t try to make angel food cake with it.

These have a softer chewier texture, more like an oatmeal cookie. I received nothing but positive feedback on them but I want to cut down on the fat content - 10g per cookie is a bit high for me but that's due to the almonds. Since I'm not concerned with keeping them gluten-free, I'm going to try replacing a small portion of the almond meal with whole wheat flour. If you want to maintain the gluten-free properties but still want to cut down on fat, I suspect oat flour would do the trick nicely. However, If you want to replace more than 1 cup of the almond meal, you'll also need to increase the oil to replace the fat lost from the almonds.

These cookies are only slightly sweet so if you prefer yours sweeter I would suggest using maple syrup instead of honey or even half syrup, half honey. The syrup will add a slightly different almost caramelized flavor.

2 ½ cups almond meal**
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup honey (see headnotes)
1/2 cup light olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup extra dark chocolate chips***

Preheat oven to 350F
Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a medium bowl. Mix well. Mix in chocolate chips and refrigerate for 20 minutes. On parchment-lined baking sheet, drop round (generous) tablespoonfuls of dough, spacing 2 inches apart. If dough seems dry and rigid, flatten a bit. If you like ultra chewy cookies, flatten dough into discs before baking.

Bake for 7-9 minutes, until lightly golden (If you like crisper cookies, bake 9-10 minutes.). It's important to let them cool on baking sheet for a full 10-20 minutes to set, otherwise they will just fall apart.

*The last time I was on Long Island I got a little carried away at Trader Joe's since we don't have one in Binghamton - I think I bought something like 9 pounds of almond meal. Oops.

**Be sure to store an opened bag of almond meal in the fridge or even the freezer so that it does not go rancid from the fat.

***I've been hearing a lot of good reviews on Guittard chocolate so I bought a bag of their extra dark chocolate chips. The result? They were good, but i prefer the larger size and flatter shape of my usual Ghirardelli 60% Dark chips.

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