Wanting to make cookies but a gluten-free version I went to my base recipe having spent enough time last year trying to master the perfect method. I've slightly reduced the amount of butter and sugar in these gluten-free ones mindful that although gluten-free flour can result in drier bakes I didn't want the cookies to spread too much and keep their shape. I added xanthan gum to the dough in order to ensure they have some structure once baked. I have to admit I've not made these without xanthan gum and so can't say how crumbly they will be, but it is pretty easy to get these days either in a free-from section (if your supermarket has one) or online. As for gluten-free flour I use ready made blends. I do not have a master homemade blend I can suggest, who knows maybe I will one day.
For those who are used to cookies which aren't gluten-free you will find these a little different texturally. These cookies are a lot more tender and slightly delicate. Although the outside is still nice and crisp, the middle is light rather than dense and doughy. I have to admit the problem I find with this textural change is that it makes it even easier to eat another, and maybe another after that...
Hands-on Time 15 minutes plus chilling (overnight)
Baking Time 13-15 minutes
170g Unsalted butter (softened)
180g Light brown sugar
150g Caster Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Eggs, large
400g Plain flour (Gluten-free)
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp Fine salt
1 tsp Xanthan gum
300g Chocolate chips (recommend a 50/50 mix of dark and milk)
Freestanding mixer with paddle
Baking sheet (ideally aluminium)
Add the butter and both sugars to the bowl of the mixer and beat on a medium-high speed for 5 minutes until you have a very light and fluffy mixture.
Add the vanilla and eggs and beat for a couple of seconds until combined.
Add the flour, bicarb, salt, and xanthan gum and again beat for a couple of seconds until combined. Scrape the sides down using a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
Finally add the chocolate chips and mix one last time. You shouldn’t need to run the mixer for more than 10 seconds. The key thing is not to over-mix.
Put the bowl into the fridge for at least an hour to firm up the dough. It is possible to do this in the freezer to speed things up but don’t forget about the dough!
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Remove the bowl and take a portion of the dough and roll into a ball. Place onto the baking sheet and repeat until you have used up all of the dough. At this point if you want to bake the cookies at a later time you could put the dough balls, with the parchment, into a Tupperware box and freeze. Otherwise, cover the dough balls with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to get really firm, ideally overnight.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C (Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Slide the baking sheet out of the fridge and leave the dough balls on the shelf.
Once the oven has warmed up line the baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
Place approx 6 balls spaced about 10cm apart from each other onto the baking parchment.
Pop the tray into the oven on a middle shelf for 14 minutes, at this point they should be puffed up and golden.
Remove the tray from the oven. Slide the parchment carefully, with the cookies, onto the worktop. Re-line with more paper and bake your next batch.
After the cookies have rested for a couple of minutes they should be firm enough for you to transfer onto a wire rack to fully cool. Don’t forget they will get firmer as they cool, as tempting as it is to immediately eat them straight from the oven. Like some things in life, patience pays off.