Do you remember in My Best Friend’s Wedding when Julia Roberts is explaining to Cameron Diaz that she’s crème brûlée, not Jell-O? Well in most things I’m crème brûlée. I inadvertently pick out the most expensive thing in the store every time. My favorite china is $500 a place setting. As I explained to my friend Emily one day about my decorating style – I don’t like shabby chic. I like chic! But when it comes to dessert, I’m Jell-O, metaphorically speaking. My favorite dessert – most absolute favorite – is a perfect chocolate chip cookie. There is no gold-leaf studded chocolate mousse that can come close to a perfect chocolate chip cookie.
I have a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve mastered, but every once in a while I need a mix. Mixes are quick and easy and not messy. They usually only make half a batch, which let’s face it, many times is a good thing. Gluten-free baking mixes are more expensive than baking from scratch, so I use them sparingly. This one was about $6. However, if you’re new to the gluten-free world, or if you’re not gluten-free but wanting to bake something for a friend (in which case I’d like to say thank you for your intentionality on behalf of all celiacs!!!), grab a mix.
When I learned that King Arthur was venturing into the gluten-free world, I was thrilled. Pre gluten-free diagnosis seven years ago, I used King Arthur products and loved them. They’re the gold standard of flour. True to their reputation, the nice people at King Arthur did not disappoint. Of all the gluten-free cookie mixes out there, the King Arthur Gluten-Free Cookie Mix has to be my favorite.
There’s a few things I like. First, the cookies bake well and taste amazing. The flour mix is not gritty. There is no aftertaste, no saying “this is good for gluten-free.” No, these are just plain good.
Second, the dough tastes good. Bad tasting cookie dough usually means the flour mix contains a bean flour. Bean flours have beautiful consistency, but they taste like, well, beans. The bean flavor cooks off after the dough is completely baked. I, however, like chewy cookies, and chewy cookies are not cooked long enough to cook out the bean taste. I don’t know if you’ve ever had bean-flavored chocolate chip cookies. I have, and it’s not pretty.
Third, there are no chocolate chips in the mix. My first reaction to this was something like – What? I have to buy chocolate chips, too? Then I thought about the freedom inherent in this mix philosophy. I can use semi sweet or dark chocolate. If I’m making cookies for one of my gluten-free, casein-free friends, I can use casein-free chocolate chips. I can add nuts and adjust my chocolate chip measurement so that my cookies don’t have too many mix-ins. The flour mix has a brown sugar base, so I can use this for any brown sugar-centric cookie recipe, adding anything from M&Ms to peanut butter chips. Yes, this is a very flexible gluten-free cookie mix!
The box has very specific instructions, which I recommend you follow. It starts with creaming together half the flour mix and the stick of butter. I learned about this baking strategy at the Gluten Free Allergy Expo. The idea is to get every grain of the dry ingredients coated with butter so that the butter acts as a buffer between the grains of flour. This method prevents the cookies from becoming dense. Next add an egg and some water. I forgot to take a picture of this part, but I promised it happened. Mix that in. Then stir in the rest of the flour mix.
Next is where you get to use your imagination. The box says to use one to two cups of add-ins. I ended up using a little more than that – probably two and three-quarters total of semi-sweet chocolate chunks and pecan pieces.
Next, the recipe says to smush the cookies down so they’re not mounds. Bake in a 350 degree oven 10 – 12 minutes.
And, tada!!!! I kept them in for about 10 minutes and then let them sit on the hot pan outside the oven for another minute or so. This makes the cookie crunchy on the bottom and chewy in the middle – also known as perfect.
It’s good to be Jell-O when it comes to dessert because there is nothing better than a perfect chocolate chip cookie. King Arthur – thanks for making such a great mix! You get two thumbs up from The Accidental Okie!