While I’m not gluten intolerant, we have friends that are. I’ve done a little gluten-free cooking but hadn’t really investigated the baking end of things.
So while the contracting crew tore all the bricks off the front of our house with a giant drill that reminded me of the dentist, I decided to do a little cookie baking experiment since I was too hyper with all the noise to just sit and knit.
I decided to try a gluten-free wheat flour substitute called Cloud 9 All-Purpose flour (found it at Costco in Canada). It’s manufactured locally, and the best part is that it’s a cup for cup substitute for wheat flour (that I don’t have to mix up myself).
I have used it before in muffins, waffles and pancakes but this time I wanted to try it with my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe (back of the milk chocolate chips package) and my own usual additions. I subbed in the Cloud 9 flour and added chopped candied cherries and toasted chopped pecans along with the entire package of milk chocolate chips.
The first difference I noticed was that the dough set up really quickly once the flour was added which made it difficult to stir in the cherries, nuts and chips. Next time I think I’ll toss those into the flour mixture, stir that up and then add it into the liquids, and possibly putting in a 1/4 cup less flour.
As I’ve been making this recipe for years, I started out with the recommended temperature of 375° F. This was a MAJOR fail. The cookies didn’t flatten down, they baked too fast, the bottoms got way too brown. When they cooled they were pretty much rocks.
For the second tray I dropped the temperature to 350° F, but at the 10 minute mark they were overly baked on the outside and still a little too under-baked inside.
On the third attempt, I let the oven cool down to 325° F and baked the cookies for 11 minutes. These came out more the way I expected them to be. Slightly flattened, still a little chewy and the bottoms were not overly browned.
Ironically, one of the fellows working on our house is gluten intolerant and was more than happy to test the cookies. He gave the third batch 2 thumbs up!
Other than having to lower the baking time, the most significant difference was in the taste of the final product. The cookies weren’t as sweet (the recipe contains 2 cups of brown sugar), and that sort of carmel flavour was over-powered most likely by the buckwheat in the flour mix. I will use the Cloud 9 Flour again but will continue to tweak the recipe to bring a little more sweetness into the cookies.