It’s snowing out – again! WHYYY? It’s freezing around here so I decided to make some fresh cookies to eat under a blanket on the couch in front of an X-Files marathon.
I’m not totally vegan, but when I bake I always bake vegan; eggs, milk and butter are in a variety of things that I consume day to day, but given the choice I like to avoid them. Something about seeing them go into the food I’m eating yucks me out. This year I’m making more of a push to really know where my food comes from, and I’ll likely also go that little bit further towards becoming fully vegan – though I’ll probably always be one of those jerks that says “I could never give up CHEESE!” But there’s no cheese in these bad boys, so they are 100% vegan.
Another thing I do when baking is change up recipes to be gluten free. I know GF is a real buzz word/thing lately, but I legit can’t digest gluten and it’s TRAGIC. I started having severe stomach issues a number of years ago: extreme bloating (people were asking me how far along my pregnancy was – NOT KIDDING), stomach upset, sudden weight gain, major lethargy, and so on. On the advice of my doctor I began an elimination diet and after some pretty crappy meals I narrowed down the causes to the big G. Dropping it from my diet was almost impossible – No pizza! No paninis! No non-soggy pasta! No garlic bread! The list goes on… I MOURNED. Being vegetarian AND gluten free felt like a death sentence. I went to restaurants where all I could eat was a salad and I cried when I got home because I was totally not satisfied and my bread cravings were out of control (First world problems, eh?). After finally fazing out my impulse to eat all the bread everywhere (it took a long time and I was miserable) I started to feel better about being GF. It also helped that so many companies were coming out with GF products that I could eat. After a few years of being gluten free I started to re-introduce gluten in small amounts and found I could handle it once in a while. That pizza I ate at Woodfire a few weeks back? It was glorious. And once a week it’s cool. Pizza two days in a row and I’m pushing it. So to give my belly a break I prefer to have gluten free stuff around the house… which brings me back to gluten free baking! It’s tricky.
For this recipe, which I got from the amazing book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, I did a simple swap of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour for the flour called for in the recipe. It sounds easy, but changing the flour to GF really alters the consistency of the dough and the success rate of the finished product. I have tried this swap in recipes before and it was a total fail. Today it went reasonably well, though not as successfully as when I have made these cookies with regular flour in the past. GF dough mixes are way wetter and stickier than with real flour, and, in my experience, you need to add more flour than the recipe calls for and also add a helping of xanthan gum to help it stick together. Because this is a recipe that involves molding shapes by hand it also gets really messy! Remember to flour your hands thoroughly if you give it a try.
I like really big cookies, so I made them larger than the recipe calls for and they melted down into big round shapes rather than the small “pillows” the website shows. They are pretty delicious!