The food: Gluten free chocolate chip cookies
My most recent novel, The Restoration of Emily, is about an architect named Emily Harada, whose 14-year-old son Jesse, has celiac disease. To some extent, the Jesse character was based on my now 19 year old son Michael, who has followed a gluten-free (GF) diet since he was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of eighteen months.
In Michael’s younger days, I laboured mightily to find and prepare gluten-free meals and snacks for him, with varying success. So when I one day came upon a simple recipe that resulted in GF chocolate chip cookies with an authentic homemade texture and taste, I held on to the recipe, and baked them whenever I had the time to make two batches: a gluten free one just for Michael, using rice flour, and a gluten rich batch using unbleached all- purpose (wheat) flour for my other son.
These days, the other son doesn’t eat sweets (he’s an athlete who’s perpetually in training), so the second batch I make is for me. It contains pecans and a little extra salt to cut the sweetness. Michael and I both like the flat, soft cookies that the recipe makes (the GF ones are flatter and crumblier), but he prefers his cookies without crisp edges. So when I make his, I crowd the whole batch onto one cookie sheet. They join together into one big cookie when baked, and I cut them into cookieish shapes when they’re cooled.
Chocolate Chip Cookies – GF or Not
½ c. butter
¾ c. sugar (mixed brown and white)
1 c. rice flour OR 1 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. chocolate chips
½ c. pecans, if desired
Cream butter and sugar together in large mixing bowl. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add egg and vanilla to butter and sugar combo, beat till combined. Add dry ingredients, beat till combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
Drop by tablespoon onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven when still a little moist on top. Let cool on baking sheet. Makes about 20. Store gluten-free cookies on layers of parchment paper in an airtight container.