America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen fulltime cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.
In the pantheon of cookies, chocolate chip cookies are just about everyone’s favorite. But gluten-free versions are all too often overly cakey or gritty - a far cry from the classic. We spent a year developing "The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook," and what would a gluten-free cookbook be without a tried-and-true chocolate chip cookie recipe? Here’s how we made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with a rich, buttery flavor, a crisp exterior and a tender (but not too cakey) interior. Even we had trouble tasting the difference between a traditional chocolate chip cookie and our gluten-free version.
We started the development process for our Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies by swapping in our flour blend for the all-purpose flour in a standard Toll House cookie recipe. It was no surprise that these cookies had problems: They were flat, sandy and greasy. We’d discovered during our baked goods testing that gluten-free flour blends simply can’t absorb as much fat as all-purpose flour can, so cutting back on the butter helped to minimize greasiness. Less butter, along with some xanthan gum, also helped alleviate the spread issue, so the cookies didn’t bake up so flat.
We realized creaming the butter, as the original Toll House recipe directs, was aerating the butter too much. Melting the butter instead, and changing the ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar, gave our cookies the right chewy texture. The extra brown sugar also gave our cookies a more complex, toffee-like flavor. Bite for bite, this was a chocolate chip cookie that could rival the best versions of the classic.
Here were our key kitchen discoveries when it comes to making the ultimate batch of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies:
Add xanthan gum:
Get the sugar ratio right:
Use less butter and make sure to melt it, too:
Hydrate the dough:
Portion them out for freezing:
Save them for up to two weeks:
RECIPE: Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
Note: Do not omit the xanthan gum; it is crucial to the structure of the cookies. Do not shortchange the 30-minute rest for the dough; if you do, the cookies will spread too much. Not all brands of chocolate chips are processed in a gluten-free facility, so read labels carefully.
8 ounces (1 3/4 cups) ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1. Whisk flour blend, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together in large bowl until well combined and smooth. Whisk in egg, milk and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture with rubber spatula and mix until soft, homogeneous dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 30 minutes. (Dough will be sticky and soft.)
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 2 soup spoons and working with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough at a time, portion dough and space 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
3. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cookies are best eaten on day they are baked, but they can be cooled and placed immediately in airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.)
Gluten-Free Flour Substitution
Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF Baking Flour
(Note that cookies made with King Arthur will spread more and be more delicate, while cookies made with Bob’s Red Mill will spread more and have a distinct bean flavor.)
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