A new tradition begins! Every week, I’ll take on a much-loved-but-unhealthy recipe and tweak it to make it more nutritious. (By “nutritious,” I mean using better-quality fats and a wider variety of ingredients. More diversity in your diet = more vitamins, proteins, fiber…all the good stuff. Besides, it’s fun to try new things!)
I’ll include the original recipe and then the tweaked version so that you can see what kind of substitutions are possible. Feel free to conduct your own experiments!
Classic Tollhouse Chocolate-Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
Tweaked (and gluten-free!) Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda (more baking soda is needed when you’re working with gluten-free flours; they don’t rise as well)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup organic ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil (unrefined/cold-pressed)
1 1/2 cup sucanat
1 tsp. vanilla
1 100-gram bar (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate (at least 70%; 85% is preferable)
As you can see, I have substituted brown rice and buckwheat flours for white, which has been refined to the point of nutritional oblivion. (Most grocery stores now carry a good assortment of different flours.) I have also greatly increased the quality of the fat by using cold-pressed tropical oil/organic ghee. Iron-rich sucanat replaces white sugar, and by using dark chocolate, you’re cutting out the cheap fillers found in chocolate chips. Also, the darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains.
[Also note: if you want to make non-gluten-free cookies, use 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour and only use 1 tsp. of baking soda. I used buckwheat because I enjoy its crunchy, vaguely-nutty taste; brown rice also lends the cookies an interesting texture.]
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Break chocolate bar into chunks by removing tinfoil wrapping (if there is one), putting the bar into a plastic baggie, and smashing it with a meat hammer or other heavy object. (You could use the bottom of a heavy-duty drinking glass.) It’s easier to leave the bar in its non-tinfoil wrapper while smashing so that you don’t rip through the baggie. Set aside.
Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the ghee and sucanat. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla and blend until well-mixed. Stir in the flour mixture and the chocolate chunks.
Use a teaspoon to scoop little balls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Place far apart–the gluten-free dough will spread quite a bit and will result in flatter, crunchier cookies than the traditional recipe. (You’ll need to be extra-careful when removing the cooled cookies so that you don’t break them.)
Bake for 9 minutes.
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