Who would have thought a cookie recipe could turn out to be such a challenge? If you bake with gluten, cookies are one of the easiest recipes to make. Even when baking gluten free, classic drop cookies, like chocolate chip, are fairly simple to create. A basic combination of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. In other words, not particularly difficult. When baking in general, the ratios of liquid to flour, and the proportions of butter and eggs are usually what determines the success of a recipe. This becomes even more important when creating a gluten free recipe. As a rule, most gluten free flours are not able to absorb high amounts of fat in the same way that gluten flours can. As a result, we were a little worried when first looking over this recipe and seeing that it called for 2 cups of butter in relation to 2 cups of flour. As always, when testing an unfamiliar recipe, we only make half a batch in order to limit the possible wasting of ingredients. Making this recipe, we were especially happy we followed this rule.
Since the rules of TWD encourage everyone that participates to generally follow the recipes as laid out in Baking with Julia, we followed these guidelines by only substituting the regular flour for gluten free, and the sugar for sucanat. So far so good. Sometimes this approach works, and other times it leads to a big disaster. Our first attempt at this recipe was no exception, as you can see from the following photo.
What a mess. Everything about the recipe seemed fine right up until it was time to bake. The dough was chilled for the required amount of time, and then dropped by the tablespoonful onto sil-pat lined baking sheets. After ten minutes in the oven, the butter was clearly the winner. It went everywhere. We almost gave up the idea of making this recipe again after ending up with such greasy, wafer thin “cookies.” To be honest, they really didn’t resemble cookies at all. Is it the elusive special Parisian butter, or the Parisian air that makes the recipe in the book work? Who knows? It certainly didn’t work for us.
After we were done cleaning up the first fiasco, we decided right away to cut the butter in half, and increase the amount of flour by 1/8 cup. Originally, we used a flour blend made up of more tapioca than brown rice. However, thinking this may have been part of the problem, with the second batch, we flipped the ratio and used more brown rice flour, with a much smaller addition of tapioca and sweet rice. We also subbed out baking powder for baking soda, which ended up resulting in fluffier cookies than perhaps the original creator of the recipe intended.
With this second batch, the end result was at least something resembling a cookie. We loved it. It tasted great, we even liked the texture, but we altered the recipe so much, that it no longer completely resembled the original. In order to stay closer to the original recipe, we still feel it would have to be tweaked a little further. But not by us. We usually don’t favor recipes that call for excessive amounts of fat or sugar. I think at the end, we all have a favorite “go to” recipe for chocolate chip cookies. This one, sadly enough, just did not become ours.
This week’s host is Peggy of Galettista. She has done an absolutely beautiful job with these cookies, and also gives the precise recipe on her site. Do check out all of the other TWD participants’ creations by going to the Tuesdays with Dorie website.