One of the most annoying things about gluten-free and vegan baking is the vast amount of ingredients necessary for each recipe. We’re not made of money over here, so one of the things I try to do is make tasty treats with the fewest amount of ingredients. It will always be more than if I could use wheat flour, but I do what I can.
One of the ways to save on buying lots of individual products is to use what you have to make what you don’t. Instead of searching for gluten and dairy free chocolate chips, I make my own with ingredients that most gluten-free bakers will have on hand. Another way to save money is to find or create recipes that suit what you have. After buying fresh mint for a midweek dinner, we had some leftover so I decided I would try to make some mint chocolate chip cookies! I haven’t made these before, so it will be a bit of an experiment. Read all the way to the end before you try them in case they are a disaster…
The recipe I use for homemade chocolate chips comes from the Organic Matters blog. For the purposes of these cookies, however I have tweaked it a little, and the recipe I used is as follows:
Handful mint leaves
5 tablespoons coconut oil
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon honey (or agave for vegans, I just happened to have honey instead)
Pulse fresh mint leaves in a food processor until shredded.
Melt coconut oil on stove, then take off heat.
Add cocoa powder and honey.
Add the processed mint leaves (I had to keep adding more until I could taste it in the chocolate).
Pour out the chocolate mixture onto a parchment paper covered pan or plate. I had to use a plate because our freezer is too small for a pan. A pan is ideal, though, because you can spread the chocolate out thinner and flatter. Put this in the freezer until the chocolate is frozen.
While this is freezing, start making the cookies! I got this recipe from Cinnamon Quill, but as I mentioned before, I try to cut down the number of ingredients so I’ve made a few changes. This is the first time I’m making this, so bear with me.
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup palm sugar (or any kind of sugar, palm is just my favorite)
1/4 cup sunflower oil, grapeseed or safflower oil (generous 1/4 cup; more like 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon)
1/3 cup honey, agave or pure maple syrup (the original recipe recommended maple, but I had honey already, so that’s what I used)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
(The original recipe called for 1/4 cup tapioca starch and 3 tablespoons-1/4 cup potato starch. I used 1/2 cup tapioca starch to save on ingredients and I’m sensitive to potatoes. I’m also sensitive to sorghum, which is included in the original recipe, so I just used 1/2 cup brown rice flour instead. This will alter the taste, as sorghum is quite nice and brown rice flour can be gritty, but what can you do?! Check out the original if you have sorghum.)
Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. The electric mixer is not really necessary with this recipe, but I have one so I’m sure as hell gonna use it. Then add the wet ingredients and let it hang out while you deal with the chocolate chips.
Once your chocolate is frozen, take it out of the freezer and chop it up using a large knife. I transferred my parchment paper from the plate to a worktop saver so I didn’t mess up a dinner plate. Cutting your chocolate into chips will be very messy because the coconut oil melts at the temperature of your hands, so be sure to wear an apron or clothes that can stand a bit of chocolate on them. It’s not recommended to do this right after your dutiful husband has cleaned the kitchen and right before your leasing agent is coming to inspect your flat, like I am doing. Oh well.
Add 1/2 cup of your homemade mint chocolate chips to the cookie mixture. You’ll have chocolate chips left over, but I like to put these back in the freezer and have some ready-made for next time. If you don’t, then you can halve the chocolate chip recipe above. I also added some more of the processed mint into the cookie batter here because it didn’t taste minty enough.
Now, spoon it out onto a baking sheet. My batch made 11 cookies, which isn’t an ideal number, but it just happened that way.
Put in the preheated oven for 10min. Like the original recipe says, they will firm up after you take them out, so really 10min is all they need.
Now. Now now now. These didn’t turn out quite like I was hoping.
I think perhaps the addition of coconut oil in the chocolate chips stretched the recipe a bit far. As you can see, there was nothing to hold the coconut oil chocolate chips in place. They just melted out the bottom. An easy solution to this is just buy chocolate chips, but I think maybe if we added in a binding egg substitute it might make these cookies a bit more hardy. Or just put in less chocolate chips (I’ve gone back and changed the amount of chocolate chips in the recipe). Or possibly just add more dry ingredients to soak up the excess oil. I’ll keep experimenting. But in the meantime, once I cut around the melted coconut chocolate mess, the cookies actually were fine, and delicious!
*Note: the cookies aren’t burnt. When you add in your homemade chocolate chips, they do melt a little bit and turn the batter a bit brown and chocolatey.
Well my first try with the recipe could have gone better, but it could have gone worse, too. The taste and texture of what was left of the cookies was pretty perfect. I didn’t miss the sorghum and the cookies were lovely and soft. If I hadn’t seen what the pan looked like when it came out of the oven, I would have been completely satisfied with them. I’ll keep fiddling with this recipe, and give you some updates when I figure it out!