It was early. My knees felt creaky. The coffee was still burbling through the filter. And I was in the kitchen, gathering ingredients to make gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.
The night before, Danny and I cooked a dinner for 4 wonderful people who donated to our Kickstarter. He danced in front of the stove, that little shuffle heel to toe he does when he’s boppipng around happy. We made soft pretzels with our guests — Grace requested them in particular — and watched them bob in the boiling water filled with baking soda, then put them in the oven to bake. There was a spring-green soup, then pretzels warm out of the oven, with mustard for dipping. Sauteed halibut with spring vegetable risotto on a mint-pea puree. Chicken roasted with goat cheese and asparagus with potato puree. And a roasted rhubarb and strawberry shortcake. Our guests left happy. We loved them and the experience of feeding them.
But I woke up the next morning feeling a litle worn. We forgot to put the mats down on the kitchen floor after sweeping, so Danny and I spent the entire evening walking on the concrete without that padding. Man, my knees are making it clear to me — I am getting older. I wanted nothing more than to sleep in on Sunday morning, drink coffee slowly, and read the paper in the sunlight.
Time to bake. We had an appearance in Seattle to make.
I melted coconut oil on the stove. I pulled sugar and baking powder out of the pantry. I left the eggs on the counter to come to room temperature. Coffee ready — time for a sip. And then Lucy woke up.
I gave her a hug, tousled her crazy bed-head hair, and asked her if she wanted anything to eat. “What are you doing?” she wanted to know. We bake together. We have for years. But we don’t usually bake that early in the morning. I told her about the cookies we needed to make for the appearance that day. She wanted to help.
She dragged a chair over to the counter and started stirring the sugar into the melted coconut oil. Danny came down the stairs with Desmond in his arms. D started wriggling, smiling so hard his nose crinkled and his eyes closed. Lu reached up to hug him, then returned to stirring.
Cups of coffee for the adults. Slices of apples for the kids. We put on some Caspar Babypants and started dancing around a little. We opened the windows. Lucy cracked the eggs, slowly slowly stirring to make sure every inch of yellowy striation disappeared into the dough.
Desmond wanted to stand on the chair and be with his sister. She is, without a doubt, his favorite person in the world. As she tipped the bowl full of flour into the big red bowl, she told her little brother, “Desmond, when you are 6, you will know how to bake like this because Mama will teach you, like she taught me. And Mama is the best baking teacher.”
I reached down to hug her, tears in my eyes.
Who cares about creaky knees? And early mornings? And the time I could have spent with the New York Times? I was right where I wanted to be.
gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
This is the recipe for chocolate chip cookies printed on the box of our gluten-free all-purpose flour. We could have put a dozen other recipes on there. But there’s something quintessential about chocolate chip cookies. They’re easy to bake with kids. And they never fail to please, especially in the late afternoon, when school is over for the day and there is playing outside to do. This recipe is based on the classic Toll House recipe, which is still most people’s favorite chocolate chip cookie. The edges are crisp and set, the centers are slightly soft and oozy with melting chocolate. These disappear quickly.
If you want to make these dairy-free, all you have to do is use coconut oil instead of the butter and be sure to use a dairy-free chocolate chip. They’re just as good as the butter kind. If you want to make a quick version, then make the batter and spread it in a greased 9 x 11 baking pan. Bake it at 375° for 30 to 40 minutes. Chocolate chip cookie cake!
Of course, we think these work best with our flour. That’s why we created it. We wanted to create a great baking flour that would work for your family. We’ve made it easy for you. This could be your flour.
420 grams (3 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
230 grams (2 US sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
335 grams (2 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips
50 grams (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts (optional)
flaky sea salt (optional)
Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
Make the batter. Cream the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time. Add the nuts (if using) and chocolate chips.
Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
Prepare to bake. Heat oven to 375°.
Bake the cookies. Drop golf-ball-sized balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making 3 rows of 2 cookies on the sheet. Bake until the edges are crisp and the center still soft, 8 to 12 minutes. Pinch a bit of flaky sea salt over the top of each cookie, if you want. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Serve as soon as you can.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.