It’s snowing here, and I have a cold, so naturally I am craving a treat. Since becoming gluten-free, indulgent baked goods are a little harder to make, especially if you are craving something from your childhood like a fluffy cake, chewy cookies or perfect pie. You want it to taste exactly the same! Thankfully, gluten-free flours have come a long way and you can often just substitute the gluten-free flour for the regular flour in the recipe. If you aren’t gluten-free you are SO LUCKY. I have a recipe at the end of this post that is easy to make with “real” flour or with gluten-free flour and is still amazing.
If you are gluten-free and have to substitute gluten-free flour in recipes, my five favourite sweets to do so are:
- Lemon Meringue Pie. Now, I am TERRIBLE at making this pie. Meringue always fails me and I overwork the dough, but my husband uses gluten-free flour to make this for me and it is the best! The citrus taste really cuts down on the aftertaste of the gluten-free flour blend that can be especially evident in pie.
- Coffee Cake. Josh has a recipe from his high school cooking class that is amazing but any one of your fave coffee cake recipes will do. I love how the cinnamon and nutmeg hide the fact that it is gluten-free, since it still feels so decadent.
- Blueberry Muffins. Muffins have been applauded as a breakfast food since forever, but, really, when you think about it, they are just tiny cakes. Tiny, delicious, fruit-filled cakes. I love them as an occasional dessert and the tang of the blueberries is perfect for a gluten-free option since it hides anything you feel you may be missing from the fluffiness of wheat flour.
- Deliciously Ella’s Sweet Potato Brownies. These are so amazing. And relatively healthy and very easy to make. I have a slight allergy to sweet potatoes so I have to ration myself or I get stomach pains- but still so worth it to make these.
- Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE and perhaps the easiest recipe for chocolate chip cookies out there. They are buttery and full of chocolate and the perfect amount of sweet.
But first, a little story on my Grandma, who used to make these cookies for us. My dad’s mom, my Grandma Salmond, had 7 kids. She was always busy, as you can imagine. I don’t know what my grandma was like as a mother but I know she was the boss of canning, pickling and making jam. She cooked with cast iron and mixed recipes by hand. Grandma Salmond had black hair that never went gray and mischievous eyes. She was resourceful, wiry and had some muscle: A small, strong frame clothed in jeans and button-up tops. She had a raspy laugh from years of extremely heavy smoking and you could hear that guffaw all through the house. (Have you seen the Garfield Christmas Special from the ’80’s or ’90’s? She is that grandma!)
When I was growing up, we would occasionally go to their house for family dinners wherever they lived at the moment- they were fairly nomadic. We spent some Christmas dinners at Grandma and Grandpa’s house when they lived in the same town as us. Grandma was a terrible cook. (She is not rolling in her grave, don’t worry. She would be the first to admit it.) Her ONLY rule was “everything on the table at the same time”. So, more often than not, we would be at her house waiting for supper to cook in the living room while making pictures out of yarn; gluing the scraps onto paper with homemade glue (flour and water). We would hear Grandma moving about in the kitchen and she would come to the living room, smiling, and say, “Meat should be done in about 5 minutes!” (It was always “meat” – never “turkey” or “roast” or what have you.) Then she would go back into the kitchen and maybe 10 seconds later we would hear her stage-whisper, “Oh god-damn it. Oh sh*t! I forgot to turn on the damn potatoes!! Well…..” and then the click of the potatoes going on. (She swore like a sailor. Always.) You remember her rule?? Well, by some miracle those potatoes better be done in five minutes cuz that’s when the “meat” was going to be cooked. They weren’t, of course. Her solution was often, “Well I think the potatoes might be a bit hard, so feel free to use your hands and pick ’em up if you can’t slice through.” HAHAHA.
But baking? She could bake! My sister and I went for a sleepover once and begged her to make her famous chocolate chip cookies. Grandma could make them with 3-4 utensils and one bowl on her tiny counter and after you would hardly know she had been baking! I guess you pick up some tricks when you have raised 7 children. So there we are, at our grandparents for a sleepover and we begged Grandma to make cookies. Well, of course she said yes. Grandpa put on the TV for us and we sat in their wood panelled living room to watch it with him, my sister and I sprawled out on the brown shag carpet. As soon as cookies were done, Grandma came and told us. After we had eaten four, our limit at home, we slyly asked Grandma for more. She said, “Eat as many as you want!!” We didn’t know that she meant it!! We ate and ate and Grandma baked and baked. Finally, rolling on the floor clutching our stomachs, we finally said no when she asked if we wanted another. “Oh thank goodness,” she laughed, “You ate one sheet each and I am running out of flour!” She explained she was prepared to keep making cookies until we couldn’t hold anymore. Now that’s a grandma for you!! I dunno if I could eat a whole cookie sheet of them anymore but it would be tempting.
These take about 10 minutes to whip up and, if you do it right you can use very few dishes. Use the same utensil, slightly wiped off, for a few uses and afterward you have beautiful cookies and hardly anything to clean up. I hand-mix this recipe, as my Grandma Salmond did, but feel free to use a mixer. I like to hand mix because it means no appliances to clean afterward. I am going to give you the recipe, EXACTLY as my grandma wrote it for me because it is a) hilarious and b) ridiculously simple.
But first, what you need for utensils is:
- large mixing bowl
- wooden spoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/4 cup measure
- 1 cup measure
- silver teaspoon
- baking sheet
Grandma Salmond’s Super Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter 2 eggs 1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar 1 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar 2 1/4 cup flour*
2 cups chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar. Add wet. Add dry. Add chocolate chips. Bake at 350F for 10 mins**.
*For gluten-free, I used Robin Hood’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend in the same amount.
**On a greased cookie sheet.
That’s it! Let cool on baking sheet for 10 mins while another sheet bakes and then move to a cooling rack.
In this over-complicated world of ours, I find this recipe refreshing. And it never fails me. I have never ever had it fail. My grandma was also very strict on the 10 mins baking time and I have never had to adjust it. The cookies always come out perfectly golden brown around the edges. I am all for eating healthy, but the occasional cookie won’t kill anyone and these are the perfect choice for a treat!
Perfect cookies for a snack later…..