I'm not gonna lie, I love sweets. I love the art of baking little treats, the ritual of going in the kitchen and gathering ingredients, quietly collecting items while I wonder "will this turn out?" which is par for the course when you're baking gluten free.
I learned while living in LA what I could eat, where to get it and/or what the ingredients were I needed. I knew my shopping list by heart and had another list of stores where I could go and find what I needed so I always had a supply. Then I moved, and not just to another state, I moved to another country. Talk about uprooting your grocery list!
Look, simply travelling instills fear in the gluten free - whether you have Coeliac's or are gluten intolerant due to health reasons, this can mean asking more questions, doing extra research and a lot of times being the person at dinner who orders a simple salad with some Olive Oil on the side just to stay 'safe.' When you move, it's a case of "same - same, but different" - here I was living in New Zealand and I needed to suss out what I could eat and from where. Let's also talk about the fact I was (was is the key word here) a lazy baker and I relied on the pre-packaged boxes of mix a lot of the time when I lived in Los Angeles to whip up gluten free chocolate chip cookies or a gluten free muffin. I know... cheater. Such a cheater!
Five years ago when I moved to Wellington, this was not an option, at least not with what I could find at that time. So I went out and we bought all the gluten free flours: White rice flour, brown rice flour, lentil flour, tapioca starch, baking mixes - with xanthan gum and without. Then, we went in the kitchen and we played making biscuits, scones, breads and more. Lucky for me, I got a man who LOVES the kitchen as much as I do! We had a lot of experiments over the years, but this latest one is my favorite by far: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.
This is an ode to the specialty cookie stores in the USA, it's for the person who wants a cookie, that has the consistency of a brownie but feels like cake (I kid you not, these are THAT amazing). I used only chocolate chips in this batch, but you can go for it and add walnuts or pecans, or switch up and mix in peanut butter chips and decorate with a peanut butter and chocolate frosting. I can also see these going down well as the base of an ice cream cake (I kid you not). I have big plans for this recipe! But, there was ONE major issue.
I ate the whole pan after I made them.
Okay, that's a good problem to have, cause it means these cookie bars are yummy, unless you're me and your jeans are tighter now for it. I digress...let's get you that recipe. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free flour
2 tsps Xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Farenheit). Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. You can use an electric mixer or I melted my butter for 45 seconds in the microwave then creamed it with the sugar using a fork.
Scrape the sides of your mixing bowl, then add vanilla and egg, blending well.
Add your flour, xanthum gum, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips.
Note: at this point the batter could be a bit tacky, but that's okay.
Spread the batter into your prepared 9x13-inch pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. ***I started to check them at 20 minutes, then kept an eye on them, testing the batter for the next 10 minutes. This could vary by oven, so make sure to keep an eye on it the first time.
When done, cool cookie bars in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Then move the bars, still lined in the parchment paper, to a cooling rack.
It's best to slice them while they're still warm, since these babies firm up as they cool, but if you don't get a chance to right away, no worry.
To store them, keep them in an airtight container at room temp, or in the fridge if you desire. You can also freeze them, which I'm about to do with my next batch. Great to have on hand if someone stops by. Talk about looking like a domestic goddess if you whip these out with a cup of coffee!
Enjoy - I know I did!