Some might argue that chocolate chip cookies are all about the chocolate. But I think the cookie base plays an even more important role. Chocolate chip cookie cookies should be buttery, crumbly, and tender, with crisp, faintly caramelized edges and moist, chewy centers. Is it possible for a cookie to be all that and gluten-free? This week I tested out Bouchon's Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies made with Thomas Keller's new Cup4Cup gluten-free flour.
Last week I reviewed Thomas Keller's gluten-free brownie mix, which I thought was terrific. I found the brownies to be dense, gooey, and insanely chocolaty. I was curious to see if the cookie mix would be equally delicious. At $19.95, it certainly was equally expensive.
The box contained three separate packages: one of brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla; one of gluten-free flour; and one of chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. Preparing the mix was not unlike making cookies from scratch. First I creamed the butter and sugar, then I added an egg, then I beat in the flour mix, and finally I stirred in the chocolate chips. Basically the mix saved me from having to measure anything, and from having to purchase numerous specialty gluten-free ingredients like tapioca flour and xanthan gum.
Once the dough had chilled for 30 minutes, I divided it into 12 large balls and spaced them out between two cookie sheets. After baking for exactly 18 minutes, my cookies had spread into thin, record-sized discs with crispy, golden-brown edges and big, lumpy pockets of chocolate. They looked as good as anything you would find at a bakery; the kind of cookie you would break apart and savor piece by piece.
What I liked best about these cookies was their tender-yet-crunchy texture and buttery flavor. The sugar cookie base was slightly salty and not too sweet, so it complemented the rich chocolate chunks nicely. They weren't heavy, granular, or chalky, as some gluten-free cookies can be.
My only caveat is that the cookies were exceedingly crumbly. Once they had cooled completely I layered them on a plate, and within a few hours many of them had broken apart. Obviously, they wouldn't travel well, but eaten warm, straight from the oven, they were pretty terrific and a worthy splurge for those who are gluten-intolerant.
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