Gluten. The enemy of many a person's body. The cause of so much almond flour. What is taking the blame for so many ailments. What is causing me to google xanthan gum.
I won't pretend that I completely understand this sudden craze to go all GF, but I do know that in the midst of it, there are some people who seriously can't eat it. At least, not without major consequences. This article does a pretty good job of explaining the craze, if you're curious.
Regardless of what the deal is, it's a real thing for many a person. I feel for celiacs.
Remember when my sister was filming over the summer? Well, right now it's the week of winter filming. Two members of the cast are gluten-free. So, rather than resorting to my famous gluten-packed desserts, I've been dipping my toes into the gluten-less waters.
You're going to be so sick of the word gluten by the time I'm done here. Sorry.
Finding/developing recipes that are easy on celiac bellies but are also desirable to all taste buds actually hasn't been that hard.
For one thing, one of the easiest kinds of dessert to do gluten-free are those made up of gooey chocolate. Brownies, for instance. Or flourless chocolate cake, which was famous even before the boycotting of flour.
And then, cookies.
For me, my first glance of these cookies bring to mind the rather hard, crinkle-y, nutty chocolate cookies my grandma used to make. They were among the stash of Christmas cookies that was present at seasonal family gatherings. I'll admit that I tended to pass them by more often than not.
Why? I dunno. I was child of particular tastes. Heck, I wouldn't even consume soup, of any kind. And the more I saw them, the more they seemed to get just plain boring. Year after year of those crinkle cookies, their chocolate-y crevices peeking out of the powdered sugar coating (which, incidentally, gets fricken everywhere.).
And the older my grandma got, the harder her cookies became.
When I came across these a few weeks ago, I mindlessly pinned them to my gluten-free board, just for future reference. When a gluten-free dessert was suddenly needed, I decided to give them a whirl. Upon looking further at the post, I realized the insides of these cookies were unlike that of any chocolate crinkle I'd ever encountered.
Fudge-y, soft, bursting with gooey molten goodness.
The pictures were great, but they were nothing compared to the experience of actually biting into these. You pick up a pretty solid and deceivingly hard cookie. The powdered sugar sweetens up your palate, there's the slight crunch of the crinkled crust as you bite, and then, somehow, that fudge-y brownie-like sensation is there.
I loved my grandma, and pretty much all of her desserts, but these were a total revelation. Gluten intolerant or not, they're bound to be a hit.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Fudge Crinkle Cookies
Yield: about 18 cookies
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (any sweetness you desire), divided
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Fill a pot with a couple inches of water and maintain at a gentle simmer. Place a medium heat-proof bowl over the simmering water (be sure it isn't in direct contact with the water) and add 1 cup of the chocolate chips and the espresso powder, if using. Stir occasionally until melted. Remove bowl from pot and let cool slightly. (Alternatively, you can also just heat the chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave on a lower power. I just prefer the double boiler method.)
With an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they are foamy and hold soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Continue beating until the mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme and holds peaks.
In a medium bowl, whisk together another 1 cup of powdered sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the meringue on low speed and mix until combined. Beat in the melted chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips until thoroughly combined. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes. It becomes more stiff and easier to work with if you let it rest.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl. Roll rounded tablespoons of the dough in the sugar and coat thickly. Place on prepared cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Bake until they are puffed, the tops are cracked, and the edges are just starting to firm up, about 10-14 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sources: adapted from Yammie's Glutenfreedom, who adapted from Bakerita, who adapted from Divine Baking, originally from Epicurious