Gluten Free Product Review: GlutenFreeda’s Premade Frozen Cookie Dough and GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
‘Tis the season… For Gluten-Free Cookies!
This may not have come out before. Actually, I have a deep, dark secret. A deep, dark COOKIE secret. I know I’ve said repeatedly that I’m not a sweets girl. Oh, I’ll flirt with fruit crepes, and make the odd brownie or cake, or pie… but really, my heart is in the savory. Most people can’t resist just one more slice of cake… but me, I can’t resist just one more helping of that perfect vegetarian fried rice, or another bite of the noodles in peanut sauce. Savory things are just so delicious… so satisfying… so good for you. (Usually. One might hope.) But… next to a piece of perfect, high quality, dark chocolate (drool)… I do have one other weakness, on the sweet side of things. Maybe it was from watching my great-aunt bake enormous batches of chocolate chip cookies and pile them on the counter and having the smell fill the house. Maybe it’s the texture- crunchy buttery melty goodness all combined in one food. I am quite into texture in my food, after all. But whatever it is… I love me a big plate of just out of the oven cookies. I’m not sophisticated about it, not gourmet. Oh, I’ve tried macademia nut white chocolate cookies, a la Bette Hagman… I’ve toyed with cookie cutters and ridiculously buttery shortbread cookies… But when it comes down to it, for me the perfect cookie is much more pedestrian. Let’s say… a chocolate chip cookie, made from the back of the tollhouse chocolate chip bag. I hear you gasping in shock. Can that be made gluten-free? Yes. Yes, it can, and it turns out pretty darned well. (Tips on making the perfect gluten-free homemade cookie from scratch to follow.) But what if you don’t feel like making cookies? Sometimes don’t you just wish it was as easy as popping open a container of frozen cookie dough, tossing them on a baking sheet and putting them in the oven? Well, I have a surprise for you- GlutenFreeda has actually come out with a line of gluten-free frozen cookie dough! These cookies are packaged in a tall plastic tub, and separated into perfect little unbaked cookie morsels. You preheat your oven to 325 and bake these babies for 20 minutes or so and have the fastest fresh-from-the-oven cookie experience ever. I almost crashed my shopping cart into another shopper when I saw the gluten-free frozen cookie tubs at my local Whole Foods. Luckily she jumped out of the way of my cart of doom just in the nick of time. Then I dove into the freezer case, pulling out one tub after another of a total of FOUR different flavors. Usually this kind of thing is prohibitively expensive. They weren’t exactly CHEAP, but Whole Foods was having a sale. And, you know, I have a blog, so in a way I have a social responsibility (cough, cough) to try this sort of thing. Right? Right? If I don’t try these things and report on them, well… um… bad things could happen. Right? Ok, maybe the last is a stretch. But, somehow or other I ended up with three of the four flavors coming home with me in my basket. Flavors include Chip Chip Hooray, a typical chocolate chip cookie, Peanut Envy, a peanut butter cookie (duh), Chocolate Minty Python, a chocolate chip MINT chocolate cookie (sign me up), and Peanut, Paul, and Mary, a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. You might have noticed, they’re kind of into chocolate chips. I think me and them are going to get along just fine. Anyway, I took home everything except the plain peanut butter cookie, figuring there’s no shortage of gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipes out there (even flourless). Besides, a cookie isn’t a cookie without chocolate chips, right? Just roll with me here.
I took them home, stuffed the tubs into my freezer, and attempted to forget about them. Actually, I did forget about them a little more effectively than I intended. Then one day I opened my freezer after a long day of classes, saw “Peanut, Paul, and Mary” staring back at me (it was! I swear!), and decided to bake up a batch of cookies on the spot. That night I tried a few cookies of one variety, on another night I tried a few of a different variety… and then I had an epiphany. One of the amazing perks of frozen cookie dough that is stored in a sealed container is that you don’t have to limit yourself to ONE VARIETY OF FRESH BAKED COOKIE. Out came the cookie sheet. I made nine cookies, three of each variety, and swaggered over to DH with a plate of cookies. “Would you like some?” I asked. Not one to turn down a cookie, he took the whole plate. After wrestling it back, we evaluated the cookies.
Our estimation? First the aesthetics. These cookies bake pretty well. The flourless peanut butter cookies spread out the least and resulted in the smallest cookie, and was a bit more prone to cracking than the others. The plain chocolate chip cookies spread out nicely and evenly on the cookie sheet, and had good texture and flavor. They weren’t quite as good, in our humble opinion, as the cookies we make from scratch, but they were very tasty, respectable cookies. (Yes, a gluten-free cookie can be respectable, just as much as it can be NOT respectable and an impostor to the throne of cookie-dom.) My hands down favorite was the Chocolate Minty Python. This was a chewy, yummy cookie like no cookie I’d ever dared to make myself, with the richness of chocolate married to the seduction of turn-down-your-pillow mint. Perfect texture. Perfect flavor. And, dare I say, one of the most interesting, yummy cookies I’ve ever had? Too strong? Well, let me temper it by saying DH, who is blatantly opposed to the marrying of chocolate and mint and puts his food down every time I suggest getting a carton of green mint and chocolate chip ice cream (the big meanie), did not care for this cookie. But then, he doesn’t even like Rebecca Reilly’s obscenely tasty mint chocolate bar recipe, which completely befuddles me. Oh well, more for me. The non-peanut cookies all have a base of Rice flour, potato starch, and corn starch. All batches would work well for those who don’t tolerate bean flour. All the cookies are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, so there shouldn’t be any of those pesky CC concerns. So, I would have to say that these cookies offer a great new way for gluten-free cookie monsters to get their fix. I would give the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie a 5/10, the regluar chocolate chip cookie a 7/10 and the Chocolate mint cookie an 8/10. Just don’t look at the calories- one disadvantage to buying premade cookie dough instead of making your own is they actually have to tell you the calorie per cookie. *gulp* On the other hand, it makes it easier to make “just a few” cookies rather than a whole gluttonous batch, so I suppose it all balances out. Wondering if you can get them in your area? Here’s a list of retail locations
But what if you don’t want to buy a (slightly-pricey) container of frozen cookies and want to make your own? Like I said, we follow the recipe on the Tollhouse chocolate chip bag, substituting Bette Hagman’s gourmet blend (white rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch) with good results, never adding xanthan gum, but adding a little extra flour and have pretty good results. Because there are only two of us cookie chompers in our household, we usually mix up a whole recipe and then freeze half of the uncooked, unshaped dough in a freezer ziploc bag for later use. We find the frozen cookies turn out even better than the fresh made ones, but who can resist baking cookies after mixing up all that sugar, flour, vanilla and chocolate chips? Not us. But how can you make the perfect gluten-free chocolate chip cookie? I perused some gluten cookie sites to see what tips the experts had. Funny thing- flat cookies aren’t just a problem for the gluten-free baker!
Here are some tips I found online as well as our own tips based on years of cookie addiction:
1) Shortening may be preferable to butter because it has a higher melting point and spreads less. (Noted, but I prefer a tasty margarine or butter to shortening- and who would want to lick a spoon of a recipe made with shortening?)
2) Refrigerate or freeze your dough (especially if using low-fat margarine) before baking- this will also prevent them from spreading out too much when they bake.
3) The first batch was too liquidy and resulted in flat cookies? Don’t despair- just add more flour!
4) Don’t overcream your butter and sugar. Three minutes should be the maximum amount of time.
5) Don’t use dark or insulated cookie sheets. The cookie can brown too quickly.
6) Remove the cookie from the cookie sheet after it has partially cooled but not completely. You don’t want it to reach the cool, excessively crispy stage (if you bake your cookies “well done) before you remove it from the pan or they may break or crumble. Use a sharp edged, metal spatula. Also good for defending your cookies from cookie monsters that want to steal YOUR cookies.
Here’s the transcript of Alton Brown’s Good Eats Episode on Chocolate Chip Cookies, for any additional tips.
We swear by the Tollhouse recipe at our house, but lately there have been a rush of bold and daring bakers experimenting with gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipes.
When good eats turn gluten-free. Try this recipe created by the master of practical baking, Alton Brown
Land O’Lakes Butter uses their powers for good in this Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Gluten-Free-By-the-Bay’s Recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies with Almond Flour
Gluten Free Girl’s Sinfully Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe with whole grain GF flours
Karina’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Square Recipe
You know, I love me my Tollhouse cookie recipe- but after looking closely at all these amazing options- I have to say that I am starting to wonder if I shouldn’t branch out and, um, test these cookies out. Just for, you know, research. Ahem. So, before I run out to the store for a pound of chocolate chips, please save me from my inner cookie monster and try some of these recipes and tell me about them. I know it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to… And they all sound so amazing!
Have your own favorite cookie recipe or other opinions on GlutenFreeda’s frozen gluten-free cookie dough? Share in the comments!