First- thank you all for your kind and compassionate wishes for a speedy recovery from emergency hip surgery. Such fabulous readers you are- every one of you. As our Italian friend, Sandra, once said to us- in her dead gorgeous Tuscan accent-
I love you too much!
I feel human again. Yesterday (day nine post-surgery) this sticky, prickly goddess got to sit inside the shower (they make these nifty portable shower seats now) and- Aphrodite-blessed relief!- indulge in twenty sexy minutes of hot steamy bliss. Hawaiian shampoo. Rainbath lather. Leg shaving!
One lesson a broken hip teaches you? It's the little things in life that count. The simple luxury of taking a shower shoots to gold star status- the genuine, beyond spectacular highlight of the day. Pulling on a soft clean shirt? Heaven. Sitting upright, freshly shampooed and moisturized with Eternity lotion? Divine. Twirling pasta in olive oil and garlic- in bed- next to your husband? It doesn't get any better than this.
And then there are chocolate chip cookies (that are egg-free and dairy-free- earning them treasured vegan status). They also happen to be gluten-free, wheat-free, bean-free, soy-free and nut-free. Perfect for all those cute-as-a-button multi-allergic tykes out there. Not to mention, gluten-free vegan goddesses.
Last night Steve helped me make these as cookie bars, in the style of my old tried and true favorite chocolate chip cookie bar recipe- and, Babycakes, they were a damn good match. I named them Vanilla Brownies. My trick was a small cheat. A dab of butter flavor extract. I don't usually turn to artificial flavors (in fact, this is a first for me), but when you are allergic to most natural flavors and buckets of other foods and your taste buds crave a buttery sweet treat, this decidedly un-foodie goddess figures--- Why the Hades not? But if it horrifies you to use it, Darling Reader- and just the very thought of it keeps you up at night worrying about the integrity of the cookie universe- leave it out. It's one quarter of a teaspoon. Sub it with vanilla. Do your thing.
It's all good.
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Vanilla
Brownies Blondies - A Recipe That Swings Both Ways
I use a combo of sorghum and buckwheat in my current flour mix. Feel free to substitute your own favorite flour blend. More starchy blends may effect the texture, however. * See notes.
3/4 cup sorghum flour or GF buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour- or millet flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca or corn starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup organic coconut oil or Spectrum Organic Shortening
1 1/4 cups organic light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or honey
5-6 tablespoons vanilla non-dairy milk- as needed
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 tablespoons warm water till frothy
1 10-oz bag of dairy-free dark chocolate chips
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients into the dry mix and stir till well combined. If the dough is way too stiff, add one tablespoon of rice milk at a time to soften. I ended up using 6 tablespoons of rice milk- but it is dry here in the high desert. Add a spoon at a time until the dough holds together- it should be sturdy and glossy.
Add the dairy-free chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
Chill the dough for at least an hour before baking the cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
To Make Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Form the dough into 18 medium- or 36 petite- balls, rolling the dough between your palms. Place the dough balls onto a large baking sheet (non-stick, or lined with parchment paper) with enough breathing room to spread a couple of inches. Flatten the balls gently, slightly with your fingers or the back of a spoon- but not too much, or the cookies may spread into flat pancakes.
Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or so, depending on the size- until the cookies puff, crack and are firm to a light touch. Cool a minute or two before removing them with a thin spatula to a wire cooling rack.
To Make Vanilla Brownies:
Plop the dough (recipe above) into a 9x13-inch baking pan lined with greased foil, and spread the dough evenly. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch and a wooden pick inserted into the brownies emerges clean.
Makes 18 generous brownies.
A note on gluten-free flour blends- My basic all-purpose gluten-free flour mix is a specific blend due to multiple allergies (no almond, bean or soy flours). After experimenting with the remaining gluten-free flours I could use, this is the mix I like best: for two cups flour, I use a cup of sorghum with half a cup each of buckwheat,
For crisper cookies use more potato starch, less millet and buckwheat flour.
Dear Readers, if you'd prefer to use eggs and dairy in a cookie bar recipe, try my distinctly delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares recipe.