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The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These classic thick & chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookies set the standard for everything a cookie should be. They’re easy drop cookies, ready in a flash any time at all. 

Stack of thick & chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookies, with one broken open on top.

What makes these “the best” gluten free chocolate chip cookies

It’s entirely possible that you already have a recipe for classic gluten free chocolate chip cookies that you think is straight-up the best. But I’m here to tell you, these are better. 😳

This recipe is a version of the thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies that I was small-f famous for long before I started baking gluten free for my son (and you) in 2004. In fact, I’d been making them for years before that. 

They still brown. They hold the same glorious shape. They’re thick, and they are chewy. They are ever so slightly crisp on the very edges and the bottom, but just enough that they are ridiculously satisfying to bite into. 🍪

There are plenty of other cookie recipes (even other chocolate chip cookie recipes) here on the blog. Some crispy, some chewy. Some thin, others thick. But this is the super simple chocolate chip drop cookie recipe that is simply perfect for so many occasions…

A classic thick and chewy delight, these gluten free chocolate chip cookies set the standard for everything a cookie should be. And they're easy drop cookies, ready in a flash! https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/thick-chewy-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies/

If you’re new to baking, gluten free or not, start here

They’re perfect when you’re just starting out on a gluten free diet, and you want to bake something simple that you absolutely know will be a success. I always recommend starting out with a drop cookie recipe—this recipe to be exact.

I have made them countless times for a roomful of gluten-eaters. They’re still the first dessert to disappear at a dinner party, and that is just, well, fun. 

This is the recipe you memorize

These cookies are so easy, use such basic ingredients, and the recipe is very easy to memorize. The first few times, you’ll want to double check to make sure you’re remembering everything right. 

But remember that all standard drop cookies have flour, baking soda, and salt. Next up are granulated and brown sugars (here, they’re in equal amounts, 3/4 cup each), then butter (1 single stick, at room temperature), eggs (2) and vanilla (1 tablespoon, but a bit more or less won’t affect the result noticeably). 

Raw thick & chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookies on a baking tray, ready to go in the oven.

You can freeze the raw dough and bake as needed

Both the shaped dough and the cookies themselves freeze perfectly. I almost always have a batch of the cookies themselves, and a batch of the cookie dough disks in my freezer. 

You can bake them right from frozen, but if you plan to do that, I recommend pressing the raw disks of cookie dough flatter, since they’ll spread less if you bake them from frozen. You’ll also need to add another minute or two to the baking time.

The cookie dough doesn’t have to be chilled a lot

If your cookie dough is at room temperature to begin with, you will only need to chill the shaped dough for a few minutes before baking. It will maintain its shape during baking, crackling a bit toward the end of baking.

If you live in a hot and/or humid climate, chilling the shaped cookie dough becomes more important. The best way to know how important chilling the dough will be is if your “room temperature” butter is nearly liquified.

If you press your finger lightly into the butter and it leaves a shallow impression, your butter is at perfect room temperature. If the butter barely resists your touch, your butter is too soft. Your cookie dough may end up a bit greasy, so be sure you’re mixing it a bit extra (ideally in a stand mixer) and then chilling it until firm after shaping.

How many chips should you put in your chocolate chip cookies?

You’ll notice that there is actually a range of chocolate chips that you can add to this recipe. You begin with 12 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips, and you can add up to another 4 ounces for a total of 16 ounces, or 1 full pound.

It’s really a matter of personal taste (how many chips are you hoping for in each and every bite?). If you add more than about 14 ounces of chips, the less the cookies will keep their perfect shape during baking. 

A classic thick and chewy delight, these gluten free chocolate chip cookies set the standard for everything a cookie should be. And they're easy drop cookies, ready in a flash! https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/thick-chewy-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: I have successfully made this recipe with Spectrum healthy vegetable shortening (aff. link) in place of butter, and they come out beautifully. They don’t brown as much in the oven, but they’re still crisp on the edges. 

You can also try using Melt or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter. Those are generally my favorite butter substitutes for baking.

Eggs: You can try replacing the two eggs in this recipe with a “chia egg” each (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). These are such simple cookies that the texture may not be the same when you make such an important substitution, but it’s definitely worth trying.

Sugars: These are not healthy cookies. They’re chocolate chip cookies, meant to have all the good stuff: butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla. If you would like to try them with a sugar substitute, I recommend Lankato brand monk fruit granulated sugar replacement for the granulated sugar, and their “golden” variety as a replacement for the brown sugar.

Those sugar alternatives do tend to be drying, though, so you may need to add water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to achieve the proper cookie dough consistency. Watch the video carefully before trying the swap.

A classic thick and chewy delight, these gluten free chocolate chip cookies set the standard for everything a cookie should be.
 

These classic thick & chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookies set the standard for everything a cookie should be. They're easy drop cookies, ready in a flash any time at all. 

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 21 to 24 cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (315 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I use Better Batter, but my Better Than Cup4Cup blend works well, too)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already contains it)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

3/4 cup (164 g) packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

12 to 16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, and whisk again to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until well-combined. You can use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to make quick work of it. Add 12 ounces of chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough. The cookie dough will be thick but not stiff. Add more chocolate chips if you like, and mix thoroughly.

  • Divide the cookie dough into 21 portions (or 24 if you’ve used all 16 ounces of chips), and roll each tightly into a ball about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (and about 50 grams each). Press each of the balls of dough into a disk about 1/2-inch thick and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. As you’re rolling the dough, add a few more chocolate chips to each ball, if desired, and roll them into the dough. To ensure the thickest cookies, place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes, or until the dough is cold.

  • Remove the chilled dough from the freezer and place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges, light golden brown all over and set in the center (about 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes or until firm before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Recipe first published on the blog in 2009. Updated in 2016, then 2020.

Love,
Nicole

Gluten Free Pop Tarts

Gluten Free Pop Tarts

These brown sugar and cinnamon frosted gluten free pop tarts are just like the “real” thing. Fill them with jam, nut butter, or a bit of Nutella to make them your family’s favorite!

These brown sugar and cinnamon frosted gluten free pop tarts are just like the "real" thing.

Do you have memories of Pop Tarts for breakfast?

Pop Tarts were the breakfast of champions in the 1980’s. I don’t remember ever having anything else before school, latchkey kid that I was. And it seemed like such a good idea, too. Until an hour later when I was hungry again. Then, not such a good idea.

But I’d do it again the next day. We had a seemingly endless supply of them. I took that to mean that I was doing what I was meant to do by eating them every morning.

Filling options

Everyone has a favorite kind. Frosting or not. Jam filling or brown sugar and cinnamon (the latter for me, thanks).

You can use 1 tablespoon of your favorite type of seedless jam in the center of each of these, instead of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. It should not leak, as long as you resist the urge to add too much. Same goes with Nutella or even a dab of peanut butter.

If you’re willing, you can make the same filling as we used for our gluten free apple slab pie, dice the apples a bit smaller, and use that filling here. At that point, though, you might as well make our McDonald’s style handheld apple pies, though. Those are a true indulgence!

Shaped, raw gluten free pop tarts with a brown sugar and cinnamon filling, on the baking tray ready to bake.

These homemade pop tarts are different from most

You can make toaster pastries with a basic gluten free pastry crust. In fact, if you search for homemade pop tarts recipes, that’s mostly what you’ll find. 

But if you want them to taste like the Pop Tarts you remember, you’ll need a different crust recipe. In this recipe for gluten free pop tarts, the butter is melted, not cold like in traditional pastry.

The crust doesn’t puff like pastry. Instead, it flakes, more like shortbread, but the crust isn’t as fragile as shortbread cookies. And it’s made with an egg, more like butter cookies.

Just-baked gluten free pop tarts that haven't yet been glazed.

How to store and refresh these gluten free pop tarts

The finished pastries can be stored in a sealed glass container at room temperature and should maintain their texture for at least 3 days. Storing something in a glass container maintains texture, although a plastic container tends to make anything crispy become soft and weepy. 

For longer storage, try piling the prepared pastries in a freezer-safe container (a rectangular container that is at least 5-inches tall is ideal). There’s no need to freeze them first in a single layer, as they’re very stable at room temperature. Once the glaze is completely set, it shouldn’t be damaged in storing them.

To refresh them, do just what you do with a Kellogg’s Pop Tart: pop it in the toaster oven! There’s no need to defrost the pastries if they’ve been frozen. But remember that, if they’re frosted, that part gets super hot so be careful with those fingers!

Three brown sugar and cinnamon gluten free pop tarts, one with a bite taken because someone couldn't wait.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: The butter in the crust is the essential dairy in this recipe, and what you’ll struggle to replace perfectly. I would try Melt brand or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter, or butter flavored Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. The milk can be your favorite nondairy milk, or even water. 

Egg: There is only one egg in this recipe, but it really helps stabilize and add richness to the pastries. You can try replacing it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). 

Corn: The cornstarch in this recipe can easily be replaced with arrowroot, tapioca starch/flour, or even potato starch. If you’re using a higher starch blend like Cup4Cup, replace the cornstarch, by weight, with more Cup4Cup. 

Sugar: These are not “lightly sweet” breakfast cookies, like our oatmeal breakfast cookies. When I give them to my children, I do not kid myself that they’re “healthy.” There is plenty of sugar in the dough, and the filling. 

If you’re really motivated, the crust might work with a granulated sugar replacement (I like Lankato brand monkfruit granulated sugar replacement), but those tend to be drying so you’ll almost certainly need more moisture. The risk is that the dough will be tough, since sugar is a tenderizer. 

Image of brown sugar and cinnamon and jam-filled gluten free pop tarts, with some bites taken.

 

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 pastries

Ingredients

For the crust
2 1/4 cups (315 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature, plus more by the half-teaspoonful as necessary

For the filling
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon (9 g) cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons lukewarm water, plus more by the half-teaspoonful as necessary

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter, vanilla, beaten egg, and 1/4 cup milk and mix to combine. The dough will be thick. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth, adding more milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together. Divide the dough into two equal parts and work with one at a time, covering the other with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent it from drying out. Place the first piece of dough on a lightly floured surface and dust lightly with more flour to prevent it from sticking. Roll out the dough about 1/4-inch thick, moving the dough frequently and sprinkling it with more flour as necessary. Slice it into rectangles approximately 3-inches x 4-inches. Reroll each rectangle a bit more until it’s a bit less than 1/4-inch thick. Gather and reroll scraps, and repeat with the other half of the dough. There should be at least 24 rectangles in total. If you have fewer, try for at least an even number of rectangles because you’ll be pairing them.

  • Prepare the filling by placing all of the filling ingredients in a small bowl and mixing them to combine well. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of of half of the rectangles of dough and spread it into an even layer, leaving about a 1/2-inch border clean on all sides. Cover the filling on each rectangle with a matching rectangle, and press all around the clean edge to seal. Trim any unmatched or jagged edges. Place the pastries about 2-inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Dock the pastries by piercing them all over the top with a toothpick or the tines of a fork. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the pastries are very lightly golden brown on the edges and set in the center, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the pastries to cool completely.

  • When the pastries are nearly cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and ground cinnamon, and mix to combine well. Add the 2 teaspoonful of water and mix until combined into a thick paste. Add more water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to create a thickly pourable glaze. Spread the glaze generously on top of each cooled pastry. Allow to set completely at room temperature.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Recipe revised somewhat, all photos, video and most text new.

Love,
Nicole

Easy Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls | “2 Ingredient” Dough

Easy Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls | “2 Ingredient” Dough

The “2 ingredient” bread dough made famous by Weight Watchers is a shortcut way to make easy gluten free cinnamon rolls that taste like the yeasted kind and make any morning special.

The tender inside of an easy gluten free cinnamon roll, plated.

Gluten free breakfast on the go

I have a long-abiding love for gluten free breakfast ideas, especially ones that you can grab and take on the go. But I’ve been stocking my freezer for busy mornings for so long that I had begun to take it for granted and not think it was anything special. Until recently…

This past holiday season, my family and I spent a beautiful week at an all-inclusive Caribbean resort. We knew ahead of time that they were able to accommodate my gluten free son’s diet, but we weren’t prepared for how limited his options would be—and how poor the quality would be.

I guess we should have just been grateful that they could feed him safely at all, but I had thought we were beyond that. He struggled quite a bit with watching everyone else eat at least a variety—including baked goods for every meal. 

I guess I was reminded all over again that our gluten free food should be at least as good as the conventional food, if not better. And variety is also really important, because it makes you feel cared for and nourished. I’m grateful to be able to do that for my son, and hopeful that the rest of the world will catch up so when he leaves the nest, he always feels “normal.”

How to shape easy gluten free cinnamon rolls into a log that is ready to be sliced into 6 pieces.

How to make these cinnamon rolls sugar-free

The dough for these 30-minute gluten free cinnamon rolls is based upon the “2 ingredient” Weight Watchers bread dough, the one we first used to make gluten free bagels. It’s referred to as “2 ingredient” dough because the original recipe is made with self-rising all purpose flour and plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt.

We’ve done enough variations on that dough that there’s even a “Weight Watchers-friendly” category on this blog. I use the concept for that dough every single week in my house, to make practically everything. The tang of the plain yogurt mimics the flavor of yeast development at a fraction of the bother and time of yeasted rolls.

But this recipe is not designed to be quite as WW-friendly, since it has added flour to make the dough stiffer, and, more importantly, a brown sugar and cinnamon filling. But you can most definitely make these cinnamon rolls with a sugar replacement.

My favorite granulated sugar replacement is Lankato monk fruit granulated sugar replacement, and I think it would work beautifully here. You don’t really need to bother with a brown sugar replacement, as the cinnamon is the dominant flavor here in the filling.

Raw, shaped easy gluten free cinnamon rolls on a baking tray, ready for the oven.

Use a light touch

When making this bread dough, as when making any gluten free bread dough at all, it’s best to have a light touch especially when adding additional flour for shaping. It is a rather forgiving dough, but this particular recipe already has more flour than usual.

Whenever you add extra flour, you lower the hydration ratio of the dough, which can lead to tougher bread. That’s especially true when you’re making a fat-free bread dough like this one. 

Since this dough works best when all of the ingredients, and therefore the dough, are quite cold, you should find that you don’t need a significant amount of additional flour to shape it. Try sprinkling a very small amount of additional flour sparingly but widely, rubbing it between your thumb and forefinger as you move your hand over the dough. 

Easy gluten free cinnamon rolls placed on baking tray, just out of the oven.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: I haven’t tried this exact recipe with plain nondairy yogurt, such as So Delicious brand, but I have tried that substitution on our Weight Watchers Gluten Free bagel recipe and was successful. Please click through to that post for all the information I have about making these sort of recipes with nondairy (non-Greek-style) plain yogurt.

Eggs: The full egg in this recipe adds richness and tenderness to the dough. If you can’t have eggs, it can be replaced.

You can try replacing it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). I would also replace 1 tablespoon of the Greek-style yogurt with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, though, to replace some of the richness of the egg white.

Corn: The cornstarch in the filling helps keep it from leaking out of the rolls during baking. You can easily replace it with an all purpose gluten free flour or any other sort of gluten free starch you can imagine. 

Shortening: The small amount of shortening that is spread in a thin layer over the top of the rectangle of dough is there to help the filling stick to the dough. The low moisture content of shortening helps prevent the filling from leaking out during baking. You can try replacing it with virgin coconut oil.

Sugar: Please see the full discussion above about the brown sugar in the filling of these easy gluten free cinnamon rolls.

Plated easy gluten free cinnamon rolls made without yeast but tasting just like they did.

 

The "2 ingredient" bread dough made famous by Weight Watchers is a shortcut way to make easy gluten free cinnamon rolls that taste like the yeasted kind and make any morning special.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 6 rolls

Ingredients

For the rolls
1 1/4 cups (175 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (245 g) nonfat Greek-stye plain yogurt, chilled

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, beaten)

For the filling
1 tablespoon (12 g) nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening

1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon (9 g) cornstarch

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • To make the dough for the rolls, in a large mixing bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the yogurt, egg, and vanilla, and mix until the dough begins to hold together. Knead the dough with clean hands to bring together fully. A shortcut way to do this is in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, but it’s not essential.

  • Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead it with clean hands until it’s a bit smoother. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10-inch square, sprinkling lightly with flour as necessary, and moving the dough frequently to prevent it from sticking on either side.

  • Add the filling. Using a small offset spatula or butter knife, spread the shortening in an even layer thinly over the top of the dough, leaving 1/2-inch clean all around the perimeter of the square. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch, and sprinkle evenly on top of the shortening, also leaving the same clean border.

  • Starting at a one side of the square, roll the dough tightly into a coil, pressing it gently as you go. Using a piece of unwaxed dental floss or thread or a very sharp knife, cut the coil by cross-section into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart. With well-floured fingers, apply even pressure to the top of each roll to compress each coil about 1/3 of the way down. Brush the tops and sides with the egg wash. If you’ve worked quickly, the rolls should still be cold to the touch. If not, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until cold to the touch.

  • Remove the baking sheet with the rolls from the refrigerator and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the rolls are lightly golden brown on the edges and have swelled in size. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool briefly before serving. Any leftover rolls can be cooled completely, frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, and stored in the freezer. Refresh briefly in a microwave oven.

Love,
Nicole

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