These naturally gluten free chocolate chip cookies are made entirely with “regular” grocery store ingredients—and no rice flour at all. Perfect if you’re new to gluten free baking!
The power of (naturally) gluten free baking
Where we began
When I first started cooking and baking gluten free, it was 2004. There was very little information available, and even fewer products to buy.
I bought and studied all of the Bette Hagman cookbooks, and I will forever be grateful for her pioneering work. Most baking I did during that time would not pass the “just plain good, not good for gluten free” taste test, but I was overjoyed to be able to take some control of feeding my newly gluten free son at least a variety of food—including cupcakes.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then. The gluten free baking that we do these days is much, much better and my standards are as high as can be. “Good, for gluten free” is just pitiful to me now. In fact, I hear it as a rallying cry!
Where we are now
These days, you can bake literally anything at all gluten free that can be made with gluten, and it can be as good as if not better than what you remember. That’s a promise I make to you every day, in everything I do.
But that sort of gluten free baking almost always requires a really high-quality all purpose gluten free flour blend that is based on superfine white rice flour. Since most of the gluten free flour blends that are on grocery store shelves aren’t properly balanced, you end up having to order component flours or a blend that I recommend online before you can get started.
I remember the feeling of dying to get started baking something, and not wanting to wait for ingredients to arrive by mail. ?That was my motivation for developing the 20 or so flourless baking recipes here on the blog.
How to make these naturally gluten free cookies
Whether you’re new to gluten free baking, new to baking at all, or you just want a cookie and ran out of your GF flour blend, a drop cookie (where you just make the dough and bake it in rounded portions on a baking sheet) is the perfect baking project.
These cookies aren’t technically made “flourless” since they have cornstarch in them to lighten them a bit and help them crisp. Plus, we take certified gluten free old fashioned rolled oats and grind them into flour. You can, of course, buy gluten free oat flour that’s already ground, but you’d likely have to order that by mail—something I never do.
These days, Bob’s Red Mill certified gluten free old fashioned rolled oats are in almost every full-sized grocery store. It’s cheaper to buy less processed oats and just grind them, plus we’re making cookies that we want to be chewy so we don’t need the finest grind.
Like almost any chocolate chip cookie recipe, we place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them to combine. Then, we add the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, flavoring/extract) and mix. The chips go in last.
Since we are using a lot of oat flour and a fair amount of cornstarch, it’s really important to use a full tablespoon of flavoring/extracts for flavor. I’ve made these cookies with just vanilla extract, but I really love them the best with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of butter flavoring.
Be sure to chill the dough, and be careful not to overbake them. If you’ve been around for a bit, you’ll recognize this style cookie from another recent recipe for peanut butter oatmeal cookies. The same rules of baking those cookies apply to these.
Those cookies are also naturally gluten free, but with the strong (and delightful) flavor of peanut butter. These cookies are more like “regular” chocolate chip cookies—just naturally gluten free. They’re crispy outside and chewy inside. Let’s get baking!
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: In place of the butter, you can try using half (48 g) Earth Balance buttery sticks and half (48 g) Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. That combination of fats should create the right moisture balance. Be sure you’re using dairy-free chocolate chips.
Egg-free: You can try replacing each of the two eggs with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel), but the eggs really help to provide structure in this recipe so I’m not sure how egg replacements would work.
Corn-free: The cornstarch in this recipe can easily be replaced with arrowroot if you can’t have corn. Potato starch (not potato flour) should also work just fine.
Oats: Certified gluten free oats are safe on a gluten free diet. But if you’re avoiding oats, you should be able to use quinoa flakes in place of the oat flour. Please see my full discussion of how to replace oats in baking.
Naturally Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 3/4 cups (210 g) certified gluten free oat flour
1 cup (140 g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
7 tablespoons (96 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the oat flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and mix to combine, working out any lumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, eggs, and vanilla, and mix to combine. The dough will be very thick, but just keep mixing and it will come together. It helps to press the dough down with the underside of the spoon sometimes while mixing. Add the chocolate chips and mix until they’re evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough.
Divide the dough into pieces of about 1 1/2 tablespoons each, roll each tightly into a ball and then place about 1 1/2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Do not flatten the balls of dough at all. Chill the dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes or the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, until firm.
Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake just until the balls of dough have melted and spread and the cookies are brown around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Be careful not to overbake them. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet or until firm.