Yes, I’m finally going to share my dairy-free version of my Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies. Well, I’m going to share two gluten-free, dairy-free versions actually. But first, I’m going to talk about why I haven’t written a post in a while.
“The main thing in life is not to be afraid to be human.” ~ Pablo Casals
Pablo Casals was one of the greatest cellists of all time. I didn’t know that until I looked up this unattributed quote from my daily perpetual calendar. But it seems to me that cellists and any truly great musicians would always embrace being human and display that by the passion of their playing. Casals’ quote was displayed on my calendar on January 3, two days after we came home from our wonderful family vacation to Key West and discovered that our home had been burglarized. A side door that would not succumb to the thieves’ persistent tampering was instead kicked in. It was a steel door, but in a wooden door frame/jam, and as the saying goes doors and locks are for honest people. The door assembly eventually succumbed. One of our windows was also destroyed. Sadly, the truth is that the bad guys can always get in. Don’t think about that too much. Believe me … I know it’s disturbing. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer. Most of the time all is good and we don’t have to worry about such occurrences; thank goodness, and I know there are far, far worse things than being robbed. Yes, we lost “stuff” and valuable stuff, but we are all fine and our dog and cat are fine and for that we are grateful. This, too, shall pass.
I started my Home for the Holidays event a little late this year, but I had lots to share and planned to somehow throw all these posts together and get them published—reviews, giveaways, recipe roundups, etc.—but as Christmas and our planned vacation closed in, I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to spend time with my family without worrying about a schedule. And while I could have slapped a few posts together and put them up, you wouldn’t want to read those. (Really … you don’t want to read posts that I “phone” in.) I figured I’d get back to blogging towards the end of our vacation week. But that time came and went and I was still happy to be with my family without posting on my blog.
I did start checking in on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and kept up with posts on my new gluten-free desserts blog (All Gluten-Free Desserts … All the Time—love this blog where I can share all the best gluten-free desserts recipes of amazing bloggers!) and that was enough. I had come up with a revised plan for picking up where I’d left off and I was satisfied. I figured that once I got home, I’d pick up the blogging pace as well as share some special, end-of-the-year recaps and first-of-the year posts. But, of course, we were faced with the burglary and all that has entailed the moment we came home. And, over time, I’ve learned that I simply cannot blog when I’m upset about challenges in my personal life. I’m truly one who wears my heart on my sleeve and as talkative as I am here on gfe, I do not want to pour out all of my soul on my blog. There have to be some boundaries, and the boundaries don’t come into play just when something bad happens. For example, sometimes I plan on sharing a particular travel adventure or dinner outing here on gfe and then pull back from doing so. I will suddenly feel shy about sharing out special family times and want to hold them close to my heart. That doesn’t mean I won’t share such posts in the future. I absolutely plan on sharing many of them—most of them even—but sometimes I feel my world is too “open” and I want to, and sometimes do, pull back.
December 31 marked my 4th anniversary of blogging. I had intended to share some of what I’ve learned about blogging in a clear and mostly concise, but very celebratory, post and thank you for your readership. Right now, I just can’t write that post. I simply don’t have that same energy or the same enthusiasm as I did before. I’ll write it one day. Please don’t get me wrong. I am excited about my four years of blogging and I am extremely grateful to all of you. But for now, I’m just going to acknowledge that life happens and I am human and move on. The Home for the Holidays event is kaput for the year and the subjects of the remaining posts for that event will just morph into other posts as I see fit. Maybe my end of the year re-cap will come midyear. Sort of like some folks who have Christmas birthdays and choose to celebrate them in the summer as “1/2 birthdays” versus compete with all that is Christmas. And who knows a “best gfe recipes of 2012” post might be more appreciated in a few months …. or not … if I decide to do one. We shall see. Right now, I’m going to simply share a recipe, the one for my gluten-free, dairy-free Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies as I stated in my opening, and I’m okay with that. I hope you are, too.
As I’ve mentioned before, every holiday or celebration in our family requires my Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies. My original recipe was not only indulgent, but also contained dairy. I wanted to make a dairy-free version that Son and I would enjoy. Plus, I wanted to reduce the refined sugar some … not a huge amount, but some. I did both very successfully. Son had not been able to enjoy these cookies for several years and he and everyone else in the family (all those gluten-full folks!) have deemed the new and improved recipe the perfect mix of crispiness and chewiness and the right amount of brown sugar chocolate chip goodness. These cookies are still very indulgent as they use a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (which is white rice flour based) and beaucoup sweetener, so I’ll keep working on healthier variations in the future. Until then, I won’t mind that we enjoy these cookies several times a year—on Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Plus, I usually make them when we have some folks joining us for a summer camping trip. There’s always a small crowd at all of these events, all ready to ensure these indulgent treats are “well distributed, ” so no guilt is needed.
I’ve made this recipe dairy free two ways and both are noted in the recipe below. Each time, I’ve used some extra virgin olive oil as part of the equation because to me that provides the a rich flavor and mouth feel as pleasing as dairy ingredients, and I can achieve that with an ingredient I always have on hand. Per my gfe approach, I don’t rely on a lot of specialty products and I consider non-dairy butter to be a specialty product. I can’t get it at my basic grocery store and while it is available at the store in “town,” which is 30 minutes away, it’s also very expensive. I am very pleased with the non-dairy shortening alternatives I use in this recipe.
Finally, fingers crossed that 2013 will turn around for us Bradens and that this year will bring all of us—you and us—much happiness and prosperity. And I hope you enjoy these cookies!
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are chocolate chip cookies that have great chewiness and are heavy on the brown sugary taste!
- 2 eggs, ideally at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (see notes; some gluten-free flour mixes will NOT work in this recipe; I use my Two-Ingredient Flour Mix)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (omit if using gluten-free flour mix* that contains xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt (I use this sea salt)
- 1/3 cup palm shortening] and 1/3 cup [extra virgin olive oil (OR add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to 2/3 cup measure and then fill cup with coconut oil, liquefied)
- ¾ – 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the larger amount when using palm shortening and extra virgin olive oil and I use whatever chocolate chips I have on hand—regular size (I like these] and [these]), [minis, chunks)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets.
- Add eggs to large bowl. Beat slightly.
- Stir in brown sugar and coconut palm sugar until well combined and smooth. Add vanilla.
- In a separate bowl or very large measuring cup, sift together flour mix, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir flour mixture into egg-sugar mixture slowly until well combined.
- Add palm shortening and extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil); mix well.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Drop about 2 tbsp of batter for each cookie onto baking sheet two inches apart. (You must follow the spacing rule: these cookies spread a lot and as noted are a flat half chewy, half crisp cookie.)
- Bake cookies for about 4 minutes. Leaving baking sheets in oven, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake additional 4 to 6 minutes, for a total of about 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are set.
- Leave cookies on baking sheet for maybe a minute or so after removing from oven so they will firm up as they finish baking and release from the baking sheet. Use a spatula to loosen them if needed. If they get too hard on the baking sheet and can’t be removed easily, return to the oven for a few seconds until they soften again and repeat the process.
I use my own gluten-free flour mix. It consists of three parts Asian white rice flour (much more finely ground that typical white rice flour) and two parts cornstarch. I make 5 lbs of this mix at a time. I use three 1-lb bags of Asian white rice flour and two 1-lb boxes of Argo cornstarch. Mix well, but gently in a very large bowl and then transfer to airtight storage containers (like large glass jars). There are many other rice-based gluten-free all-purpose flour mixes on the market that will also work in this recipe, such as Jules All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour mix. However, this recipe will NOT work with some other all-purpose gf flour mixes like Bob’s Red Mill or Bette Hagman’s gluten-free all-purpose mix. Other flour mixes that I have not mentioned *might* work, but I can’t guarantee that. It’s also been my experience that these cookies fall apart if a baking stone is used. If your eggs are not at room temperature, the palm shortening and oil might harden and form little balls. As long as you mix your ingredients well, the cookies will still turn out fine because those little balls will melt while baking, but if your eggs are at room temperature you won't even have that concern. You may have to clean spatulas (I alternate between two) and even wipe off baking sheets of crumbs between batches. I always cool my cookies on opened paper bags to help absorb extra grease.
This post is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.
Cheryl Harris says
Shirley, dear, I think it’s totally normal to feel like pulling back some times. I definitely look forward to hearing more about your adventures when you feel comfortable! Happy 4th anniversary!
Thanks, Cheryl. I so appreciate your support. I’m looking forward to sharing again soon.
Shirley, this recipe looks wonderful! I love cookies that spread out like that, they’re one of my favourites. Using palm shortening and olive oil reminds me of my own recipe that uses coconut oil and olive oil – one of the best flavour combos. I’m sorry to hear that about your house; on vacation, too. 🙁 But as you said, this too shall pass and the important thing is that you’re all safe. Here’s to a healthy, happy, and safe 2013 and fifth year of Gluten Free Easily!
Hi Zoe–Thanks for all the sweet and supportive words! They are appreciated and make me feel like 2013 and year 5 for gfe will both be good! 🙂
I’m so sorry to hear about your break-in. It is heartbreaking to lose valuables and momentos but it also does something to your psyche knowing that someone has violated your space. Please know that we are here for you and take all the time you need.
Many, many hugs!
Sherri–Thank you for all those hugs, dear. I felt and appreciated every one! Yes, after some time has passed, one accepts that “things” are things, but the violation is the toughest thing to get over. Things are getting better though and I’m about ready to start sharing again. 🙂
Hugs to you as well!
Angela Sommers says
I am so sorry to hear about your “surprise,and am sending hugs, love, and prayers to you and your family.
As for your cookies, I can’t think of anything more comforting than those, and I haven’t even made them yet! However, it’s happening this weekend, and pictures will follow.
I wish you and your family a most wonderful, blessed and happy New Year!!!
Oh, no, Shirley, what a horrible thing to come home to! Here’s hoping things are much better in the coming year. : )
Thanks, Lisa. You guys are making me feel much better! 🙂
I really appreciated this post, Shirley. I’m so sorry to hear about your house. What an awful way to come home from vacation! But I think it’s wonderful that you’ve been able to give yourself a break and I hope you know that your readers are loyal and want only for you to be happy. Even if that means fewer posts when you’re not feeling them. You’re right. I would much rather read 1 post that you care about than 3 posts that you slapped together. I have to remind myself of that constantly. Happy 2013!
Hi Iris–Thanks for your words here and your ongoing support. I am so blessed to have you and so many other wonderful folks as gfe readers/friends! You set a good example on only sharing valuable posts vs just getting some up.
Happy New Year indeed … to you and us all! 🙂
Oh, Shirley, as I said on FB, being robbed really sucks. It is no wonder you weren’t feeling the energy to blog after that. I can only hope they catch (and punish) the bad guys and that you feel the energy of a new year coming up. Wishing you all the best that 2013 has to offer (and beyond). And those cookies sure do look marvelous!
Sending big hugs and wishes for only positive things in your life from today on!
Hey Ricki–Still hoping that answers will come soon. We love these cookies. I’m going to keep tweaking them and making them healthier every time. I think they can even be made vegan, too. 🙂
Thanks so much for your sweet support, dear! xo,
p.s. You’ve had kind of a rough start to the new year, too. 🙁 Hoping that only smooth sailing will be in your future for 2013!
Ina Gawne says
Shirley – I am so sorry to hear about the burglary…how terrible! I so understand about pulling back and wearing your heart on your sleeve…me too dear friend. I wish you and yours much joy, health and abundance throughout 2013! 🙂
Thanks, Ina. Your words mean so much. I know we’d get along so well in “real life.” 😉
All the best for 2013 to you … xo,
Hi Shirley! So sorry that you were burgled! Glad to hear you are in better spirits now and I’m really looking forward to you posts this year!
Wishing you and your family a very happy 2013 🙂
Vicky–What is that saying? Time heals all wounds. ? I’m ready to get back going again. Time passing does help.
Happy 2013 to you, too!
In my experience time actually doesn’t always heal all wounds but it can help make them a lot better. Moving forward is our only path and if you are surrounded with people who care then the world should look a whole lot better 🙂
Vicky–You have stated that very well. I am very blessed to be surrounded by so many friends and family who do care as I move forward. And I definitely know that time does not heal all wounds, but in this situation, the passing of time is helping.
Thanks again, dear!
Diane Eblin- thewholegang says
Shirley I love your open and honest heart and that you share it. I’m sorry about the break in and it is totally understandable not being able to write that post. Pamper yourself, nourish your soul and when you’re ready it will show up. Make a batch of those amazing cookies and share them. Oh and make sure Sunny give you a big hug from me.
Diane–Sonny has been getting mega hugs these days. He loves it and we love it! Thanks for all your sweet words! Baking these cookies for others does give me great joy. 🙂
Im so sorry to hear you were burgled while you were out of town. One thing I’ve been concerned about in reading blogs is that people are very open about going on vacation or somewhere and I cant help but think they are opening themselves to vulnerability in doing so. I dont know if you posted before hand about going out of town, but its something to think about if you havent. I think that sharing about your vacation after the fact is much wiser than beforehand in blog-land, sad as it is. I hope you will be able to replace all that was taken from you including your security and serenity. Blessings!
Hi KimH–Thanks for your sympathy and words of encouragement. In this case, sadly, the burglary had to be done by someone who knew us very well—yes, a friend—so it was probably a casual conversation on plans for Christmas that revealed we were going to be away. Replacing that security and serenity is most important to me right now.
Sarah || Celiac in the City says
Not the entry to 2013 I would have liked you to have — so sorry to hear this news, Shirley. (makes me MAD!) Glad you are all okay and have taken some time to just be. We all need that at times. And sometimes it’s not easy to do.
I applaud your honesty, your open heart, and how down to earth you are. I always wish we were closer — a coffee date would be lovely. Someday!
((HUGS)) from Wisconsin. xoxo
Thanks so much, Sarah. You are a true sweetheart! One day our paths will cross “in real life” and we’ll have that coffee date. Just FYI, I’ll be the one drinking tea though. 😉
InTolerant Chef says
You poor things! I would have fallen in a heap if confronted by all that. Take as much time as you need and spend plenty of time loving your loved ones nice and hard xox
InTolerant Chef–I especially love your advice on loving my loved ones. We’ve all been doing that after the initial shock and hurt. It’s a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Thanks, dear. I hope 2013 is being good to you! xoxo,
Ada Mangoes says
I got here from Pinterest earlier today. My husband and I just made these using Maple Grove Farms gluten free all purpose baking mix and they are the best chocolate chip cookies either of us have ever eaten. They didn’t turn out like your photos, they have more body and are soft in the middle with only a little crispness on the edges. I used the 1/3c shortening and 1/3 cup oil method and added a little shredded coconut with the chocolate chip measurement. Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Ada–Welcome to gfe! It’s terrific to know that you had such success using Maple Grove Farms mix with this recipe. 🙂 I love that you added some shredded coconut to your version, too. That gives me some ideas for my next version–thank you!! It’s not many who take the time the time to comment and provide such lovely feedback, so I am very, very grateful to you.
Happy New Year!
Lynne L says
My dear Shirley, I am so sorry this happened to you. I’ve been through it & know how it feels. Please do not worry about us…we’ll be here. Take care of YOU. In the meantime, we’ll be baking & nibbling and thinking of you. I know I speak for everyone when I wish you peace, health and serenity for 2013.
Thank you for the gorgeous recipe!
Hi Lynne–Oh, I am so very sorry that you have been through this yourself. It’s an awful feeling of violation. Anyway, I love the idea of all of you sweet gfe readers baking and nibbling and sending such lovely thoughts my way. You are too kind, dear, and I appreciate you for that very much! 🙂
Hope you have an absolutely wonderful 2013 and I also hope you enjoy these cookies if/when you make them! Hugs,
Lynne L says
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!! Making them now…you aren’t kidding that they SPREAD!! Used too much batter for each cookie (oh well hahaha…they’ll be monster cookies to nibble on!) I don’t know what I did wrong though..used the evoo/coconut oil combo & it was way too much oil, so I had to add another 1/2 cup of flour blend. Then it was so delicious that, um, I don’t know HOW MANY cookies did NOT make it to the baking sheet! Of course, when I read coconut oil, my taste buds were all “atingle” lol. Absolutely delicious!!! Thank you again my dear!
Lynne–I’m so happy that you love them! Which flour blend did you use? Did you use all the other ingredients that were called for? I’m glad that you were able to solve the oil problem by adding a little more flour. Definitely some all-purpose flour mixes are more absorbent than others per the ingredients and definitely oven temps being off can affect spreading. I suspect you’ve figured it all out now though and will just do the same each time you make them. 😉 Well, I say that, but these cookies can even be a bit flaky for me from time to time. Humidity? Slight differences in rice flour? Not sure. I do know they are worth the “trouble.” 🙂
Lynne L says
I used your blend (Asian rice flour & cornstarch). I think you might be right though about the difference in flour. I used everything exactly according to recipe (which is weird for me, because I usually experiment!). Unless I accidentally only put in 1-1/2 cups in the first place, because I used a half cup measurement to take the flour out. They turned out fine and look exactly like your pictures. I think we’ve eaten too many (is there such a thing?)…tomorrow I’m taking them to work, as I do sometimes to test them out on my special needs guys & co-workers. They love it when I do that! Hugs!
Lynne–Thanks for the feedback. I always measure my flour by stirring it, spooning it into the cup, and then leveling it off. That gives the most accurate measure for gf flours when not weighing them, which I am loathe to do, despite it being the advised way to go. I hope that everyone enjoys them. They are not as good the day after because the rice flour tends to dry out a bit, but they should still “pass muster.” 😉
Hugs to you,
Shirley, I’m so sorry about the burglary. You have my sympathies.
You don’t owe your readers anything, so take all the time you need and only do what helps you.
Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you so much, Clare! I have missed you guys and am just about ready to get back in my blogging saddle. The truth is I started feeling better and healing from this event the moment I shared with you all.
*big big big hugs*
Awww, thanks so much, Debi! I could feel all those big hugs. They have really, really helped! 🙂
Kim - Cook It Allergy Free says
Shirley, I totally understand your feelings of pulling back sometimes. There are so many times, after something exciting or even something bad happens, that I say “oh, I have to write a post about that” and then something stops me and I keep it private. I agree that some things are just meant to be close to the heart. And, I know I told you this before, but I am so so sorry about the break-in. My heart is so sad for you and the boys. :(.
By the way, these cookies look divine. So going to have to try them.
Kim–That is so true about the excitement of sharing some things and then holding them back after further reflection. Often I do share the good and personal things, but much later after the fact, so to speak. That seems like a happy medium type of thing. I get to keep the experience close to my heart for a while, but then get to share helpful info with my gfe readers. 🙂
Thanks so much on all, dear. The good truth is that one can only feel angry and down for so long. You just can’t give that “path” all your energy, you know?
These cookies are divine if I do say so myself. You should make them for Super Bowl when you will have lots of help eating them. 😉 xoxo,
Sharon Mc. says
Hugs to you! XXXXX
Awww, thanks, Sharon!! Much, much appreciated!
Mmmm cookies will make almost anything better 🙂 Sending you love and hugs Shirley. I know 2013 is already turning around for you and your family. xo
Hi Maggie–Yes, cookies definitely do help … through the act of baking, the act of sharing, and the act of eating. I’m feeling all the positivity from you and it is helping tremendously! This event is just an anomaly for 2013, right? 😉
Angela Sommers says
Just made them. Wow! These are amazing!!!! I’ll send you pictures to show you how they turned out! And, I’ll have a fun blog post some time soon, with links to this…and some fun pictures 😉 – Hope you are feeling better by now, and would you please e-mail me your mailing address so I can send you a lil’ somethun…. 🙂 hugs and love
Wow, Angela! Per usual, you are my most dedicated recipe tester!! I loved the photos you sent (and that you still had beautiful flowers of yours to include in them). Your cookies did look amazing!
I’m feeling better and will email you shortly. Thanks so much, dear. Love and hugs to you as well!
[email protected] Domestic Diva says
Something about burglary make you feel so violated…it really stinks Shirley, I am sorry YOU had to go through it. Pull back as needed…do what feels right, we all must be true and honest with our own needs…hang in there love!
Yes, Tessa, it stinks to know that someone has not only broken into one’s house, but also been through one’s things. I pulled back, but now am about ready to share and reach out to others again. Thank you so much for your support, dear! You’re one of our blessings in the gf blogging community and one to me as well! 🙂
Lynne L says
They were a HUGE hit with the guys, Shirley! They wanted more! I really think I accidentally only put in 1-1/2 cups initially. In any case…AWESOME!
Yippeeee, Lynne!! 🙂 Thanks so much for reporting back. I might try a grain-free version tomorrow. 😉
I’m just catching up on posts from my favorite bloggers. And this one was great. Yes, the cookies look fab, but your honesty and candor about life and where you are at is always inspiring to me. I don’t know how bloggers keep up their momentum! Especially if they have so many other things to juggle. I remember when I started my blog, I was literally addicted. It was a rush. I starting meeting so many people, finding so many recipes, and feeling so inspired and connected in the best way possible. I’ve been at it almost 1 1/2 years and I can’t imagine expelling that same energy at this point. I think this is pretty normal human behavior. I was in such a honeymoon stage with my blog…and how we are like a comfortable married couple.
Blogging still stands as my most enjoyable hobby, however I really enjoyed my two month break over the Holiday. It’s nice to give yourself a break. I had no interest in blogging, typing anything, and I enjoyed cooking without a camera attached to my hip. So the break was very nice. But the break also allowed me to recharge and channel some of that motivation and excitement that I first felt when I started blogging. I suppose this is how it will be (burst of energy with an expected lull), as it’s difficult to keep going, going at an elevated pace. We all need a break. We need that break to miss it just enough to power back and wiggle it back into our lives in a way that works best for us.
I think you’re amazing for keeping up your blog as much as you do, and always being so active with comments. Not to mention all your work with your other site.
I hope you had an enjoyable Holiday with your family and I also hope 2013 is great for you so far, that a rhythm is developing, and you are finding happiness in your activities. You are such a gift to the blogging world, so it’s important we have you around for many, many years sharing your wisdom and recipes. 🙂
Thinking of you.
Hi again Amber–You are so wonderful to take the time to catch up with me and others! I’m truly honored to be in your favorite bloggers group! 🙂 I always appreciate your sweet feedback, Amber. Blogging is most definitely addictive and what you’ve described is very “normal.” I love the analogy on being on a honeymoon and then becoming an old married couple. 😉 Re-charging is always good. It allows one to re-focus and get back to one’s original message, too. Again, you’ve expressed it all so accurately, so beautifully. There are many who are far, far better at this (even juggling much more) than I, but when I let go of my unrealistic unexpectations, I am always happy with what I’ve achieved here on gfe and on AGFD. I hope I will continue as long as you foresee me doing so!! Your vote of confidence and your encouragement is huge to me!
Wishing you all the best in health, blogging, and life in 2013! xoxo,