May 25, 2011

Desperate for a gluten free chocolate chip cookie

I am desperate for a good chocolate chip cookie. Something akin to the famous Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie. The problem is that I live at a high altitude and chocolate chip cookies are difficult to get right. The picture above is version 6 of a gluten free version that I still don't have right. I started with Annalise Robert's version in Gluten-Free Baking Classics. They didn't turn out right no matter how I've tweaked it - flat crispy wafers. Next, I tried to adapt the High-Altitude version of the Nestle recipe. It turned out better with a few additional tweaks. The results are shown in the picture above. They still turned out a bit flat with the chips floating to the center. You can see the pits and craters - probably from the xanthan gum (not sure). I raised the temperature to 390 degrees and cooked them for less time.

Gluten free baking is designed to compensate for the lack of gluten, which acts like a glue. Gluten provides the structure necessary for rise and cohesiveness and results in a nice shape. But when you live at a high altitude (6,000 ft), that compensation becomes over compensation and the baking results in failure.

To make up for the lack of gluten, recipes are adjusted in various ways:

1. Use of gums, like xanthan or guar.
2. Extra leavening, such as baking soda and baking powder, sometimes much more than what is found in a normal recipe.
3. Extra eggs.

I think it is the extra baking soda and baking powder that is throwing things off - though I can't be sure. High altitude baking (above 3,000 ft) requires these adjustments:

1. Less leavening, which depends entirely on your elevation.
2. Slightly higher temperatures
3. Slightly shorter baking time
4. Extra flour
5. Extra water
6. Reduce sugar

I've tried all the above adjustments. The only thing I can think of to try next is to only use about 1/2 tsp of baking soda. After that, I may try tweaking Alton Brown's gluten-free chocolate chip cookie which relies on weights versus volume measures. The weights versus measures may be the culprit.

Anyway, if anyone has a high-altitude (6,000 ft) chocolate chip cookie recipe. I would love to try it!

1 comment:

  1. Esther, I have no experience with gluten-free OR high altitude baking, so I don't know if my recipe suggestion will be one that you can adapt or not. I am also probably the only person in America who hasn't had a Mrs. Fields cookie, so I don't know exactly what you're shooting for.

    Nevertheless, I thought immediately of Helen aka Tartelette. See her post here: The recipe is at the bottom of the post. I only wish it were already adapted for high altitude.

    I hope you can find something that works well and reliably. What is life without a good chocolate chip cookie? :-)