19 December 2011

The Biggest (tree) and the Best (gluten-free chocolate chip cookies)

For the last two years, we've used a dinky fake tree at Christmas. Both times the kids were really bummed. The first time, I used the excuse "We're in the middle of moving!" which was true. Last year, laziness, bad weather and lack of funding conspired to formulate this awesome line of reasoning "You don't really want to go out in the pouring down rain and tromp through the super muddy tree lot to pick out a soaking wet tree in the freezing cold, do you?" The kids did not.

This year, I was in agreement with them. We all wanted a real tree. A nice tree. A big tree.

On Friday, I called my husband on his way home from work.

"Hey, honey... can you meet us at the tree lot?"
"Sure... I'm right near it."
"Excellent! Start looking. If something appeals to you, just get it. I give you free rein."
"Really? Wow."
"Yeah, whatever you want. I promise not to complain. Go for it."

And I hung up.

A mere five minutes later...no exaggeration... he called back.

"I got it!" I could here a semi-smirk in his voice. "Tell G he got his wish!"

I turned to Big G. "Dad says you got your wish."

The boy squealed. Seriously, squealed with delight. "He got a massive tree! He got a massive tree!"

Oh, jeez. I promised not to complain...so I didn't.

Twelve feet tall. 
It's like a mall tree.

I actually kind of love it. And while I did the lights, I have relinquished all decorating control to the kids...with the one instruction that they place breakable items out of Miss C's reach. Letting go... finding the balance :)

So that's the biggest part of the post...now for the best...

Being surrounded by goodies this time of year is a challenge for the non-wheat eater. Cookies and breads and cakes abound, but it's hard to find gluten-free options...and I know why. Often, GF options are cardboardy or taste 'off' or have the 'wrong' texture. Today I'm sharing a recipe that is, according to my kids, better than the regular option. I want to preface this by telling you that until about a year ago, I really thought the only way to make chocolate chip cookies was by following the recipe on the back of the chips bag. I had no idea that you could do it any other way. Really. But my friend Catey set me straight. This recipe below I got from her blog and then substituted gluten-free flours.

My Favorite Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes approx. 5 dozen 2-1/2 inch diameter cookies

  • 3 c. gluten-free flour (I use a combo of Gluten Free Pantry All-Purpose Flour and King Arthur Flour's gluten free multi-purpose flour...the flour you choose definitely makes a difference!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c. butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 c. white granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 c. golden brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 360ºF.

Stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars in another large mixing bowl until thoroughly blended. Some people soften the butter...I don't. I cut the sticks into lengthwise quarters and then slice it all into small chunks. Creaming the sugars with cold butter yields a texture of cookie I prefer. I also cream the sugars one at a time. You can use an electric mixer (easier if butter is softened), but I use a wooden spoon.

Add in slightly beaten eggs (you can just beat them in the same bowl) and then the vanilla. Beat until well blended.

Combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture (most recipes say to do this gradually. I just dump it all in at once and then "cut" it all together with the side of my wooden spoon...sort of like making pie crust) until it is well mixed. If it seems too dry and crumbly, you might add a splash (between a tsp and tbs) of milk or cream to the mix...it doesn't take much.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets (I recently discovered parchment and swear by it).

Baking time: In my oven, baking for 11 minutes and then allowing to cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes yields a perfect chewy cookie. Baking for 13 minutes and cooled for 2 creates a delicately crisp cookie. My husband is a cookie-making master and taught me that keeping an eye on the cookies is VERY important! These gluten-free cookies seem a little more fragile than regular cookies and really benefit from those "2 minutes on the sheets" cooling period. Then transfer with a spatula to racks to finish cooling.



  1. The tree is gorgeous! I can't believe you got the lights all the way to the top:) I keep trying to talk my hubby into a fake tree because every year one of the animals pees under it:( No go, the family always wants the real thing!

  2. Your tree is beautiful! Love it!!

  3. Whoa - that is one HUGE tree. It's beautiful, and it can be so fun to just say 'yes'. :)

  4. I LOVE your tree!
    you are lucky you have the high ceiling!
    We always get a real one as tall as we can fit!
    it is my only request for Christmas
    a real tree
    I like the smell of it, reminds me of home

  5. Did you permit that? It's like you've added another load bearing column in the middle of the living room.

  6. Love love love your tree. Ours is more of a bush this year. :(

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  8. I'm sitting here, loving that tree of yours!!! Can't stop gushing about it! Beautiful!

  9. Love the massive tree! Yay for wishes getting granted :) We got a charlie brown type tree. They are always my favorite. Perfection in its imperfections. :)

  10. How could the holiday spirit not invade your home with that gorgeous evergreen to wake up to every morning and go to bed to every night? LOVE IT!! Glad you made two boys' (husband included) dream come true. And so pleased for you on the cookie front too. I need to figure out where to buy the GF flour as I would like to make some of these for my husband's uncle for Christmas. He's been GF for about 9 months and I know misses stuff like this. Might have to browse the grocery store.

  11. Love the tree - we got a big one this year too - so pretty with all the lights. I pretty much give up on all decorations - usually I let the kids put them on and then sometimes I redistribute so they aren't ALL on the bottom half of the tree.

  12. Love the tree! It's beautiful! And those cookies are making my stomach growl!

  13. The tree is VERY pretty! We usually have a big one but this year the Scrooge in me bought a mini one; my kids all laughed. Whatever.

  14. Holy Crap......that tree is the bomb!
    I made some great GF cookies this weekend as well...similar recipe just veganized and they were great.

  15. That tree is insane! I love it too:)

  16. Ooooh, pretty tree. Glad you were not injured trying to get lights so high up! Those cookies look fabulous, unlike the "flatties" I always end up with when trying GF!

  17. What a great tree!!

    Your cookies look DELISH! Why don't you share them on the USPS Facebook page? http://on.fb.me/ujGGtE

  18. THAT is an awesome tree. I love it. LOVE it.

  19. Wow, 12 feet is huge! My parents usually get 6-7 feet maximum, because otherwise it hits a chandalier in our living room, haha

    Those cookies do look good!

    And you may have saw it already, but I referenced the Easy button that I won from you in my last post =) "That was easy!"

  20. I LOVE your huge tree!!! We had the tradition for 12 years or so of a fresh tree but financially it became too much and went the way of the fake. 2 days ago Costco was giving away the trees that they couldn't sell and we got one. It is one of the most beautiful full trees we've ever had but ours is just shy of 9 feet. I love the smell of a real tree! Merry Christmas.(Thanks as always for your super sweet comments on my blog. I was very happy with the picture my 7 year old took/ Although not in focus completely she sure got an incredible angle that made me look better than the truth!)

  21. Those cookies look great! I have a friend who is GF and she said she rarely bakes anymore because it is hard to get them to come out right. Those look perfect to me!


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