I have been absent from this blog for quite a while now. Suffering a great loss in my life, I was afraid to write here. I was afraid my grief would come right out through my writing and sound depressing and I did not want to talk about it. I have to admit though I miss writing and I miss this blog. I decided as part of my grieving/healing process I am going to allow myself to continue my two loves: baking and writing. Since I simply cannot stop thinking about the loss of the wonderful and beautiful woman who tremendously impacted my life, I decided to pull out the book of recipes I have from her and bake and photograph and write about it.
Bonnie had an incredible zest for many things in life and it especially showed through in her cooking and baking. I can imagine her zooming around her beautiful and immaculate kitchen, impossible to keep up with. She would be constantly murmuring about the fantastic aromas coming from various simmering ingredients, or the vivid colors of the produce fresh from her greenhouse, or exclaiming about a new ingredient that she suspected would be just perfect to add to this recipe. I can see her tasting a fantastic concoction of ingredients that started from a recipe and evolved in a dish that was absolutely one-of-a-kind, delicious and so . . . well . . . Bonnie.
An incredible mother, who put family before anything else, I believe some of her most cherished moments were gathered around the dinner table in the evening, sharing her culinary creations with loved ones. After gathering hands and saying prayers, we would all take our first bite. Bonnie would usually close her eyes and just take it all in. If she was pleased, she would whisper “Isn’t this just scrumptious??!!” making the food sound just as delicious as it always was.
Well, almost always. There were times that things didn’t turn out so well. The notorious carrot cake for example, that she tried to make as healthy as possible, and substituted essentially every ingredient for a healthier version. It turned out, well, disgusting. Just describing the unforgettable catastrophe to me she would laugh so hard she would practically be in tears.
Of all her recipes there is one in particular that is my favorite; her famous chocolate chip cookies. There is something different, something special, about these cookies. I finally asked if I was allowed to have the recipe and I was honored when she handed it down to me. I was so happy to be able to recreate the delicious treat in my own home.
Then I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and the recipes from Bonnie were put back in the book and on the shelf to collect dust while I figured out this gluten-free thing. Recently I decided it was time I pulled those recipes back out. It was time to convert these recipes to versions that I can safely enjoy. First recipe to tackle on the list was an easy decision.
Through tears, sorrow, and beautiful memories of Bonnie, I worked away in my small kitchen to create a gluten-free version of Bonnie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. I think Bonnie would be so happy to know that her son, who ended up with a gluten-free wife, will still be enjoying her cookies as well as many, many others. I hope that you will be able to enjoy spending some time in the kitchen, perhaps with a little helper, creating these special cookies for your loved ones. I think I know a way to truly honor Bonnie’s beautiful life. When you make these cookies, gather your family and friends together, spend some quality time with everyone, and of course, enjoy these absolutely scrumptious cookies.
In loving memory of Bonnie
Bonnie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you do not have the following gluten-free flours, just substitute your favorite for a total of 280g (or 2 cups) and at high elevation use 315g (or 2 1/4 cups). I used a ratio of 60% starch (arrowroot starch, corn starch, etc) and 40% whole grain (brown rice, millet, etc.). In case you are reading this because you want Bonnie’s recipe, and you are not necessarily gluten-free, just substitute regular flour at the above amount.
Preheat oven to 375°F
80g (a rounded 1/2 cup) superfine sorghum flour
20g (3 Tbls) millet flour
65g (a rounded 1/3 cup) potato starch
65g (a rounded 1/3 cup) superfine sweet white rice flour
40g (1/3 cup) arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp shortening
2 tsp gluten-free vanilla
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice (you can use regular sugar, but I like unrefined)
3/4 packed brown sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
At high altitude:
Use an extra egg as well an additional 1/4 cup of your favorite gluten-free flour.
Measure and sift gluten-free flours, baking soda and gums into a medium bowl. Whisk dry ingredients together to ensure they are thoroughly incorporated and then set aside. Using a stand mixer, beat butter and shortening together into a creamy mixture. Add the egg, vanilla and sugars and beat thoroughly. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until totally incorporated. Add chocolate chips and stir again. Using a tablespoon or tablespoon scoop, measure well-rounded amounts onto a cookie sheet. If your dough seems to have warmed, you may need to refrigerate the dough for bit to firm the butter. Butter that is too warm = flat and crispy cookies! Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Hint: This cookie is easy to over-bake; if the cookie is beginning to form cracks in the top, it is done! If you want your cookie crispier, use less flour. Want it more cakey? You guessed it, use more flour.
Bonnie would always scoop extra cookie dough balls to fill freezer ziplocks bags of them for later. Her trick was to first put them on a tray and into the freezer for a bit so that they wouldn’t stick together in the bags. Later you can pull a few frozen cookie dough balls out and let them thaw for a few minutes while the oven preheats. You will be enjoying fresh cookies in a matter of minutes!