Friday, 4 April 2014

Choc Chunk Cookies

I'm sitting in the car, on the way to Okarorie for a surprise party, so I think I'll keep this post brief - one finger typing on the iPad looses it's novelty factor very quickly!

Going to a small 'one pub town' (literally!) in rural New Zealand can sometimes present issues when it comes to eating gluten and dairy free. We tend to pack a bunch of food for the kids and then just order them some hot chips as a treat. Being a birthday party there is the double whammy of the fact that there is usually cake of some description and it is not usually gluten or dairy free (although we have some absolutely amazing friends who go the extra mile when the kids have been there and they've made a second cake that is allergy friendly - so above and beyond and immensely appreciated!). For the parties where we know there won't be a gluten/dairy free option come cake time, I usually bake something to take along. There is nothing worse than the look on a child's face when everyone else is enjoying a piece of birthday cake and they have nothing! So generally I will bake some little cupcakes or biscuits that I can whip out so the girls feel that they are part of the action. 

This time around, keeping in mind the long car trip and the late hour at which I was baking, I went with a super easy batch of biscuits (had nothing at all to do with the fact that I had a late night sugar craving that seemed to demand the gluttonous consumption of cookie dough!!). 

These were super easy to make, and involved me chucking a handful of ingredients in a blender, whiz zing it all up, throwing in some chunks of chocolate and popping them in the oven. Simple! If you wanted to, you could even save getting out the fancy kitchen equipment and just mix it all in a bowl, but the blender just gave a good texture and made a great dough.

The recipe is free of gluten, grains, and soy, and can be made dairy free, nut free and free of refined sugar (depending on your choice of chocolate chunks). Basically, there are heaps of options to make this your own and to modify it to suit your needs.

Choc Chunk Cookies

2 cups almond flour (you can subsitute gluten free flour, or use 1 cup coconut flour if you prefer a nut free version)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
50g butter, melted (or you can use coconut oil if you prefer a dairy free option or even ghee would be great!)
1 large ripe banana, mashed (you can use 1/4 cup honey for sweetener if you don't like or don't have a banana)
1 cup (more or less) of chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (use your preferred variety of chocolate - I use these ones)

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2 in a blender or food processor (or in a bowl with a spoon if you prefer the good old fashioned way!), combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Pulse briefly to combine. 
3. Add the vanilla, butter, and banana. 
4. Blend until a dough forms. 
5. Remove the blade from the processor, or scrape dough into a bowl. Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
6. Spoon heaped tablespoons of dough on to the prepared baking tray and press down gently with a fork
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
8. If you like your cookies all warm and melty, give them a minute to cool down to just below lava temperature, and eat! Otherwise, cool on a wire rack - the chocolate will harden back a bit and the cookies will get a nice bite to them.