ALMOST Gluten Free Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last week, I attended a potluck dinner. The theme was St. Patrick’s Day – so green and/or Irish foods were a preferred contribution.

Generally, I contribute a savory food, something that can be a side dish or a main course. However, this time I decided to go with a (green) dessert. I was in class prior to the potluck and needed something that would be easy to transport and didn’t require refrigeration.

I’ve wanted to try making gluten free cookies for a while and decided this was a good opportunity. And it’s a good thing I wasn’t serving the cookies to anyone with an intolerance, because, as it turns out, these cookies did contain gluten. As I was researching gluten-free cookies, I realized the spelt flour (that I had bought in the healthy food section at the grocery store next to the gluten-free flours and cake mixes) contains gluten! According to The Kitchn:

“Spelt has a reputation as a “healthier” grain, but as far as gluten-free cooking goes, it’s out. It is a direct relative of wheat, and while its protein content may be higher and therefore better for those of us without a gluten intolerance, it will cause problems for those with gluten-intolerance. One interesting note, however, is that some people who simply have a mild intolerance say that they can tolerate spelt better than wheat. But you should still avoid it completely when cooking for those with a gluten or wheat intolerance.” (from “Cocoa to Cornstarch: Are These 10 Ingredients Gluten-Free?” on The Kitchn)

A few other things “went wrong” in the process. First, I realized after adding the green food dye that it was also mint-flavoured. This ended up not being an issue because both Bryan and I like mint. And I let my classmates know about the flavour ahead of time. Second, although the dough was green, the cookies turned out golden-brown with a green center. They didn’t look very festive. Next time, I will take them out of the oven sooner so they retain a bit more colour.

So, while these cookies were not, in the end, gluten-free… they were a delicious first attempt. (Bryan asked me to tell my classmates that they were terrible so we could have more at home). However, I promised to make these cookies again soon. However, the next batch will be truly gluten-free, substituting a bit more of each of the other flours to remove the spelt flour.

ALMOST Gluten Free Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup salted butter, softened  – approximate cost $1.50
  • ½ cup brown sugar  – approximate cost $0.25
  • ½ cup cane sugar  – approximate cost $0.45
  • 1 egg  – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  – approximate cost $0.15
  • 20 drops of mint-flavoured green food dye  – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum  – approximate cost $0.50
  • ½ cup spelt flour  – approximate cost $0.50
  • ½ cup coconut flour  – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour  – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/3 cup almond meal flour  – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour  – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda  – approximate cost $0.05
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 150 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips  – approximate cost $1.25

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and cane sugar.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, and mint-flavoured green food dye.
  4. Stir until well blended.
  5. Mix together the xanthan gum, spelt flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, almond meal flour, white rice flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and sea salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture ½ cup at a time, mixing well each time you add flour.
  7. Add the chocolate chips when the flour is completely blended with the butter mixture.
  8. Use an ice cream scoop to make spheres of cookie dough.
  9. Place each scoop of dough onto a non-stick baking sheet (about 5 centimeters apart).
  10. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the cookie is golden (the dough on the inside of the cookie will be green).
  11. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.
  12. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
  13. Enjoy immediately and pack a few cookies away for later!

Makes about 15 cookies (approximate cost: $0.50 per cookie).

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Improv Challenge: Chocolate and Marshmallows

It’s been way too long! It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire month since I posted. But I’m back, and ready to take on blogging once again! Over the last month I’ve been swamped with school work. Between essays, projects and presentations, the deadlines kept me busy. However, I’m glad to have made it through my first term as a PhD student and can’t wait to start all over again after the holiday!

That said, what better way to get back into blogging than participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker?! I was disappointed to miss a few months of the challenge, but happy to be participating today. So far, I’ve shared:

This month, the challenge ingredients are chocolate and marshmallows. Yum!

I wasn’t going to have an evening at home to prepare my recipe, so, last night I enlisted the help from my friend’s 4-year-old (who I was babysitting). That is, I made making a delicious dessert using chocolate and marshmallows our activity for the evening. And it went over surprisingly well! The little one was super excited to help me cook, loved decorating his own dessert, and devoured the tasty treat just before bedtime. It made a great activity!

What did we make? Crispy rice squares!

Crispy Rice Squares with Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter – approximate cost $0.50
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows – approximate cost $0.90
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla – approximate cost $0.10
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal – approximate cost $1.60
  • Chocolate sauce for decorating – approximate cost $0.50
  • Chocolate and Rainbow sprinkles for decorating (optional) – approximate cost $0.30

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a large, non-stick pot.
  2. Add the marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the vanilla.
  5. Continue stirring.
  6. Add the cereal, 1 cup at a time, and stirring constantly until well-coated in marshmallows.
  7. Place in a 9×13 baking pan
  8. Cover with a piece of waxed paper.
  9. Press the cereal mixture into an even layer that is the shape of the baking pan.
  10. Remove waxed paper.
  11. Decorate with chocolate sauce (and other edible treats such as chocolate or rainbow sprinkles).
  12. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set.
  13. Slice and enjoy!

Makes one 9 x 13 tray of crispy rice treats, about 12 servings (approximate cost: $3.90 or $0.33 per serving).



Guest Post from Ginger Bakes: Chocolate Drizzled Mocha Cookies

Today, I’m very excited to introduce the very first ever guest post on The Cook’s Sister! Welcome Mel from Ginger Bakes!

Sound familiar? That’s because I nominated Mel’s blog for the One Lovely Blog Award back in October!

Mel and I are both participants in the monthly Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, which is how we met. We both visit each other’s blogs regularly now. And we both own some very cute kitties that like to check out the tasty treats we share on our blogs.

Mel is a fantastic baker and I’m always amazed with her creations, they’re both delicious and beautiful! Check out a few of my favourites:

Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for… the guest post and Mel’s fantastic cookie recipe that she’s sharing with us today! Take it away Mel!


Hi! I’m Mel and I’m the one behind Ginger Bakes. I found Amber’s blog on my first Improv challenge and have been following her ever since. Especially when I discovered she is a fellow Ontarioan! So when she was looking for a guest poster I jumped at the chance!

I am an avid baker, and it’s no secret that one of my favourite things to bake are cookies. They are also the perfect goodies to share. Our neighbor and friend is moving out of province and sent me home with some baking supplies saying that she would never use them up before she left.  For me it was the perfect excuse to bake something up to send her way. Since she is driving out, I needed it to be portable and travel friendly (to last the three day drive!), but also still super delicious.

Enter these slice-and-bake cookies. Easy to put together, drive friendly, and still indulgent with the chocolate drizzle. Also the hint of espresso makes it a justifiable treat for breakfast. 😉 It also makes a small batch, so it’s perfectly sized to stretch out over a long drive or if there is only a couple people in the house and you don’t want cookies sticking around for all eternity. Having said that, these also freeze beautifully and the recipe doubles wonderfully.

Chocolate Drizzled Mocha Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Chocolate Mocha Cookies - Baked and Photographed by Ginger Bakes (http://gingerbakes.wordpress.com)

Chocolate Mocha Cookies – Baked and Photographed by Ginger Bakes (http://gingerbakes.wordpress.com)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened (approx. $1)
  • ½ cup sugar (approx.  $0.16)
  • 1 egg  ( approx. $0.24)
  • ½ tsp. instant espresso powder ( approx. $0.08)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour  (approx. $0.32)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (approx. $0.40)
  • ½ tsp. baking soda (approx. $0.01)
  • ¼ tsp. salt (approx. $0.01)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, melted (approx. $0.75)
Chocolate Mocha Cookies - Baked and Photographed by Ginger Bakes (http://gingerbakes.wordpress.com)

Chocolate Mocha Cookies – Baked and Photographed by Ginger Bakes (http://gingerbakes.wordpress.com)

Method

  1. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the espresso powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add it to the butter mixture until it’s all combined.
  3. Shape the dough into a log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (or if you are impatient like me, 30 minutes in the freezer)
  4. Preheat the oven to 350o F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the chilled dough, and with a sharp knife cut into 2mm/ ½ in slices. Arrange on your prepared sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool a couple minutes on your tray, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. Once the cookies are cooled, put the melted chocolate into a disposable piping bag or a heavy duty freezer bag with the corner snipped, and drizzle over the cookies. Let the chocolate set, then enjoy!

Total approximate cost: $2.97 for 24 cookies

-Mel

Chocolate Mocha Cookies - Baked and Photographed by Ginger Bakes (http://gingerbakes.wordpress.com)

Chocolate Mocha Cookies – Baked and Photographed by Ginger Bakes (http://gingerbakes.wordpress.com)

Day 31: Recipe

My former roommate’s recipe for mini muffins which we referred to as “mufflings.” She made me a recipe box a while back and this is one of the recipes she included. It’s one of Bryan’s favourites. They’re very very tasty and easy to prepare, even if you’re not that great at baking.

Mufflings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup sugar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 cup milk – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/3 cup salted butter, melted – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 cup defrosted frozen berries – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – approximate cost $0.10
  • 12 muffin cups – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, and butter
  5. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture (don’t beat)
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 mufflings (approximate cost: $0.40 per muffling).

Day 27: Chocolate

Why is there a picture of pasta when the topic is chocolate? It’s hard to believe, but these ravioli pieces are stuffed with braised beef and dark chocolate. It was delicious. I’ll admit, I was skeptical about this pasta. I didn’t think I’d like it. Chocolate and beef seemed like a weird combination. It was delicious. I might try to make it myself at some point.

Belated Valentine’s Day Post

Valentine’s Day was as fantastic as we planned. Not everything went according to plan (I made numerous last minute changes to our menu), but we had a wonderful evening together nonetheless. The evening began with a romantic round of Super Smash Brothers Brawl in which we battled our favourite video game characters for an hour or so while dinner was cooking. We played on a team against two computer-controlled characters. See… we did something co-operative, that’s romantic and coupley, right? Whether or not this is your ideal way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we very much enjoyed the night in together, away from overly-crowded restaurants and prices that make us think we might need to drop out of school to pay for our dinner (Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit about the price of eating out once in a while).

The dinner, however, was one to remember for a while. Rib-eye steaks, roasted potatoes and carrots, and asparagus with a miso sauce. By the time we got half way through dinner, we decided that dessert (red velvet cheesecake) would have to wait until another day.

Rib-eye steaks au jus

These were some of the best steaks we have ever had at home. We don’t have a barbecue, so we tend to avoid making steak at home and prefer to enjoy it when visiting friends and family. The steaks were a bit on the expensive side, but I don’t regret splurging on an occasion! Also, the steaks were large enough that we enjoyed them over two meals.

The au jus recipe is adapted from a recipe at Steamy Kitchen. Despite making a few changes… it was so flavourful! I enjoyed the au jus more so that that which you would get at a typical pub. I wish I made more. For dipping with bread. For hot beef sandwiches. One of us may or may not have licked our plate clean before cleaning up the meal. I want more…

Ingredients

  • 2 rib-eye steaks (bone in) – approximate cost $12.00
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced – approximate cost $1.50
  • 3 carrots, sliced into quarters – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 whole head garlic, broken into quaters (leave the skin on) – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/4 cup of butter– approximate cost $.63
  • 1/2 cup red wine – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 tablespoons beef bouillon – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 cup water

Method

  1. Freeze the steaks (Yes, seriously, I was trying out a tip from The Kitchn).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Heat butter in a frying pan and sear the frozen steaks (approximately 4 minutes per side).
  4. Combine beef bouillon and water in a bowl, stir until well-combined.
  5. In a large roasting pan, combine seared steaks, onion, carrots, garlic, and beef bouillon mixture.
  6. Bake for 1 hour (steaks will be medium to medium-well)
  7. Remove steaks to a cutting board and let stand while you prepare the jus.
  8. Strain the roast mixture into a pot, discarding the vegetables and keeping the liquid.
  9. Heat until the liquid boils and add the red wine.
  10. Boil jus mixture for about 10 minutes, or until it begins to thicken.
  11. Pour jus over steaks and serve.
Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $4.47 per serving).

Potatoes and carrots roasted with thyme

Yummy, yummy, yummy! These roasted vegetables were great as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Ingredients

  • 10 small red potatoes, halved – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.15

Method

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a 9×13 roasting pan.
  3. Toss until the potatoes and carrots are well coated with thyme, sea salt, and oil.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the vegetables once after about 20 minutes.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $0.99 per serving).

Asparagus with miso sauce

Another recipe I am saving. I’ll be making this again when asparagus is in season in June. There’s nothing like buying asparagus fresh from a local farm. It is one of my very favourite vegetables.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.34 per serving).

Red velvet cheesecake

This cheesecake is very sweet and very rich. I had three bites and that was enough for me. Bryan’s first words after taking a bite were “Mmmmm this is fantastic!” If you like cheesecake and sweets, this recipe is a keeper. Make sure to plan ahead, there is a long period of time in which the cheesecake must cool.

Makes about 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.28 per serving).

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