gluten-free oatmeal cookie bark

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My family cooks from scratch.  We do this exclusively and almost to the point of snobbery; it creates a sort of anxious struggle for our friends between really delicious food and and really annoying cooks.  When I was little and we’d have people over for birthdays, they would be shocked at how good our cakes tasted.  “That’s because you’re probably used to store-bought,” my dad would scoff.

pre-baking

I cringe a little thinking about that, but it’s hard to grasp the power of butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract if you haven’t creamed them together in the bowl of your mixer and then caught a drip off of the beaters.  Some people have joked that it’s love that makes the things I bake taste good; I suppose that may be, but my hunch is that it’s really just butter.

Case in point: this “bark,” a hybrid of a few recipes I picked up around the Interwebs that I then re-worked to meet the gluten-free preferences of my boss, probably isn’t perfect.  What it is, however, is chock full of real butter, rich brown sugar, and chocolate chips, and that should be good enough for anybody.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookie Bark

1 3/4 cups rice flour

1 cup oats

Pinch salt

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together rice flour, oats, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Slowly stir in dry ingredients until fully incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by 1/4-cupfuls onto prepared baking sheet.  Using a spatula (you may want to oil it lightly), spread dough to thickness of chocolate chips.  Bake 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool completely, then break into pieces.

 

gluten-free chocolate cupcakes

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The last time I tried to make something that was gluten-free (white chocolate macadamia nut cookies), I made a point not to tell anyone until after they tasted it.  And it worked really well – every single person raved about how good they were and couldn’t believe that they were gluten-free.

chuck it all in the food processor

The one person with whom I didn’t pull my shenanigans, though, was my food snob coworker, and he took full advantage.

Me: “Here, Nick.  Try one.  These are gluten-free, but I made some regular ones that I’ll bring over in a sec.”

Nick (taking a bite): “Eh, they’re not bad.  For gluten-free.”

ready for the oven

Yeah, okay.  I get it.  Gluten-free is a turnoff, as are vegan and vegetarian and all of those food philosophies that require dietary modification.  And, to be honest, I kind of agree, if only because a “food philosophy” just sounds radically pretentious.

The one exception, though, is those recipes that are unintentionally dietarily philosophical, the ones that don’t require rice flour or fermented cashews or whatever the digestively challenged substitute for real food in their baked goods.  This is one of those recipes.  You won’t find any suspicious health food store ingredients in here – just chocolate, almonds, honey, and a pinch here and there of things you probably already have sitting in your pantry.  And even if you work in an office that houses all breeds of eaters, I defy them all to find a reason to abstain.

 

drizzled and cute

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted generously from Jen

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup almonds (I used lightly salted)

3 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease each cup.

In a food processor, combine chocolate chips and almonds until they have the consistency of coarse sand.  Add eggs, agave, vanilla, and salt; pulse ten seconds or until combined.

Fill each cup to just over 3/4 full.  Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean.  Let cool in pan five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.  Decorate with your favorite frosting, or just drizzle on some melted chocolate like I did.