Yowza!  Say that 10 times fast!  You know one of the problems I have whenever I go abroad is trying to explain to people the character of Seattle.  For some reason ‘granola’ just doesn’t translate into Macedonian. (Or Russian, or Kazakh…)  The other problem I have is finding the ingredients to satisfy my own literal granola cravings–not the same thing as museli people–as well as finding the ingredients to satisfy my not so literal but equally strong granola cravings, like these delicious gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies.  When I was in college at the University of Washington in Seattle, our sorority was a few blocks away from a hole in the wall wheat free and vegan bakery.  I mean this in the most literal sense, on your way in to another (vegan) cafe, there was literally a hole in the wall where someone was selling all sorts of wheat free and vegan goodies.  Neither my roommate nor I  had celiac disease, nor were we actually vegan, but like any good Seattle-ite, we had a great appreciation for anything a little granola.  So, whenever we got a hankering for some delicious vegan goodness, we would swing by the Flying Apron for a tasty treat…my favorite was the berry corn disk, a coarse cornbread round topped with delicious fresh berries.

Now, what once was a little hole in the wall in the U District has become a full fledged cafe and bakery in Fremont.  I also read on their website recently that they have a new location in Redmond, and of course you can find their goodies at a number of shops through out the Seattle area, especially at PCC and Whole Foods.   The Flying Apron‘s new location is great for all of us, because now you can go in and actually sit down and enjoy their baked goods along side a cup of coffee, or pop in for a vegan pizza or cup of soup for lunch!

The last time I was home for Christmas, in 2010, my mom took my to Fremont for my obligatory stop at the Flying Apron.  As I carefully studied the contents of their bakery case, something even better than a chai cupcake or a vegan gingerbread man caught my eye– the Flying Apron’s new cookbook!  This is hands down the most used/loved/spilled up on cookbook in my kitchen.  You can easily tell my favorite recipes (berry corn muffins, chocolate chip cookies, sweet tahinis, basic bread dough, lentil soup) from the stains on the pages and the way a few pages are a bit wrinkly from moisture.

As good as the recipes in this book are, I usually end up altering them a little to fit what I have on hand, and the personal tastes of our house.  I definitely recommend reading Jennifer’s recommendations and tips for gluten free cooking, because many of the recipes work differently that the traditional recipes that most of us are used to.  To these cookies, I added pecans and swapped a little almond butter for some of the oil.  I also subbed almond for rice milk.

These cookies are a little difficult to describe.  I want to say that they turn out a bit more like a regular (non-chewy) chips ahoy cookie, rather than a traditional (to my house) gooey homemade chocolate chip cookie, but that description doesn’t really do them justice.  The texture of these cookies is soft yet the tiniest bit crumbly, while the chocolate chips still melt to be deliciously warm and gooey.  The pecans lend a nice toothiness, and the almond butter adds a certain hearty complexity to the overall flavor.  If you are looking for a gluten free and vegan identical replica of your favorite traditionally made chocolate chip cookie, I can’t tell you whether or not this is it.  I can tell you that these cookies are absolutely delicious and the last batch that I made lasted less that 48 hours!

Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Jennifer Katzinger’s cookbook, Flying Apron’s Gluten-free and Vegan Baking Book

Ingredients

2 3/4 cup brown rice flour

1 1/2 cup chickpea flour (This time I used a chickpea/fava bean blend)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup almond butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup almond milk

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (If you aren’t actually vegan, feel free to sub regular chocolate chips)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or in a big bowl with a wooden spoon, thoroughly combine oil, almond butter, sugar and vanilla.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and rice milke alternately.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  The dough will feel a little heavier and stickier that ‘normal’ chocolate chip cookie dough, and you may be thinking to yourself, ‘this will never work.’  However, you must persevere!  Shape the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls and place evenly on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. I used a cookie/ice cream scoop for this step, which produced nice evenly sized, round cookies.  Wet your hands a little and slightly press down on each cookie to flatten.  Bake for about 12-14 minutes.