Cookbooks and cookies

chocolate chip cookieI’ve been listening to a new podcast lately called The Minimalists. Maybe you have heard of it or are listening along as well. The Minimalists is composed of two men living a simple, more meaningful lifestyle based in Montana. I love this podcast for several reasons. For instance, it is more of a conversation with listeners than someone talking at you for an hour or so. It feels as though the hosts are right there with you, instead of thousands of miles away. They also answer a lot of practical questions from listeners that help connect minimalism to everyday life circumstances in which I can easily relate.

Recently on the podcast, The Minimalists brought up the subject of collecting things such as records, DVDs, or so be it. They suggested that collections are essentially equivalent to hoarding. That really stuck with me – I’ve had a lot of collections over the years such as key chains, postcards, Beanie Babies, CD’s, and so forth. While I don’t have many of these things anymore, and they likely did bring value to my life at the time, I would say I’ve reduced most of my belongings to encompass merely one collection nowadays. Cookbooks. I collect, um…I mean hoard, cookbooks. I love a new cookbook, the feeling of breaking open a brand new book with a gorgeous cover, clean and crisp pages, breathtaking photos of food, personal stories by the author, and pages upon pages of new recipes. For these reasons, I much prefer cooking from an actual physical, “hold-in-your-hand” cookbook than anything electronic. If you love cookbooks as much as I do (which you probably do if you are reading this right now) you’d absolutely adore an independently-owned cookbook store in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, The Book Larder, which not only has a plethora of cookbooks, but frequently hosts author talks and book discussions for cookbook authors from across the nation. Unfortunately, this has only fueled my obsession for new cookbooks which seem to be piling up. Here are some of my favorite to date (not pictured: The Sprouted Kitchen and Bowl & Spoon, two of my most referenced):

cookbooks

I am not sure Joshua and Ryan from The Minimalists would approve…but cookbooks are a passion of mine so they couldn’t object too much. However, I feel a little guilty buying new cookbooks all the time, especially when most of the recipes can be accessed online these days. Talk about how the times have changed. I can pretty much find any recipe or dish online in a matter of seconds. Within a few more seconds, I can figure out pretty much any substitution for an ingredients in a recipe and also read a list of reviews to help me decide whether I should go forth and create the recipe in the first place. And while I much prefer cookbooks, I do still find myself accessing a list of sites or food blogchocolate chip cookie 2s online for quite a bit of my everyday cooking (and happen to write one myself…).

In the spirit of The Minimalists, the recipe I am sharing today is actually modified from one of my favorite food blogs, Not a Without Salt, by Ashley Rodriguez. She is famous, at least here in the Pacific Northwest, for her salted chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made these cookies at least a dozen times and adore them immensely. Since discovering some food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, corn, nightshades, etc. I haven’t been able to indulge in the recipe for quite some time. However, I decided to make some modifications and give it a go. I substituted gluten-free flour for all-purpose white and Earth Balance for the butter. I also added in a mix of Theo’s 70% and 85% dark chocolate, roughly chopped in large rustic morsels. The end result was an extremely moist and rich flavored cookie which melted in my mouth and was absolutely worth sharing.

Gluten-Free & Dairy Free, Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Modified from Not Without Salt
Makes approximately 18 cookies (depending on size)

8 oz vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1/4 cup organic, white sugar
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2  eggs
2 tsp vanilla (1/4 oz)
3 1/2 cup All-Purpose Gluten-Free flour (I prefer the Namaste brand from Costco)
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
2 bars of good chocolate (one 75% and one 85% dark chocolate, preferably Theo’s)
a couple pinches of flaky salt (e.g. Maldon) for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 360º F. Prepare a cookie sheet with a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper.

In a large mixer, cream the Earth Balance and the sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium high. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time, and then the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, baking soda and salt.Whisk to combine all of the ingredients. Then, slowly add the flour into the butter and sugar mixture with the machine on low. Mix until just combined and then fold in the chocolate with a spatula. The dough is best when refrigerated for at least 30 minutes.

Once ready to bake, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet in small balls. Flatten the balls just slightly and finish the cookies with a pinch of the flaky sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown on the outside while still soft in the middle.

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