Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

When I was very small, five or six, living in a dusty blue suburban home in Centreville, Virginia, with my parents and my brother and sister (I’ve been to Colorado and Florida, and here I’ve been, back in Virginia, for about eight years now), one of the neighbors came across the street to introduce themselves to my mom. I don’t really remember who she was, though I know my mom would know—a couple who lived on Cristo Court right across from us for a while. She was brunette, and she brought a paper plate of cookies. Cookie bars.

They were delicious.

They still are delicious.

This recipe is still on the back of every package of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate morsels, and I think it’s the first cookie I remember. I reconciled myself entirely with eating gluten-free (celiac disease runs in my family) when I discovered they taste almost the same made with rice flour. If you want them non-gluten-free, just nix the xanthan gum and use white flour instead of rice.

2 1/4 cups brown rice flour (or white flour, for non-gluten-free)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (two sticks, make sure they’ve been let set out or microwaved until they’re soft enough to scootch around and stir)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (squash out all the lumps)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 (12 oz.) package of chocolate chips (I’ve tried Ghiradelli’s semi-sweet, which work fine; Ghiradelli bittersweet, which is not bad but too tangy and complicated for me to prefer it; and Nestle semi-sweet, which is cheaper and ye olde standby)
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans are my favorite, but walnuts are cheaper. You can put them on top instead of mixing them in, too)
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (nix this if you’re using white flour)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients (rice, sugars, xanthan, baking soda, salt—but not the chips and nuts) together.

Mix butter and sugar in a separate bowl, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix, and then add the dry ingredients. Mix those all together (watch the brown sugar, I spend time chasing around any lumps and crushing them out), and then mix in the chips and nuts.

Spread out in a 9×13 glass pan sprayed with Pam or otherwise oiled. It’ll seem a bit thin in the pan, but that’s okay; just make sure you don’t leave any “holes” where the pan bottom shows through.

Bake for 20-25 mins., depending on how you like your consistency or your oven runs. I go for the low end (about 21 mins.), because I like them still slightly soft in the center. The high end makes them drier, and a bit crunchy around the edges.

EAT THEM. EAT THEM ALL. These last me . . . way too short a period of time. Oh, and my mother just made some with sour cream and ground hazelnuts instead of whole nuts, and they’re not bad, either. More of the tang of sour cream, and a smoother consistency. My mother also said that she used to make cookie bars all the time for us when we were little because we were at that we-have-no-teeth phase (losing all our baby teeth, and the adult ones not grown in), and they were soft enough to eat

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