Monday, November 16, 2015

Gluten Free, Chocolate Shortbread Cookies With CocoaPlanet Chocolate Ganache Icing. PS: They Can Be Vegan Too!

   This is cookie season, aka, The Holidays. No matter what you're celebrating there's always room for a cookie or two, and this is a cookie recipe that can be enjoyed by anyone no matter what their dietary requirements.

   I've been working with the folks at CocoaPlanet for a couple of years now and I'm thoroughly in love with their chocolate. Because the owners of the business cannot eat gluten, their chocolate is entirely gluten free, lactose free, non GMO, and fair trade. Anne McKibben, the creator of CocoaPlanet is of French ancestry, and learned chocolate making from her mom. This stuff is GOOD! Seriously old school. They're opening their CocoaPlanet factory here in Sonoma next January and it's also going to house a cafe and also garden dining where one can do chocolate tastings and grab a meal at the same time. I'm working with them developing gluten free and vegan dishes for the menu. This is the most fun food assignment I've had in quite a while.
   One of the things I've come up with for CocoaPlanet are these chocolate shortbread cookies. They're easy to make at home. The dough keeps well in the fridge or freezer when properly wrapped which makes them perfect for last minute holiday guests. They can also be made vegan, with one simple shortening change. This recipe uses butter, but one can easily switch that out for any vegan shortening. I've been making quite a few batches of these while we've been "testing" (technical word for pigging out) them. This is a delicious and easily made cookie, so in case you can't get out to CocoaPlanet in person, you can buy their chocolate and make these at home. In fact all of the ingredients are easily found at any Whole Foods or natural foods market.

Gluten Free Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Here's What You Need:
For the Cookies
2 cups plus 4 Tbsp of teff flour
12 Tbsp white rice flour
1/2 cup of good quality dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature or an equal amount (1 cup) of vegan shortening
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt

For the Ganache 
1/2 cup of whipping cream, or full fat coconut milk
10 oz of CocoaPlanet Mandarin Orange Chocolate.

Here's What to Do: 

Mix together the rice flour and teff flour. I always keep a container of this rice flour/ teff flour mix in the house ever since Alice Medrich came to lunch at our place and turned me on to it. As Alice has pointed out in her book Flavor Flours, Teff flour is a killer mix with chocolate. This stuff is a good thing to have around if you are a gluten free chocolate lover.

Scoop out 1 and 1/2 cups of the teff / rice flour mix you made.
Sift this flour mix together with the cocoa powder, and kosher salt and set it aside.

In an electric mixer or with a hand mixer beat the butter or shortening for about 4 minutes or until it's nice and fluffy.

Add in the sugar.

Beat it for about another 2 minutes.
Adjust your speed to low and add in the flour cocoa mixture.

Mix it together on a low speed until everything in combined and the dough sticks together.
Lay down some waxed paper.
Place the cookie dough on it and shape it into a disc.

Lay more waxed paper on top and flatten the dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick. I do this because the dough is going to be cut with a cookie cutter when it's firm.

Place the cookie dough into the fridge to firm up. This takes about 1 hour.

You can also roll the dough into a log shape and wrap it in waxed paper. Doing it that way allows you to just cut pieces off the log and bake them whenever you'd like. 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
After the dough has firmed up, take it from the fridge and smooth it out a bit with a rolling pin to get it to the thickness you'd like. Always keep waxed paper between the dough and the rolling pin so nothing sticks.
Place a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet.
Using a small round cookie or biscuit cutter, punch out round cookies and place them about an inch apart on the sheet. They will spread while baking.

You want them to be about this thick.

When they're all on the cookie sheet place them in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Take them out and let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes or so and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile mix the Ganache according to this recipe.
When the cookies have cooled ice them on one half of one side.

Place them on a cooling rack so the ganache can set.

Don't refrigerate these cookies, just keep them in an airtight container to store them. You likely won't be keeping them too long, as these don't last especially around kids! Here's a delicate serving suggestion..but who am I kidding?

Just reach in a grab a fistful. Your gluten free/ vegan friends will thank you, and those that aren't will never know the difference unless you tell them. Right now there's only one place to get these and that's my house..but as soon as CocoaPlanet opens here in Sonoma...they'll be on the menu.

   We're pretty excited here about another project we're doing that's going to be coming up on the day after Thanksgiving aka Black Friday when The Colors of Indian Cooking comes to the Ferry Building in San Francisco courtesy of Steve Sando and Rancho Gordo Beans.... details very soon.
 Coming up next. Winter vegetables and Indian comfort food. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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