• The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies & Gluten Free Almond Power Bars

    by Ellen on February 6, 2011 · 39 comments

    It’s Adopt-A-Gluten Free Blogger time again. Sea, of the widely read and popular gluten free blog called Book of Yum, sponsors this event every month. This month she has twenty-one bloggers participating. Big kudos to Sea for assuming such a huge undertaking. I am grateful that she puts forth the energy to help us learn about so many amazing and talented gluten free bloggers.

    After missing out on adopting her last month, I got in line early to make sure I wouldn’t miss adopting Elana from Elana’s Pantry. This woman is a force to be reckoned with, and I say that with the utmost respect. In addition to teaching us about Honeyville Almond Flour, Elana has a vast library of fabulous recipes and tips on how to use almond flour on her blog. I would highly recommend that you make a date with Elana’s Pantry. And if you haven’t added her two books to your library of gluten free cookbooks, make a beeline for amazon and add them to your collection of gluten free resources. I own and love the first one - The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook – it is earmarked and stained from using it so much. Her new cookbook, Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour is guaranteed to be a homerun, if her first book is any indication. You can pre-order it – the release date is April 26.

    The first recipe that I want to share with you is for Elana’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies. Other than halving it and making a few teeny tiny changes, I was faithful to Elana’s recipe. That counts as being faithful, right?! Halving it made 15 cookies. These are off the charts fantastic, people, I mean it. And they came together in a New York minute. I have a couple of recipes on my blog for gluten free chocolate chip cookies (here and here), but Elana’s recipe is easier than either of my recipes, and just as good! In fact, the almond flour gives these cookies a certain something that makes them stand really stand out in a crowd. If there was an award for the best gluten free chocolate cookie recipe, Elana would be the winner, hands down. Um, can you tell I absolutely love these cookies? Here are my two tiny tweaks:

    1. I didn’t have any agave nectar, so I used 1/4 cup of coconut sugar and 5 drops of NuNaturals pure liquid clear stevia. Before you run for the hills, let me tell you that I was skeptical about using stevia. On its’ own, it is so sweet, even an itty bitty drop of it is astonishingly sweet. But in this recipe, it is totally masked by all of the other ingredients.
    2. I used Trader Joe’s chocolate chips.

    Couple of things….first, I love these cookies chilled. They’re probably just as good at room temperature, but I tend to like my cookies chilled, especially if they contain chocolate. Second, I ordered a batch of almond flour from Honeyville, but as of yesterday, it hadn’t arrived, so I decided to make my own almond flour. It was a bit more time-consuming than I thought it would be, but I’m really glad I did it. I so enjoyed making it that I’m going to do a whole post on it, complete with video. I think it’ll be fun to teach you how to do it. Of course, keep supporting Honeyville, if you can swing the dough to buy their almond flour – it really is superior in my opinion to some of its’ competitors. But for those of you looking to save money, making it from scratch is very manageable.

    The second recipe that I want to share with you is for Elana’s Gluten Free Almond Power Bars. I’ve been on the hunt for a power bar that I can eat before I go to the gym in the morning. Something that will tide me over and give me energy to get through the challenging spin classes I take. Elana’s Gluten Free Almond Power Bar fits the bill. I suppose the chocolate takes it out of the category of power bars. But that wouldn’t stop me. There’s enough good stuff in it to make up for any naughtiness caused by the chocolate, if it’s even naughty in the first place, which in my book, ahem, it isn’t.

    This recipe is so versatile. Don’t have almonds? Use walnuts. No creamy roasted almond butter (I get mine from Costco)? Use peanut butter. Don’t have agave syrup? Use maple syrup. Want a little color? Add dried cranberries. You can make it your own by varying the substitutions, though certainly, the first time, make it according to Elana’s recipe. That way you’ll get a feel for the basic template after which you can begin customizing it to suit your own whims.

    Thank you Elana, for opening up our eyes to the vast possibilities almond flour gives us. You are a pioneer and I can’t wait to get your new gluten free cookbook!!!

    Past Adopt-A-Gluten Free Blogger events that I’ve participated in include Kim of cook It allergy free, Tia of Glugle Gluten Free, and Carol of Simply Gluten Free.

    { 38 comments… read them below or add one }

    Wendy February 6, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Gotta try those Power Bars. Everything I've tried from Elana has been delicious and those chocolate chip cookies are the best. Great adoption.

    Reply

    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I concur Wendy! Elana's recipes are always spot on.

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    kellyc4 February 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    would you mind sharing how you made your almond flour? I have a vitamix and I would love to try making my own almond flour. thanks for a great post! I would love to try those power bars!

    Reply

    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Sure. I'll give you a basic rundown, but stay tuned, as I'm going to do a post about it soon, with video.

    I soaked the raw almonds overnight (about 8 hours). Then I blanched them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Next part was kind of labor-intensive, but once I got into the zen of it, it was actually fun – I drained the almonds into a colander, rinsed them under cold water for a minute, then I took one almond in each hand and squeezed off the skin and then dropped them back into the colander. That took about 15 minutes. Then I dehydrated the blanched almonds for about 1 hour, then I used my vitamix (I alternated with my Magic Bullet which I actually liked better as it was easier to get the ground flour out of it) to ground the almonds. After doing that, I found that the ground almond flour was still kind of damp, so I dehydrated it for another 30 min – 1 hr. Because I wanted my almond flour to be as fine as possible, I ran it through the blender again. This is a very basic overview – I have more ideas and tips, but again, I'll post about that in an upcoming post.

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    kellyc4 February 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    thanks for the tips and Il ook forward to the video! I have a dehydrator too and I wouldn't have thought to dehydrate them and grind a second time.

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    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    You're welcome. And just for the record, in rereading my process, I'm wondering if I could've skipped the first dehydrating step, gone right from blanching to blending in the vitamix (or magic bullet), and then dehydrated them. The only concern I might have is that it might be hard to get them to blend without a whole lot of clumping because of their dampness from blanching them. Seems like a whole lot of steps, but the end result was so delightful, I must admit! I really had a great feeling of accomplishment, and I used the almond flour for Elana's Chocolate Chip Cookies which came out great!!

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    kellyc4 February 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    well that is the problem I run into is the clumping and it seems like you are on to something with dehydrating them.

    Alta February 7, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Great adoption! I have made elanas cookies before and they are great.

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    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    It was fun to adopt Elana – though challenging too, only because there were so many darn recipes on her blog that sounded good. It was hard to decide!

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    Alisa Fleming February 7, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Oh my gosh, yum! You are making me crave cookies a the wrong time of day :)

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    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Ya' know, Alisa, I actually don't feel like I'm eating anything too naughty (if you know what I mean) – I mean, the ingredients are pretty darn healthy. Well, for the most part they are pretty darn healthy:).

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    Cook It Allergy Free February 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Ahh!! I love Elana's cookies and power bars too (along with all of her recipes that I have tried). What a great adoption, Ellen! And I love love those chocolate chip cookies of hers cold. I keep them in the freezer and eat them straight from it. I do not dare warm them up! They are just too good cold! ;)

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    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    If I put them in the freezer, I mean deep in the freezer, would I eat less of them?:)

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    Nela February 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Have you tried the Chia seed flour? It's like the flour of wheat but not gluten and taste completely normal. You can substitute the regular flour in recipes like cake, muffing, or cookies. I have used it and my kids love chocolate chip cookies. It is an excellent product and offers Nuchia Foods. http://www.nuchiafoods.com

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    Barb February 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I'm looking forward to the post. Can you include how to dehydrate them if you don't have a dehydrator?

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    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Absolutely. I used both a dehydrator and a very low oven (200 degrees). I'll explain that in a later post. Thanks Barb!

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    TheWHOLEGangLLC February 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I love Elana's recipes. I've not made these power bars but I will now! Thank you!

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    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Like all of Elana's recipes that I've made thus far, this one is a winner. I cut them up into individual portions, wrapped them in foil, and froze them. That way I won't nibble them and finish the whole pan in a few days:).

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    Elana February 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Ellen,

    Thanks for adopting me!

    xo Elana

    Reply

    Gluten Free Diva February 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    You're most welcome Elana! The only challenge was trying to decide which of your vast library of recipes to make! Keep up the good work – we are most appreciative!

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    housewifingaround February 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Love your site. Will have to check it out and try a recipe. I am intimidated by gluten-free baking. So many ingredients and very little energy to clean up, but I will find an easy on and share with at blog, whether it turns out a success or not lol. Thanks for sharing.
    housewifingaround.wordpress.com

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    Gluten Free Diva March 28, 2011 at 1:23 am

    You're most welcome. Glad you stopped by. Keep in touch, ok? I love making new blog friends!

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    Jessica February 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Wow these just look marvelous! I think the combination of flours, flavors and that chocolate is just yummmm :) I am so picky when it comes to power bar type foods, so I am excited to give this a try. Thanks!

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    Gluten Free Diva February 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Yes, me too. I'm very picky. I much prefer to make power bars homemade than buy the expensive packaged ones. And these are really good!

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    Gluten Free Diva February 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you Jessica! Yes do give them a try. I have a funny feeling you'll like them! Glad you stopped by to say hello and leave a comment. I love building community like this!

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    Shirley @ gfe February 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Fantastic adoption, Ellen! You did a beautiful job with Elana's recipes … we're all salivating here and some of us are thinking back to both BlogHer Food conferences when she fed us her chocolate chip cookies. :-) Now those power bars, oh my! Thank goodness my new bag of Honeyville almond flour just arrived. I was so tickled to see their new packaging, which included Elana's recipe right on the bag. Way cool!

    xo,
    Shirley

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    Gluten Free Diva February 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, Shirley. That first bite, at blogher, was what got me hooked. And the power bars – well, I think anything Elana does is magic, so I was immediately sold even before I made them. My bag of Honeville almond flour arrived yesterday, so now I'm back in business. Though I still have some of my homemade almond flour stash left. Many, that stuff is like gold!

    Yes, and how cool that Elana's chocolate chip cookie recipe is on the Honeyville almond flour bag. Totally way cool!!!!

    xo, Ellen

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    Angie Halten February 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I've never really found a good recipe for gluten free power bars that I've liked and I think I just hit gold with this Almond power bar recipe! Thanks so much, this is just the snack I've been needing for those long road trips.

    Angie.

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    Gluten Free Diva February 16, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    So glad you like them Angie. This morning, I grabbed one out of the freezer and ate it on the way to the gym, frozen (the bar, not me!). Oh my, it was delicious, even frozen!

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    Iris February 17, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Everything looks delicious! I'm still trying to figure out the solutions to baking desserts with stevia too, but it's definitely fun to experiment!

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    Gluten Free Diva March 28, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Yeah, stevia is a whole other animal. I'm still working on it, too. The few times I've used it, I've been very pleased!

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    sea February 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Ooh, Ellen, those power bars look amazing! I must make them! Yum, yum! I'm a big fan of Elana's chocolate chip cookies and scones and, well, practically everything. Great adoption!

    -Sea

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    Gluten Free Diva March 28, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Thanks Sea. Everything I've ever tried of Elana's has been a super hit!

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    Valerie@CityLifeEats February 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Ellen, I adopted Elana this month because you beat me to it last month :) ironically, I wanted to make her almond power bars too! You just further convinced me. I made them yesterday and am loving them.

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    Gluten Free Diva March 28, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Oh yes, they are sensational. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!

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    kirsten February 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Both of these treats would be super after a work out. A nice way to re energize!

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    Gluten Free Diva March 28, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Yes, yes, yes. I have them in my freezer and wouldn't be without them! I always have one before my spinning class at the gym.

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    Gluten Free Diva February 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    None of the videos or other online resources mentioned the dampness of the almonds after they were blanched. It just seemed to make sense to dry them out. I actually did some of them in the dehydrator and some in a very low oven (200 degrees) – both dried it out nicely. But I think you have to catch it before they get too dried out or else the end result will be dry almond flour!

    Reply

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