There are only so many ways to bake a cookie. Whether using wheat flour or grain-free options, there's no need to reinvent the
wheel chocolate chip cookie. These paleo chocolate chip cookies are as close to the classic as you can get, and a great way to begin your paleo baking journey.
Grain-free + paleo-style baking
If you've landed here, you are most likely in search of a recipe sans processed flours and refined sugars. Which is where we begin: replacements for wheat flour.
My favorite easy-to-find grain-free flour options
Thanks to the movement toward a less-processed life, bakers have a plethora of gluten and grain-free flours to choose from nowadays. Cassava, sorghum, tigernut flour - the list goes on and on.
However, many are only available online, and cost a pretty penny at that. Here are my favorites that can be found in most nationwide grocery stores from thoughtful brands like Bob's Red Mill:
- Fine-ground almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Tapioca flour/starch (not modified)
- Arrowroot starch
For a great paleo chocolate chip cookie, start with the classic
If I'm craving a chocolate chip cookie, I want it to taste as like my great-grandmother's cookies. AKA in the vain of the beloved, original recipe from Nestlé Tollhouse. Coconut flour lends a lovely flavor and is great for structure. But personally, I don't want it dominating my numero uno comfort food.
In baking too many batches, I found tapioca flour to provide the best copycat texture as traditional cookies. While not necessarily hard-core paleo, I love the crumb and texture it creates, and its lack of strong flavor.
How tapioca flour is made
Tapioca flour is a product of the cassava root. The root of the cassava plant is peeled, chopped, washed and spun until it becomes a starchy pulp. The pulp of the shredded root is dried, and that is tapioca flour.
Yes, still processed. But a much less inflammatory ingredient than conventional white wheat flour. And you're using MUCH less here, compared to a recipe that calls for wheat flour only.
Baking paleo chocolate chip cookies with less sugar
White sugar as we know it earned the nickname "white death" for a reason. It's inflammatory, and it spikes insulin levels in healthy people, let alone those who struggle with obesity. Consuming it in excess can lead to a host of chronic illnesses, Type 2 Diabetes the most common.
For all these reasons and more, I shun conventional white sugar on principle. If you do need it on occasion (and who doesn't), organic is my recommendation. And for routine baking - especially when my kids will partake - I use coconut sugar or honey.
Any form of sugar is broken down to the same basic molecules by your body. But the less refined and chemically-processed, the better.
Paleo chocolate chip cookie ingredients
- Fine-ground almond flour
- Tapioca or arrowroot starch (or a smaller amount of coconut flour)
- Baking soda
- Avocado oil or ghee (or simply butter if the small amount of milk solids don't bother you)
- Coconut sugar or honey
- Vanilla extract (can't forget vanilla!)
The role of eggs in any chocolate chip cookie recipe
Many high-ranked recipes for grain-free cookies are lacking in the eggs department. The protein (albumin) in the egg white coagulates at oven temperatures, and provides amazing structure to baked goods. #bakingisscience
When baking with less starchy flours, structure is a hot commodity. In any classic cookie recipe, standard, proven ratios call for one egg per cup of flour. This is true for paleo-style, gluten-free and grain-free recipes. So use one egg for every cup of flour of any kind.
Any chef's secret for great cookies every time
For any cookie, pie crust or shortbread, you won't meet a chef who will mix the batter and bake straight away. See: The Great British Baking Show. So much drama about dough not getting cold enough in the time allotted.
Especially if you choose avocado or coconut oil for dairy-free cookies, chilling the dough before scooping and baking is non-negotiable. Cold, solid butter and oil will melt slower, and prevent a super-spreader event in your oven. And help give you a glorious crumb akin to grandma's.
Because there's no need to reinvent the chocolate chip cookie here. Just a few of the ingredients.
Yours in cookies,
Naturally gluten and dairy free, these chocolate chip cookies can take you back to your childhood. See the notes for how to make paleo chocolate chunks at home.
- 1½ cups fine-ground almond flour
- ¾ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (½ teaspoon if using table salt)
- 3 ounces grass-fed butter, softened (or ghee or coconut oil chilled to the texture of room temperature butter)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar or ⅓ cup honey
- 2 large eggs, local or free range recommended
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks*
Mix + chill dough
- Whisk together flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
- Beat pastured butter, ghee or coconut oil with coconut sugar or honey in a large bowl until combined.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla into butter/sugar mixture.
- Add dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring or beating with a mixer to blend.
- Fold in chocolate chunks or chips with a spatula.
- Chill until cold, at least two hours (the waiting is worth it!).
- With an ice cream scoop with a release or two spoons, scoop same-sized balls of dough onto a greased, non-stick or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Spacing them two inches apart.
- Bake cookies 8-10 minutes at 350° F, just until set and beginning to brown around the edges. For a crispier cookie, bake a few minutes longer.
- Cool a couple minutes on the baking pan, then transfer to a rack or plate.
- Store covered as long as they last, or freeze.
For Homemade Paleo-style Chocolate Chips
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment paper.
- Chop two 8-ounce bars of unsweetened chocolate.
- Combine chocolate with 4 ounces of coconut sugar in a small pot over low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Pour into baking pan, and chill.
- Lift parchment with sweetened chocolate from pan, and chop chocolate into small chunks.
- Dough can be refrigerated for about two weeks, or frozen for a couple of months.
For GAPS Diet Chocolate Chips
Follow the steps above, but in place of the coconut sugar, use 2 ounces/¼ cup raw honey.
Keywords: paleo chocolate chip cookies, grain-free chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookies with almond flour, paleo desserts, GAPS cookies
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