Friday, August 7, 2009

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe - Take 2

Sometimes even a great recipe needs a few changes.

These cookies were one of the first successful gluten free recipes I created. This recipe was originally posted in November 2007. The recipe has since won a gluten free baking contest, sparked chocolate chip cookie debates on the Gluten Free Recipe Swap Group, and been a great conversational dessert for gluten eating friends.

Yet, despite how good the cookies are, I have received quite a few emails from readers who had trouble making them. A few of the problems people have encountered:

- the cookies spread
- some people do not want to use Crisco for nutritional reasons
- the cookies turned out too gooey in the middle
- the cookies did not puff up, etc…

So... I’ve made some changes.

I’ve worked with this recipe for over 2 years and I’ve changed an ingredient, updated the technique of forming the cookies and I hope I’ve come up with a recipe that will bake up beautifully for you!

The original recipe is still the base. As a matter of fact I’ve only changed one ingredient. BUT… the method of baking is slightly different.

  • When spooning the cookie dough onto the baking sheet only use about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie. It doesn't sound like much, but the cookies will spread just enough to make a round 1"-2" cookie.
  • When you are baking these cookies I highly recommend using a silpat mat or a sheet of parchment paper. Unfortunately no matter how you create them… gluten free baked goods just stick. Parchment paper (or a silpat mat) not only prevents the cookies from sticking, but it helps them to spread into their proper cookie shape.
  • I also leave the cookies undisturbed on the parchment paper or mat after baking for about 20 minutes before putting them on a wire rack to finish cooling. This helps the cookies to cool into their shapes and helps the cookie structure “stay put.”

As far as the ingredient change, I started using Spectrum Palm shortening as the “fat” in the recipe. Unlike Crisco, the Spectrum Palm oil is completely free of trans-fats. Spectrum is organic and is 100% expeller pressed palm oil. I’ve found (after making these cookies many times) that you only need half the amount of palm oil compared to the Crisco. So while Spectrum Palm Shortening is more expensive, you’ll only use half as much!

Are you ready to try the *new* best gluten free chocolate chip cookies ever? I want to hear about your results!! Please email me at gingerlemongirl (at) gmail (dot) com or post a comment below!

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Created by Carrie @
(Free of gluten, casein, and soy)

Wet Ingredients:
1/4 cup Spectrum Palm Shortening
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup tapioca flour -or- arrowroot starch (lately I've only been using arrowroot)
1/2 cup sorghum flour -or- millet flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Add In's:
6 oz. gluten free or allergen free chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl: cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together flours, salt, xanthan gum (opt.), baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture. Lastly, mix in chocolate chips. Place tablespoon sized dough portions 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Bake 7-9 minutes or JUST UNTIL edges are light brown.

(The cookies WILL NOT look completely cooked when you pull them out of the oven! That's what you want! That's part of the secret to these awesome cookies! DO NOT overbake them!)

Allow cookies to cool undisturbed on parchment paper or silpat mat on the cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. Then move cookies to wire baking rack to continue cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container on the counter.

This recipe doubles easily.

(Printer-friendly recipe.)

Carrie's Cooking Notes:

  • Xanthan gum is completely optional in this recipe, but I think adding just a tiny bit makes for a chewier gluten-free cookie and helps the cookie to retain its proper shape!
  • Egg Free option: If you cannot have eggs, simply use 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water to replace the egg in this recipe. It still makes fantastic gluten free (egg free!) chocolate chip cookies!
  • Sorghum flour -or- millet flour: I love both of these gluten free flours. Some people detect a bitter taste in sorghum flour, if that is the case for you, I definitely recommend using millet flour. It does not have a distinct taste and works beautifully in these cookies! The only downfall to using millet is it may create a very slight "grainy" texture in the cookies.
  • Use of other "sugars" in this recipe: I don't recommend using a different type of sugar in this recipe. The basic white granulated sugar and brown sugar are very important for the structure of these cookies. Other sugars such as turbinado, demerera, or date sugar may not work correctly in the cookies when baking.
  • Other fats: You can use other fats in this recipe such as 1/4 cup coconut oil, or butter... but you may not get the same crisp results as you get with the Spectrum Palm Shortening. I recommend trying the cookies with the palm shortening first.

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  1. I can't resist a chocolate chip cookie, and these look fabulous. I'll have to give them a try. I've got everything except the palm shortening. Time to shopping. :)

  2. Excuse me while I drool! These look great, Carrie.

  3. Heather -- I hope you can find the Spectrum shortening! I've found it in most health food stores and higher end grocery stores! Let me know how you like them!

    Debbie -- Thanks girl!! You always leave the nicest comments! ;-) We've got to meet up someday!!

  4. Yum - The cookies look amazing, I hope that they've got the shortening in Canada =D. I love the photos as well!

  5. Is Spectrum shortening gluten free?

    I've been using coconut oil in the cookies and I've had no problems with the cookies sticking ...

  6. Lauren -- thanks gal! I hope they sell Spectrum in Canada! I'll try to find out for you!

    Talia -- YES, Spectrum is definitely gluten free!! I wouldn't use it if it had a spec of gluten in it! It's 100% expeller pressed palm oil.

    I love using coconut oil in my baking as well, but I didn't like the result it produced in my cookies. The cookies were good but did not have the crisp texture I liked that the shortening gives them! But if coconut oil works for you, than by all means use it! ;-)

  7. YUM!! I made these for concessions at the play my daughter is in - only homemade item there AND, only gluten-free item there. Did have 1 person say she could not have anything since she was celiac. She was beyond thrilled when I told her I made the gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (though I also added cocoa nibs since can't have nuts, but the nibs give a nutty taste). No one else knew they were gluten free and they were the first to go. Was asked to make them for the remainder of the showings, too!! THANK YOU!!!

  8. I would love to meet up with you, too! ~Debbie

  9. Dan -- you are SO welcome!! Made my night! I'm so glad the cookies were a hit at your daughter's play!! I really think they are indistinguishable from a "wheat" based cookie. I'm thrilled they worked so well for you! Thank you so much for letting me know!!

  10. Carrie- these look absolutely amazing. Definitely giving these a go... what with someone in my life to be baking for and all.

  11. Hi Carrie,

    I made these last night and they came out wonderfully. Really a nice improvement over the last version of this recipe. I too always had problems with them spreading too much and ending up more as crumbs. The new ingredients and instructions did just the trick!

    Thanks again,

  12. Lovesgarlic -- YAY!!I'm so glad this rendition of the recipe worked for you!! That makes my day!! ;-) Thank you so much for letting me know!

    Megan -- Who are you cooking for? What did i miss? ;-P

  13. I didn't think it was possible to make great chocolate chip cookies without Crisco...which I refuse to buy.

    I can't wait to try these. Yum!! Off to get some Spectrum shortening.

  14. Congrats on winning the contest! Good for you!! I so appreciate all of the details because they help so much, not only when making this recipe but all recipes in general. Good baking is just good baking.

  15. I am surprised you don't recommend refridgerating the dough on the cookie prevents them from spreading as much, and is even a technique recommended for regular cookie baking.

  16. I love me some good chocolate chip cookies...I'll definitely be giving this one a try! You have such great tips...very clear on the instructions. Good on ya!

  17. Amy -- Thanks gal! I appreciate your wonderful comments! I just love to bake! Wish I had more time to do it!!

    Marisa -- Thanks for your comment on refrigerating the dough. Actually I have tried doing this and I don't find it to be extremely useful with gluten free cookies. I think the properties of the dough are so very different from wheat based products that it just works differently in baking!

    MrsMcKracken -- Thank you!! I'm glad the instructions are helpful to you! I look forward to browsing through your blog! ;-)

  18. There can never be enough chocolate chip cookie recipes! One can spend the rest of one's life testing them all out, trying to find the absolutely perfect chocolate chip cookie ... not a bad avocation I say. ;-)

    I like the changes you made. I don't want to use Crisco either, but I haven't tried Palm shortening yet. I've tried to eat more dairy free in addition to gluten free, but without buying "special" ingredients. I want to try this recipe though. Oh, and I agree on the granulated sugar and brown sugar often being critical to the success of a chocolate chip cookie. I know I couldn't make my favorite (well, current favorite) chocolate chip cookie without them.

    Thanks for being willing to do all of this experimentation for us!


  19. I just made these cookies tonight (just ate the first one) and they are seriously delicious!! Very, very good recipe.

    I was reluctant to take them out of oven because, like you said, they didn't look done, but after nearly 20 minutes cooling, they are perfect.

    Great recipe!

  20. I have been gluten-free for about 2 months now. I used to be a pastry chef and I bake alot! So when I saw this recipe I got really excited to try it!

    Unfortunately I experienced a very bad taste in the raw dough and baked cookie, which I have narrowed down to the tapioca flour.
    It has the most foul flavor, almost like bad breath! It's just not for me. Other than that, this was a decent replica of a toll-house style choc chip cookies. Good job on the recipe. Maybe I will try it again sometime with a substitution for the tapioca flour.

  21. CLOblog -- YES, Tapioca starch/flour can go rancid quickly!! If you don't trust it try using arrowroot starch, sweet rice flour, or cornstarch! So sorry that you had a bad experience! I always taste my tapioca starch before mixing it with flours to make sure it has not gone rancid! Always store fresh tapioca starch in the fridge to extend the shelf life. I've also found that many cheap brands (NOT ALL) from Asian markets can often be rancid even when you buy them, so you may want to stick with more reputable brands like Bob's Red Mill. Hope this helps and I hope you will try the cookies again!

  22. I didn't even think that it might be rancid! that could definitely have been the problem. I purchased everything that same day from my local whole foods store and it was bob's red mill brand, but I don't know how fresh it was. I don't think that many people do gluten free baking from scratch.

    Thanks for the reply, I will try it again with another starch or try and order the tapioca from somewhere.


  23. So far, so good! I used butter for shortening, and used raw (unprocessed) organic sugar, AND fresh toasted macadamia nuts from a tree in our 'hood, but followed your lead in all other ways. They look AMAZING... NEWS FLASH! They ARE amazing! Great texture: crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside. Classic! The key is not overbaking, and letting them sit for that important (though l-o-n-g 10 minutes out of the oven)!! Thanks, Ginger-Lemon Grrl!

  24. I have used my Pampered Chef baking stones to bkae these and I've never had them stick. I also use half butter and half shortening or all butter. I also chill the dough for about 30 minutes before I scoop and bake the cookies. Helps reduce the spreading and the grainy mouth feel from the rice flour.

  25. Thank you so much for this recipe, Carrie! I went back on wheat after a year of gluten free but now, 3 years, 1 rash that wouldn't budge, and tons of digestive issues later I'm back to gluten free!
    I've been fine eating "low carb" for the first month or so of going gf but boy am I starting to crave Chocolate Chip Cookies! I remembered how AMAZING your cookies were and found this post by googling. Thanks so much for sharing!

  26. Stayhomemyheart - Thank you SO much!! I'm so glad you left a comment today!! I hope the cookies are just as good as you remember them!! Welcome back to being gluten free!

  27. Rarely do I swear, but, these cookies are F%&*ing glorious!! Best gluten free choco chip cookies out there and the fam agrees : )

  28. these cookies are AMAZING. I didn't have the shortening on hand, so I used butter instead. this recipe used all of the flours I have been wanting to combine into a chocolate chip recipe of my own...and I do NOT need to do a recipe of my own! I am stopping here!

    the cookies are also "husband approved," which is saying A LOT. my husband hates the grit of most gluten-free cookies, but he said, and I quote "these are @#*!ing amazing!" enough said.

  29. Lisa - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! You really made my evening! I love your husband!! How awesome! Honestly that was my husband's reaction to these cookies when I first made them for him too!! That is so cool! I'm so so so glad you guys liked them! Thank you so much for letting me know!

  30. Hi Carrie,
    This whole GF and LF diet has been difficult. So far your recipes taste the best, like normal yummy food! (I have a hard core sweet tooth.)
    But a problem I've been having difficulty with is the cookies are spreading out to much then sinking and shriveling. I've also had the same problem with the biscotti. Any tips?

  31. I made these yesterday. Hands down the BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever had...gluten free or not. We are ok with dairy, so I used 1/2 butter and 1/2 spectrum shortening. I also used semi-sweet chocolate chips. AMAZING. I have not been able to stay out of them. Thank you!

  32. Alrighty, I really want to make these! Is there any other way to make them without the pressed oil or crisco?

  33. I was just wondering if anyone had tried baking these with potato starch instead of tapioca starch?

  34. Anon - YES! You can definitely make these with potato starch instead of tapioca. I actually use arrowroot!

  35. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We just went GFCF as a family in order to help two of our children who have neurological impairment, immune deficiencies and digestive issues. I made this recipe for them today just to show them that we can do this. They ♥LOVED♥ the cookies! We needed this delicious kick off to our new way of living!

  36. These cookies are absolutely amazing! Worth the two years spent perfecting them! Thank you for sharing!!! - Jamie Wilson & family

  37. Yummy cookies! I adapted this recipe for my blog. Credited you of course!

  38. We have recently discovered food allergies with my 4 yr. old daughter. These cookies sound great, but she has a rice allergy and well as wheat. What flour would you suggest substituting for the rice flour? I have some oat flour and was wondering if you thought it would suffice.

    Thanks in advance!!

  39. Kristen -- oat flour should work perfectly in place of the rice flour, you could also use millet, quinoa, garbanzo bean, etc... it's an easy flour to substitute for! :-) Enjoy!!

  40. Just made these, exactly as written (w/millet option), and they were fabulous! My family of boys declared them the best chocolate chip cookies they have ever tasted. Thank you!

  41. I just made 2 batches of these cookies & I also consulted a non-GF recipe I found somehow, that uses most of the same ingredients, except the flours. That recipe mentioned creaming the oil/shortening, sugar, & milk together 1st for 2 mins (said NOT to skip that part or the recipe would turn out very oily & runny)... since your recipe doesn't have milk I creamed the oil (coconut oil in mostly solid state), sugar (I used 1 c white sugar only, no brown sugar), & 1 egg for 2 1/2 mins... then added in the vanilla for 30 seconds or so... & then added the rest of the ingredients that I had all mixed up in a separate bowl... they turned out beautifully!!! No running, no greasiness, etc... just gorgeous, delicious cookies!! AWESOME recipe!! Thank you!!

  42. Made these for a father's day treat, and perhaps it is because we have seriously cut out sugar over the past year, we all found them far too sweet (and I did cut the sugar a little). I think the sugar in the dough could easily be cut in half and still be sweet enough. I like the cookie to be not as sweet as the chocolate chips, so I'll toy around with the recipe some more. The looked beautiful and were a nice treat!

  43. These are AWESOME! Thanks for the recipe!

  44. These are AWESOME! Thanks for the recipe!

  45. Adapted these with my own GF flour blend and different add ins. They are delicious!
    Thanks for sharing.