Vegan MOFO, Day 8
These chocolate chip cookie bars are so good, and it’s a recipe that I keep up my sleeve for those times you need a quick dessert (and you’ve got company on their way over). I also some times bake up a batch of these at our food cart (where they disappear faster than I can make them). The recipe originated from The Gluten Free Goddess, although I can’t seem to find the original recipe on her site right now to link to. I adapted it slightly, and with her permission filmed it for EDTV here. But you know the great thing about these bars? They are super adaptable, so you can tweak it a little here and there, and they still come out great. Heck, if you’re not gluten free, you could probably sub out regular all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum (although I have not tried it with regular wheat flour). And, I’m guessing that you could probably sub maple syrup for the agave, or leave it out all-together (maybe adding an extra 1-2 tablespoons of coffee). See, it’s just that kind of recipe.
I started off by making the recipe with Bob’s Red Mill AP gluten free flour. They were good, but I personally find that flour too beany for my taste (although I LOVE their sweet white sorghum, teff, oat and other GF flours!).
I have had fabulous luck though using Cybele Pascal’s AP flour blend in this recipe, which works really well for cookies (and you can find the recipe here). It’s a combo of superfine brown rice flour (Authentic Foods), tapioca and potato starch. You could also try these bars with whatever all-purpose gluten-free flour you currently love. I’m hoping to try these soon with Better Batter flour, which I’ve heard great things about.
When I was in San Francisco recently, I tried making the bars with GF flours that my brother had on hand (which was a combo of some of the Bob’s AP GF flour and sorghum flour, I think). But the texture of the bars came out cakey, and it had that darn bean flavor to it. Ugg! No worries though, because I made a coconut caramel sauce, and turned those cookie bars into a trifle along with sliced bananas, chocolate chips, toasted coconut and toasted chopped almonds. It was AMAZING! And, it also proves that if all else fails, you can always save a dessert by turning it into a trifle! Seriously, some of my best trifle desserts over the years have been from trying to save a cake that got stuck in the pan, broke or crumbled into pieces, or some other wonky baking disaster. Just layer up the broken cake/cookies with some pudding/sauce, fresh fruit and embellishments, and you’ve got a show-stopper dessert!
Anyway, here is my version of the recipe. Note that the amount of coffee/liquid you need mighty vary depending on which flour blend you use. Now, go straight into your kitchen and bake yourself a batch. Seriously, these are some fab cookie bars!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Coffee Toffee Bars
These cookie bars are out of this world good, and will have your guests begging for more (whether or not they avoid gluten). The bars are almost a cross between a candy bar and a cookie, with a lovely butterscotch flavor. Thanks to the ease of using a gluten-free baking flour blend, the recipe goes together in a snap. These bars are adapted from a recipe by Karina Allrich at her awesome blog (glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com)
Preheat the oven to 350°F
9×13-inch glass baking pan, bottom lined with parchment and well greased with shortening
Makes about 18 large cookie bars
2 cups all-purpose Gluten-Free baking flour (if you’re baking blend contains xanthan gum, omit the 1/2 teaspoon called for in this recipe)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons agave nectar
5 tablespoons brewed coffee or non-dairy milk, or more as needed (depending on the GF flour blend you use)
1 tablespoon ground golden flax seed meal
1 cup non-dairy semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. In a large bowl, whisk together baking flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the brown sugar and mix until combined. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, agave and coffee. Add the flax meal, and whisk until combined. Add the oil mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. If the dough is way too stiff, add another tablespoon (or as needed) of coffee to soften. It’s a pretty thick cookie dough. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake in the center of preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the center is almost firm to the touch and just leaves a little dent in the top. Let bars cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.
Recipe adapted from a recipe by Karina Allrich (glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com)