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Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     My first memories of Black and White Cookies are from my Grandma’s house.  She did not bake them herself, but she bought them at a local bakery and I loved them.  She almost always had some at her house when I visited.  These cake-like cookies with chocolate frosting on one half and vanilla on the other half are perfect for those who can’t decide between chocolate or vanilla.  I always preferred the chocolate side, but ate the vanilla part with almost equal pleasure.
     Since going gluten free I have had a few GF Black and White Cookies from stores and bakeries.  None were very good, usually too dry and hard and just not very tasty.   I tried to make them once myself over a year ago, but I was disappointed and discouraged that they were not even close to what I remembered.
     A few weeks ago I saw some (wheat) Black and White cookies at a bakery and they looked so good that it started my craving for some.  I began to look again at recipes on-line and in cookbooks.  This time I decided to convert the King Arthur Flour recipe into a gluten free version.  I am so glad I did.  They are so good and as good as or even better than those I remember from my childhood.  The cake part is moist and very flavorful.  The frosting is a bit sweet on its own, but is just right with the cakelike cookie.  The frosting dried to the exact texture that I recalled from my youth, firm yet creamy.  
     I know it has been a while since I ate a wheat one, but as far as I can remember, these are the best Black and White Cookies that I have ever had.  They are even good after a few days in a plastic container at room temperature.  My sister asked me to save her two.  She had better hurry up and get them since the cookies are temptingly calling out from the container. 
     I made some all vanilla and some all chocolate cookies to answer my childhood question about what an all chocolate frosting cookie would be like and to please my wife who is not a chocolate lover (she ate the all vanilla ones).  An all chocolate cookie was really good, but to my surprise I actually preferred having a little vanilla and a little chocolate.  As an adult my chocoholic tendencies have been tempered by an appreciation and enjoyment for vanilla baked goods. 
     It was pretty easy to make and frost these cookies.  The original recipe called for using a ¼ cup scoop to measure out the cookie dough, which I do not have.  I have a scoop that measures 2” across and it is about 1 ½ Tbs. less than a ¼ cup.   The cookies did not spread as suggested in the wheat recipe, so they stayed 3” wide.  I made one cookie using exactly ¼ cup of batter and it did spread and was larger (about 4”) and fluffier.  I preferred the smaller and soft, but not so fluffy cookies.  I got 16 3” cookies.  I imagine that you would get about 12 or 13 cookies using a ¼ cup scoop. 
     It will be necessary to add a little water to the frosting, as needed to get it to the right spreading consistency.  After adding the chocolate I needed to add a few tablespoons of water to get the frosting to spread easily.   The sugar I use has tapioca starch instead of cornstarch in it.  This also may affect how it absorbs water.  In any case, it is better to weigh out the confectioners sugar than to use measuring cups.  The amount of sugar you get varies greatly when you measure with a cup and can make it a bit frustrating to get the recipe right.   
     I hope you try this great tasting recipe.  Let me know how they come out and if you agree that they are the best ever!  

Makes about 16 3-inch cookies or 12 4-inch cookies

1 cup + 2 Tbs.
Sorghum Flour
½ cup + 1 Tbs.
Chickpea Flour
½ cup + 1 Tbs.
Tapioca Flour
¾ tsp.
Xanthan Gum
1 ½ tsp.
Baking Powder
¾ tsp.
Himalayan Sea Salt
1 stick/4 oz.
Butter – Unsalted (if using salted butter decrease the salt in the recipe to ½ tsp.)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs.
1 large + 2 Tbs.
Egg – beaten
1 tsp.
Vanilla Extract
¼ cup
¼ cup
1/8 tsp.
Lemon Zest – finely grated

14.5 oz./416 grams/3 ½ cups
Confectioner’s Sugar
3 Tbs.
Golden Syrup or Non GMO Corn Syrup
3 Tbs.
1 tsp.
Vanilla Extract

6 Tbs.
Semisweet Chocolate Chips

First make the Cookies:  
1) Preheat the oven to 400℉.  Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. 
2) In a medium bowl add the flours, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder.  Mix well with a whisk and set aside.
The flour mixture.
 I like to use a whisk to mix up the dry ingredients.
It does a great job quickly and easily.
3) In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer add the butter and sugar.  Cream together until smooth.
Butter and sugar creamed together.
4) Add lemon zest & vanilla and mix in.  
5) Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in well after each addition.
Batter after the eggs and vanilla are mixed in to the butter and sugar.
6) Mix the cream and water together (I did not have milk on hand so I used ¼ cup cream with ¼ cup of water.  If you don’t have cream I am sure that you can use ½ cup of milk or non dairy milk in place of the water and cream.)
7) By hand, mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then mix in 1/3 of the cream mixture.  Repeat until all the flour and crea is used up.
Adding  ⅓ of the flour mixture to the egg and butter mixture.

Adding ⅓ of the cream and water mixture to the batter
with ⅓ of the flour mixture already mixed in.

Batter after all of the flour and cream mixture has been mixed in.
8) Using a scoop that measures 2” across, scoop out the dough onto the prepared baking sheets.
9) Use wet hands to spread the dough out into 3-inch circles.  Leave at least 2 inches of space between each circle to allow for spreading during baking.
Scooping out the batter & spreading it out into 3-inch circles with wet hands.

10)   Bake for 10-12 minutes.  10 minutes was perfect in my oven.
Baked cookies cooling on a rack, still on the parchment paper.

Next make the Vanilla Frosting while the cookies are baking: 
1) In a medium bowl add the sugar.  Just a note here about measuring out the sugar.  I put down the weight of the sugar in ounces and grams so that you could get a more accurate amount of sugar for the recipe.  Using cups to measure out confectioner’s sugar can result in a variation of the amount of sugar by over ½ a cup.  Also, some confectioner’s sugar has cornstarch added and some has tapioca starch and this can also vary the amount of water that the sugar absorbs.  
2) Add the water, vanilla and golden or corn syrup and mix together until smooth. When just right, the frosting should be the thickness of and pour like honey from the spoon.  If too thick to spread add 1 teaspoon of water at a time to get the right consistency. If too thin, add more confectioners sugar a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is thick enough.
Vanilla frosting.  It will pour like honey when the right consistency.

Finally frost the Cookies and make the Chocolate Frosting:
1) Spread vanilla frosting over half of each cookie.  Frost the flat side of each cookie.
Vanilla frosting on the flat side of each cookie.
I made some cookies all vanilla.
2) To make chocolate frosting, melt the chocolate chips and add them to the remaining vanilla frosting.  You can melt the chocolate chips in a bowl set over a pot of hot water or in the microwave.
3) Add more water as needed, a teaspoon at a time to get the correct spreading consistency.
Mixing the chocoalte frosting with a mini whisk.
4) Spread chocolate frosting over the unfrosted half of each cookie.
Chocolate frosting on the other half of the cookies.
5) Allow the frosting to set at least 30 minutes.  It will get firm and dry on top so that you can touch them.
6) Store uneaten cookies in an airtight container with sheets of wax paper between layers of cookies to keep them from sticking together.
7) These cookies will keep for several days at room temperature in an airtight container.  
A peek at the inside of a cookie.  It is cake-like.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     These brownies are perfectly decadent.  So rich and chocolatey with a fudgy melt-in-your-mouth texture and a gentle hint of bananas.  We had some when they were still a bit warm and let me just say that the whole batch could have been eaten in one sitting by three people if we did not pause to think and take some control of ourselves.  
     I based the recipe on a Minnesota State Fair winning recipe that I found on Cookie Madness’s blog.  As usual, I converted it into a gluten free version.  I made the first batch using oil in place of melted butter for my dairy free friends.  I made the second batch with melted unsalted butter.  They were both amazing.  The oil version was a bit moister and fudgier, but this could be due to the temperature of the oven more than the oil.  I am still getting used to baking in the new home with a new (to me) oven and though the oven thermometer said it was the correct temperature when I put the brownies in, by the time I went to turn them half way through the baking time, the oven temperature had dropped by ten degrees.  With gluten free baking a hot enough oven is crucial to cooking baked goods inside and out.  If it is not hot enough you do not get the correct rise and the center stays a bit dense.  With fudge-like brownies this denseness is not a problem, with a cake it can lead to a sink hole in the center and a very “off” texture (with bread you get a raw or paste-like center).
     One other observation that could be helpful is about the chocolate.  I ran low on semisweet chocolate with the second batch.  When I searched on line for information, the baking sites stated that bittersweet and semisweet chocolate could be used interchangeably.  My bittersweet chips were 85% chocolate and a taste of the batter indicated to me that I needed to add more sugar.  I ended up adding about 1 Tbs. more sugar per each ounce of bittersweet chocolate that I used to replace each ounce of semisweet chocolate.  In the end, the brownies in which I used the larger amount of bittersweet chocolate tasted a bit different, a bit more bitter, but still delicious.  
     If you want brownies to cut perfectly (no crumbly edges) or into very small pieces, chill the brownies first.  Some people freeze them and then slice them with a serrated knife.  I know I could have done this for perfect looking pieces to take photos of, but my friends popped by just as they were cooling down.  We waited as long as we could, chatting while sitting in a house filled with the irresistible aroma of fresh baked brownies.  OK, the warm brownies stuck to the knife, but they were to die for.
     I love fudgy brownies.  If a brownie is cake-like then it is a cake and not a brownie.  I love brownie cakes too, but I refuse to call them brownies.     


6 Tbs
Unsalted Butter – melted
For Dairy Free use a light tasting oil such as Canola
5 oz.
Semisweet chocolate chopped or use chips
1 oz.
Bittersweet chocolate chopped or use chips
1 tsp.
Vanilla Extract
For Dairy Free I used ½ to. of vanilla and ½ tsp of ‘butter vanilla’
2 large
¼ cup
Ripe Banana - mashed
½ cup
Brown Sugar – packed
½ cup
Granulated Sugar
½ cup
Sorghum Flour
2 Tbs.
Tapioca Flour
2 Tbs.
Chickpea Flour
½ tsp.
Xanthan Gum
½ tsp.
Himalayan Sea Salt (use ¼ tsp. if your butter is salted.
1 Tbs.
Cocoa Powder
½ cup
Walnuts- chopped (optional) to fold into the batter
½ cup
Semisweet Chocolate Chips (optional) to fold into the batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 325℉.  Prepare an 8” X 8” square pan by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  If using foil grease the bottom.  Lining the pan makes it so easy to remove them from the pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, add the unsalted butter or oil, the 5 oz. of semisweet and 1 oz. of bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped pieces.  Using very low heat stir until the chocolate is melted.
    Melting the chips and oil or butter over low heat.
  3. Add the sugar to the still hot melted chocolate and stir.  Set aside to cool down while preparing the other ingredients.
    Mixing in the sugar.
  4. In a small bowl add the flours, cocoa, salt and xanthan gum.  Mix together well with a whisk and set aside.
    Dry ingredients mixed with a whisk.
  5. Mash the banana in a bowl and add to the cooled chocolate mixture in the pot and stir in.
  6. Add the eggs and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.
  7. Add the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated.
    Adding the flour.

    Batter all mixed.
  8. Stir in the ½ cup of chips and ½ cup of chopped nuts, if using.
    Folding in the nuts and chips (optional).
  9. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
    Raw batter in the parchment lined pan.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes (I used the 40 minutes).  The edges should puff up slightly and the center should be cooked, but still a bit soft.  The top usually develops a light crust, but don’t worry if it does not, it will still taste wonderful.  
    Dairy Free brownies just baked in the pan.

    Dairy Free brownies transferred to a rack to cool completely.
    The oven was not as hot as it should have been,

    Butter brownies, baked when the oven was the correct temperature.
    Note the sides puffed up slightly.

    Diary Free brownies.

    Diary Free brownie.