Gluten-Free Fudge Cookies



This time, last year, I was just getting started down the Low-FODMAP road, trying to see how it might help (or not) my IBS. Considering it was the holidays, I was a little bummed about missing out on holiday goodies and picked up a copy of the Favorite Brand Name 3-in-1 Gluten-Free Cookbook at an overstock shop just to give some no-wheat baking a whirl.

That book has become far more useful than its $6.99 price tag suggested, and inside were these instant-hit cookies that none of my friends could tell were gluten-free–always a good sign when you’re substituting ingredients!

So when I signed up for the the 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I knew which cookies would be my best bet for swapping with my fellow gluten-free baking bloggers.


Gluten-Free Fudge Cookies


2 packages (12 oz each) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend
2 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1/4 tsp salt



1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine 1 package chocolate chips and butter in large microwavable bowl. Microwave on High 30 seconds, stir. Repeat as necessary until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.

3. Beat eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until blended and frothy. Add sugar; beat until thick. Add chocolate mixture; beat until well blended. Add flour blend, cocoa, baking powder, xanthum gum and salt; beat until combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips.

4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 1 1/2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until cookies are firm. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.


These cookies are so delectable that it’s tough to eat just one. Seeing as multiple reaches into the cookie jar are inevitable, I like to use my smaller cookie scoop and end up with around 6 dozen cookies from the above recipe. At this size they’re great for giving and still let you keep some behind for yourself.

The cookies I received in return

The cookies I received in return

I received equally delicious cookies from my fellow swappers. The first tin I received was super-generous: three different cookie types (Pecan Macaroons, Molasses Crinkles, and Oatmeal Lace Cookies) from Amy of Minimally Invasive. Next I received the pretty red box tied up with twine and filled with S’mores Cookies from Sara B (who didn’t include a blog link–if I can find her in the recipe round-up to come, I’ll update this with her link). My final swap tin just enveloped me with peppermint the moment I opened it: Jackie from La Casa de Sweets‘ Peppermint Mocha Crinkles were light and airy and truly hard to resist. I wouldn’t want to name favorites, but I will say the last ones to arrive were the first to be finished.

If you’re planning and cookie-gifting this year, keep in mind that a lot of people are avoiding wheat or gluten these days. If you’d like to make sure that more people can enjoy them, consider giving the Gluten-Free Fudge Cookies a chance.


Tuesday Reviews-Day: Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking

Tuesday Revews-Day


You know the problem with most gluten-free cookbooks, at least those I’ve seen? Unless they are baking-specific, most of the books are made up of main dishes that have little-to-no need for gluten to begin with. Great for ideas, but a little light on gluten-free usefulness.

Which is why I was so happy to peruse the table of contents for my review copy of Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt and see that at least half of the book is baked goods. Because, let’s be honest, it’s the quick breads, desserts, and other bready treats that we’re most missing when we give up wheat or gluten. And it’s those same dishes we want to most share with our families at holidays and other special occasions but meet resistance with because of so many bad dishes that have come before.

Not that the dinner-style dishes are anything to ignore! We enjoyed several suppers from within its pages and I found the rundown of gluten-free flours and starches as well as the tips for traveling gluten-free as well as preventing cross-contamination in the home to be straightforward while avoiding being dull. It allows the reader to get up to speed and start cooking as fast as possible, and that’s definitely a good thing in my book! (pun totally intended)

Battered FIsh

Batter-Fried Fish (p.79)

Just because we watch what we eat, doesn’t mean a good old-fashioned indulgence isn’t called for from time to time. Such was the case with the Batter-Fried Fish for a fish and chips night. Among the different coatings we’ve tried over the last year this has been hands-down the best.

Grilled Mandarin Chicken Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing

Grilled Mandarin Chicken Salad with Sweet-and-Sour Dressing (p.68)

A staple of American-style restaurants, Mandarin Chicken Salad is often fried. Everyday Gluten Free gives us a grilled version whose dressing more than makes up for the missing breading, even if you skip the Caramelized Almonds like we did.


Souvlaki (p.139)

Greek food is always a big hit in our house, so when I saw the Souvlaki recipe I knew it would end up on our table. The marinade is flavorful without being overpowering and the authors suggest serving it either over rice, as we did, or in corn tortillas. A little tzatziki sauce and you’d be good to go!

Scalloped Potatoes with a Twist

Scalloped Potatoes with a New Twist (p.123)

Going back to comfort food, scalloped potatoes can be a little ho-hum. This version uses stock instead of milk or cream and adds celery leaves for additional flavor. There was a slightly green tinge to the dish, but the flavor was outstanding.

Spinach Risotto

Spinach Risotto (p.125)

The only quibble I had with the Spinach Risotto was that it didn’t follow proper risotto technique. While I knew better, I followed their directions but needed to add more liquid slowly cooked in to achieve the correct al dente texture. The combination of carrots, spinach, and zucchini, though, was right-on, flavor-wise.

And for your holiday baking pleasure, give these decadent Triple-Threat Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies a try!

Triple-Threat Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking


Makes 5 dozen

1 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup whole bean flour*
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
2 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

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Triple the pleasure, triple the fun–but who’s counting calories? These fudgy morsels are worth every bite!

1. In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine sorghum flour, whole bean flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, xanthum gum, salt and cocoa. Mix well and set aside.

2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate, butter, shortening, water and coffee granules, uncovered, on Medium (50%) for 2 minutes. Stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar and brown sugar for 3 minutes, until smooth. Add vanilla and cooled melted chocolate mixture. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls 2 inches (5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets. Let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until set. Transfer to a cooling rack immediately.



Have Your Dessert (Cocktail) First!


Not that I’d know anything about testing out a super-indulgent cocktail recipe before supper. And if I were to do such a thing, it’s only be to take advantage of the light.

Let’s get down to the business of the G-cocktail, shall we? Which just happened to be inspired by a certain special-occasion dessert.

The Groom's Cake Cocktail

The Groom's Cake Cacktail

For those unfamiliar, the groom’s cake is a particularly Southern wedding tradition that is, thankfully, spreading thanks to the global nature of wedding blogs and reality television. An alternative to the (frequently) dry, white wedding cake, the groom’s cake was usually chocolate but, really, these days can be any size, shape or flavor the groom decides (or the bride allows). Often the cake represents a hobby of the groom’s and is one of the few times the groom might have any input into the wedding!

As my mind wandered down this path, I also remembered a cake I did for a friend’s husband that was German Chocolate–the cake itself is only part of the equation; that gooey coconut frosting is another matter entirely! Dreams are made of that nutty, super-sweet stuff.

The Groom’s Cake

1 1/2 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 1/4 oz Godiva Liqueur
1 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
3/4 oz Buttershots
1/4 oz Frangelico
Flaked coconut and cocoa powder for garnish

Combine vodka, Godiva, butter-schnapps, condensed milk and Frangelico over ice in a shaker and shake while you do a run through of the Electric Slide–just to keep in practice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with cocoa and coconut.

Alternately, skip the rim adornment and mix a little of the coconut and cocoa with more of the condensed milk, maybe a splash of frangelico, too, and top something sturdy with the mixture and float it in the drink. I used a mini rice cake for the raft and it worked quite well (and made a nice treat at the end of the cocktail!).

Even though we just did a chocolate cocktail 4 letters ago, I’m firmly of the belief that you really can’t have too much chocolate in your cocktail repertoire (or, you know, life in general), so we’ll go with it. The idea was to create a velvety-smooth concoction reminiscent of the cake and icing combo (second only to red velvet cake* with cream cheese frosting, I’d a guess) that is clearly a desert cocktail.

How’d we do? You’ll just have to try it yourself and see, won’t you!

And, yes, I’ve made a version of the bleeding-armadillo Groom’s cake before. Not exactly like the one from Steel Magnolias but it did have grey icing (poured fondant, in this case) and its beady little eyes, according to the recipient, followed you around the room. Which is only a good thing considering the person that ordered it meant it as a somewhat twisted joke.

Give Me 3 CCs–Stat!

3-C Martini

3-C Martini

Unlike a goodly portion of human adults, I don’t rely on a cup of coffee or three to start my day (part of it is that whole no-caffeine thing, of course). Sure, I indulge in the occasional Venti Decaf Soy Caramel Macchiatto when I manage to leave the house a little early but, for the most part, my coffee-flavored indulgences happen later in the day.

Much later.

A good after-dinner coffee drink–with plenty of cream, of course–can only be improved by one thing, in my mind: chocolate. So I offer up this take on the chocolate coffee martini.

3-C Martini

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Coffee
3/4 oz Irish Cream Liqueur
3/4 oz Chocolate Liqueur (Godiva, preferred)
Garnish: whipped cream, chocolate shavings

Combine liquid ingredients over ice and shake enough to knock the last vestiges of sleep from your thoughts. (Not that I’d advocate this as a morning beverage, unless we’re talking Sunday brunch and you’re not going anywhere for a while!) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with whipped cream and freshly-shaved chocolate.

I made two versions of this drink–one with coffee and the other with coffee liqueur. While the Kahlua version was divine, the coffee flavor is much more muted than if you use fresh coffee, straight from the pot. In the latter, thanks to the other ingredients, the coffee is strong but not bitter. Feel free to substitute based on your personal preferences.

The one thing you’re not going to want to substitute is anything other than a premium vodka. I’ve often been told that the better the vodka, the cleaner the flavor. Or, in some cases, the lack of flavor–at least readily discernible flavor. Not being a vodka-neat type, I didn’t really think much about it until I received a bottle of a premium vodka to try–Cinco Vodka from San Antonio, TX–and now I am a true believer! When placed next to a common call brand vodka the finish and feeling that the Cinco gave was far beyond the burn that the call brand gave. So consider this your tip of the week–buy a better vodka and reap the rewards!

New Ghirardelli LUXE Milk Chocolate


Have you heard? Those lovely chocolatiers, Ghirardelli, have come out with a new line: LUXE.

In clean, white packaging (these bags are paper instead of the traditional foiled-printed plastic) the banner touts what should be a reassuring label, “All Natural,” but what it really makes me wonder is–what wasn’t natural about the regular Ghirardelli we’ve been eating all these years?

In CVS, the other day, I happened upon a display that featured bags of both the LUXE line as well as a variety of classic squares. Unfortunately, of the unfilled variety they only had a dark chocolate (which showed no additives different than the LUXE line’s soy lecithin, a common emulsifier) and the rest were filled with various goos (tasty goos, as goos go, and I don’t make a habit of turning them down when offered). This made direct comparison of milk chocolate to milk chocolate impossible. The filled chocolates (caramel was the one I examined) did show corn syrup and other ingredients that some consider unnatural, but that’s just as likely to be from the filling as the chocolate (separating the components out would have helped).

Another unfortunate fact is that I’ve been unable to find a shred of nutritional data on Ghirardelli’s website, or even a complete ingredient list for each of their products–the individual packages give a mailing address to send off for the information.

So, what’s a girl to do? Luckily I had to go grocery shopping last night so I scouted every Ghirardelli package I could find, searching for the nasty un-naturals. Um, I don’t get it: I looked at dark chocolate squares, milk morsels, semi-sweet morsels and on down the line. The white chocolate baking chips did contain palm kernel oil, for what it’s worth, and the Vanilla Dream squares did have an extra preservative for the vanilla itself. Curious.

But how does the new line taste?

Ghirardelli LUXE Chocolate Samples

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a sample of each of the LUXE Classic Milk, Almond and Hazelnut chocolates. Todd and I gave them a thorough tasting the other night and this is what we thought:

Todd Jenn
Milk -Smooth
-Kind of different flavor compared to Hershey or Dove
-Definitely different, but that’s to be expected
Hazelnut -Nutty flavor
-Chocolate itself tastes different
-Nuts dominate (not necessarily a good thing)
-Very nutty
-Like a crunchy Nutella
-Chocolate really sticks to your teeth, doesn’t dissolve as quickly
Almond (Todd’s allergic to almonds so Jenn got this one all to herself) -Almond flavor is present (of course) but not overpowering
-Nuts seem to be more finely chopped than the hazelnuts were
-Flavors blend so well!

I’m not sure Todd would choose this version of Ghirardelli over the styles we’re used to but I absolutely loved the Almond flavor, enough to buy a bag at the store. At approximately $0.53 a piece, it’s an indulgence worthy of the name, but perhaps that’s as it should be.

Back to that whole ‘All Natural’ thing for a moment. If (as far as I can find) the current Ghirardelli chocolates are not all that un-natural, what’s the point of this new line? Is it lacking those fillings that require all the preservatives and syrups and so forth? Is there a difference in the chocolate itself? Maybe, there could be a formulation change but if ‘All Natural’ is what they’re selling, this sounds like an advertising gimmic and not a new, innovative product line.

What still concerns me is the lack of nutritional data and ingredient lists on the website. Sure, I found most of what I needed in the store but only because I was already planning on going–and it was hardly their entire product line. I shouldn’t have to send away for this data or do more than a few mouse-clicks on their site to find the information I required to fully evaluate this product.

As far as I can see, they have nothing to hide but the omission makes me suspicious. I would encourage (as much as one, lone blogger can) a company with as rich a history as Ghirardelli has, to consider updating their site to tell the consumer exactly what she needs to know.

You want your customers to think how great your product is, right? Not wondering what you’re not telling them.


As stated, I was provided 3 pieces of chocolate to sample and review. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own except where expressly noted (seriously, do you think they would pay me to say what I just did?).