*A dense and sinfully rich flourless chocolate cake with a bourbon-spiked drizzle*
Know how to not only avoid holiday weight gain, but actually drop a few pounds?
Decide it’s a good idea to start throwing back shots with your cousins at a large family dinner. Like magic, you’ll be rendered unable to keep anything down for the next 36 hours and subsequently void any and all damage done during the holiday season up to that point.
Once recovered, however, there will be some catching up to do.
Suffice it to say that that is no longer the case.
I don’t know what it is, but somehow the prospect of making a flourless cake seemed super daunting to me. I guess I’ve just had one too many at restaurants that went overboard with chocolate syrup art on the plates? Whatever. That was crazy. This was so easy to make and is infinitely preferable to plain old chocolate cake. Not that I EVER have a problem with chocolate cake. This is just so much more…it’s so rich it’ll give you vertigo. Less sweep-you-off-your-feet, more knock-you-off-your-feet-slam-your-face-in-the-ground. Less shy, wholesome girl next door, more leather clad motorcycle dude named Skyye with a neck tattoo.
This cake doesn’t even need frosting…and coming from me? That’s just heresy.
While prepping my shopping list for this year’s Christmas Cookie Bake-a-thon, I turned to my husband and asked him if he had any requests. He said he didn’t. So, I pressed the point because apparently I had nothing better to do than be overbearing.
“Don’t you have a favorite cookie?”
“But you like cookies.”
“Well, yeah, of course I do.”
“So…I don’t know. What kinds of baked goodies do you remember from when you were a kid?”
“Um. I guess I don’t remember.”
Despite the many places I’ve lived, the many ways I’ve celebrated, and the many different moods of Christmases past, the one thing that has been constant and truly symbolic of the season has been the massive amounts of baked stuff that made its way into my life. Even in my little CHU in the middle of Iraq, I had a box of Christmas cookies.
There’s always a variety, sure, but at home–for better or worse–we kept it simple. My mom made exactly two jumbo batches of cookies: sugar cookie cutouts and…the star of the day…her “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies.”
These cookies are the ones I have come to associate with every happy family Christmas memory I have. Starts with the taste of cookie dough on sticky fingers, then the smell wafting out of the oven, and finally with the sugar coma that inevitably ensues.
So worth it.
These are the only chocolate chip cookies I ever make. But no, there’s no secret family recipe or anything like that–it’s just the one from the Crisco can. We don’t like to overcomplicate things.
Mom swears that the real secret to her cookies is the fact that she uses Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (the ones in the silver bag) every single time. I won’t argue that. Although it still drives me absolutely nuts that, despite being corrected a hundred times a year, she still calls them, “Gardin-elly.” Mothers…
So, here’s the part where I tell you how I completely sabotaged everything. Obviously, I am now gluten free…so I use gluten free flour in place of all purpose. Thankfully, for things like cookies that don’t need to, well, hold much shape, you can get away with most “all purpose” blends. I have yet to find one that doesn’t work for these, though my go-to is now a blend of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour. Anything that’s generally light in flavor is probably all you need. Then, there’s the shortening part. I am a firm believer in using shortening for cookies, as I much prefer the texture over butter-based cookies. Because I like to pretend like I’m a health freak, though, I have come to use organic shortening (I like Spectrum brand butter flavored shortening). Tastes just like Crisco and “organic” means it’s good for you. Fact.
OK, so I guess I’ve just been subbing some ingredients, so maybe I didn’t trash it up completely. BUT. I did add one little thing. Just one thing that made these cookies just a hint more moist, decadent, and rich. Believe it or not, all it took was just 1/4 cup of cream cheese to add such a subtle but noticeable difference. Not so much that it changed the recipe, just enhanced it.
The slow cooker rice casserole is my new go-to meal option. Seriously, changed my life…not only is it just insanely easy, but it’s the best way I’ve come up with like, ever, to use up my random assortments of leftovers. I have yet to find anything that doesn’t marry up with rice.
What’s even better is the texture is nothing short of, well, stuffing. And if you’re a stuffing hoarder like me this is pretty much the best thing since Stove Top.
I could eat nothing but stuffing for the rest of my life and be totally happy. It’s the epitome of carby, sweet, savory, salty, warm, comforting goodness. But this casserole? It’s like I transported through time to the Thanksgiving table. And it’s about a thousand times easier to make. And yes, I know stuffing is super easy to make anyway. Think about that one…
I wish there was a way to take a picture of this that didn’t make it look like a pile of something nasty because it’s so effing good I can’t even stand it. I mean, it’s a literal mash up of a million things so I honestly don’t know what to do unless I dressed up the dish with a sash and crown and just called it America’s Sweetheart. Maybe that would get the point across? Maybe I just need more sleep.
This recipe is extremely customizeable…note how pretty much every ingredient has something else that could fill in. Honestly, feel free to use whatever you’ve got on hand. The basic formula that works the best for me is just 2 cups of dry rice, 4 cups of liquid (like stock) and a can (1 1/2 cups) of coconut milk to add some richness. On top of it all…anything goes. So go nuts! (Add nuts!!)
I don’t know what it is, but something about oats and chocolate gets me every time. Maybe it’s the earthiness, heartiness, and nuttiness juxtaposed with the creamy richness of the chocolate? Or maybe because oatmeal is a health food and justifies my overconsumption of chocolate? Maybe don’t answer that.
Oatmeal cookies with chocolate are easily my favorite cookies. Ever. And that’s saying something because I’ve eaten a lot of cookies in my time. Add a bunch of other random stuff like nuts and coconut and suddenly we’ve got a masterpiece of flavors and textures to launch a sensory overload. What’s not to love?
Adapted from Namaste Foods’ recipe. Sub coconut oil for butter for dairy free and cut the nuts for nut free!
Serves: +/- 12 cookies
3/4 c Namaste Foods all purpose gluten free flour (or other gluten free all purpose blend)
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 c gluten free oats
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c pecans, chopped (or nuts of choice)
handful of raisins
Cream the butter with the brown and white sugars.
Beat in the egg until you have a light colored, fluffy mixture.
Beat in the vanilla and baking soda.
Beat in the flour and oats, a little at a time to make it more manageable.
Stir in the chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, and raisins.
Scoop out golf-ball sized hunk of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.