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15 February 2010

world peace cookies, gluten-free

world peace cookies IV

I love so much in this world.

I love the feeling of warming dirt underneath my bare feet, as I walk around our garden in February. (February!) I love seeing the first vivid unfurlings of the rhubarb plant emerging. I love the hope of spring, the anticipation of gardening, all that dark black soil waiting to take life soon.

I love this TED Prize talk by Jamie Oliver. (Please watch it.) I love this photo that my friend Lee took of the steam rising from our kitchen sink after cooking potatoes, as well as the Polaroid our friend Deborah took this summer of the apple crisp we shared under the cherry tree in our green backyard. (I also love this reminder of sunlight, this reminder of childhood summer, and essentially every photograph ever taken by Brian W. Ferry. Also, I adore these raspberry mascarpone macarons (gluten-free!) that my dear friend Helen created.)

I love my friends and what they create. If I start making a list, I'll be here all night. Just a glimpse.

I love how, before her bath, Little Bean's face is smeared in dirt from walking in the woods, blueberries, oatmeal, and kisses. I love the smell of her after a bath, tucked into her covers. I love the sound she makes when she imitates a train (Too! Too!) or says Elmo's name. I love the feeling when I hear her say Mama! and then she touches my arm. I love that child with all my heart.

I love curling into Danny's chest at the end of the evening, far too late for our tired heads to still be up. But he's home from the restaurant, and we talk in low voices, as we hope that Little Bean sleeps better tonight. Our plates from dinner are on the floor so I can snuggle in closer, and his hand on my shoulder is all I ever need to know about love.

I love these World Peace cookies, gluten-free.

World Peace cookies, ready to go in the oven

I love this community of people reading and writing here, who encourage each other, and learn from each other, and ask great questions and leave even better suggestions.

Last week, I showed you the disaster that was my first attempt at Dorie Greenspan's World Peace cookies. They melted and spread like the strange creatures in Dali's The Persistence of Memory. In years past, I might have stopped at that point. Now, however, I know enough about the flours and my own stubbornness to continue. In that first batch, I tried almond flour and teff, along with potato starch. Almond flour is wonderful, but it's full of fat. Teff is terrific, but it's so fine that it almost melts when you bake with it. In a quick bread or muffin? Wonderful. In those cookies? Not so much. So I wondered aloud — how would you make these cookies?

I knew you'd come through. I love this community.

Jenn at The Cinnamon Quill offered this gluten-free and vegan version of the cookies.

Emily offered this: "I found that subbing in Whole Foods 365 GF baking flour worked extremely well. I didn't have to measure out my own flours at all...the GF Pantry all-purpose flour is similar to the Whole Foods one, so you could probably use that in there as well. They were non-GF family ate most of them the first time around, which is usually how I judge success!" (For those of you new to this, or who don't want to work with individual flours, this is a great suggestion.)

CLRCassie suggested this: "I always use the Authentic Foods Multi Blend Gluten-Free Flour (Karen Robertson's recipe) and substitute it 3/4 cup for 1 cup flour and it always works really well. I also double the baking powder/soda."

(Have you seen Karen Roberton's book Cooking Gluten-Free! This was the best book I bought when I first found out I had to be gluten-free. I still turn to it. You would love it. (I'll do a formal recommendation soon.)

ML said: "I've adapted the World Peace cookies using Pamela's mix or Annelise Roberts' flour mix for a one-to-one swap with the flour in the recipe. Works perfectly! I would also recommend adding a pinch of espresso. For a peanut butter version, swap approximately 1/4 of the butter for peanut butter. Enjoy!"

Jeni suggested: For world peace cookies? I'd use 3.25 ounces sweet rice flour, 1.5 ounces each of tapioca and potato starch, and about 3/4 teaspoon xanathan gum. I might add in an egg or a little flaxseed powder in water into the wet ingredients to add a little more protein into the mix, depending on what my instincts told me about the quality of the dough. Finally, I'd mix in a scant 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder to bring some va-va-voom to the chocolate, and skimp on the salt in the dough in favor of dusting the cookies lightly with flakes of sea salt (I love the way a good flaky salt catches the light - much too pretty to hide in dough!)"

Deena at Mostly Food Stuffs outdid herself with this tinkering. She used hard-boiled eggs in the dough, something I'd never thought to do. After seeing her photos, I'm trying it soon.

I'm pretty sure that any of these methods would work. Clearly, no one was going hungry.

I love how much we can inspire each other, and move each other into the kitchen.

I doubly love that there is no one right way to bake these cookies. We don't think our cookies are the best for you. (In fact, I'm trying them again tomorrow, with the hard-boiled egg yolk trick. Hm. The recipe I'm posting today just might change again.) These are the ones that work best for our kitchen, in this moment.

I love getting a glimpse into your kitchens.

we love these cookies

I love that we've been graced with this early spring, the days warm enough that we had a picnic on the front porch this afternoon.

We took the cookies on a picnic. I wanted to photograph them. Danny wanted to eat them, now. Little Bean wanted to touch them.

The days are busy around here, with an active toddler, two blogs, a full-time job, a book coming out, another one I'm writing now, a house to clean (sometimes), mouths to feed. And no child care. I love our life, but sometimes it feels a little much. (Those moments are directly correlated to the nights that Little Bean doesn't sleep well.) Sometimes, it would be nice if it all slowed down for a moment.

This afternoon, it did.

Little Bean walked down the steps, holding Danny's hand, saying "Down." (Every stuffed animal has been thrust into the air and flung to the floor lately, while she says "Up! andown.") I took these photographs you see, in the sunlight. The air was warm. We had nowhere to go.

For a moment, everything stopped. I realized again how lucky I am.

Then Little Bean reached for a cookie, again, and we all cracked up.

Lu approves of these World Peace cookies

She loves these cookies. We think you will too.

You see, there is so much in this world to love. And so many ways to love.

I couldn't touch the blog on Valentine's Day. I generally stay away from that day now. After so many years of lonely longing, and feeling lousy about myself on the heart-smattered pink day, I find the day sort of repulsive. This was our Valentine's Day this year. So much more meaningful to me than the days of velvet boxes full of chocolates.

My dear friend Tea (whose book is out now, and you should buy it) wrote so eloquently about love this year. She expressed what I could not.

I love her too.

As Tea wrote: "Spread the love around, people. We need it."

Make someone you love (or a stranger you could love) these cookies today.

World Peace cookies I

World Peace cookies, gluten-free, adapted from Dorie Greenspan

This is our favorite version of these cookies, at the moment. You could use other flours, if you want to try. Just use 6 1/4 ounces, total.

I haven't translated these flours into cups this time. Tell truth, I want you to buy a kitchen scale and measure your flours by weight. It makes a HUGE difference. Soon, I'll write a post about this and give you a conversion chart. But for now? Here you are.

These cookies are darkly sweet, with a texture like sandy beach, with chocolate two ways, and a bit of salt. World peace, indeed. Thank you to Dorie, and everyone before her, and all the people reading here. Good eating to you all.

1 3/4 ounces brown rice flour
1 1/2 ounces sorghum flour
1 1/2 ounces sweet rice flour
1 1/2 ounces potato starch
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoons guar gum
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1/3 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 3/4 cup chocolate chips, smashed a bit)

Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the brown rice, sorghum, sweet rice, and potato starch into a bowl. Whisk in the xanthan and guar gums, as well as the cocoa powder and baking soda. Set them aside.

Creaming the butter and sugar. Using a stand mixer (if you have one) or your strength and a spoon, mix the softened butter and sugars together. Do not over-cream them. Mix until they are just combined. Add the egg yolk and mix. Mix in the sea salt and vanilla extract.

Making the dough. Add 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the buttery mixture. Pulse the mixer a few times. Add 1/4 more, pulsing a few times between. When you have added all the flours, and they have all disappeared into the dark brown dough, stop. Pour in the chocolate bits and mix in quickly.

Forming the logs of dough. Gather the dough into your hands, smoosh it up, and divide it in half. From each half into a log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (The wider your log of dough, the wider your cookies will be.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put them into the refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight. (Really. They're much better after a night of waiting.)

Baking the cookies. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Cut the cookies into 1/2-inch rounds with a sharp knife. When you hit a bit of chocolate, the knife is bound to bobble a bit. No bother. Simply squeeze the rounds together with your fingers. Put 6 cookies-to-be on the baking sheet. Bake.

Now, here's where it's up to you. In our oven, 12 minutes of baking yielded a soft cookie, soft enough to droop in your fingers. 16 minutes of baking yielded a slightly crisp crust with a soft inside. I preferred the latter. You might like the former. Use your best judgment.

After the cookies are done baking, take them out of the oven and let them rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. You may eat now. Or, if you have the willpower, let them cool completely and eat when they are a touch more crisp. Up to you, of course.

Makes about 36 cookies.


At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

Love makes the world go 'round. Wonderful post!

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Green Acres in the City said...

These sound amazing! Love does make the world go around. Thanks!

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous David @ Green Kitchen Stories said...

What an amazing post - loved reading it! And those cookies ... how lucky for us that you didn't give up after your first try.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Devon said...

I love love. And I love feeling that way about all the little beautiful details in the world. Cookies look delicious. I was just watching the Jamie Oliver video before I read this. Great piece, I have felt that way for a long time....real food, so simple! I am all about being back the basics...

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

Peace, love and GF chocolate cookies- that's all you need.

I hope you can slow down some more and see the daffodils and crocuses that have started blooming! Spring is here- not on the east coast, though. Sorry folks from my old world...bake some cookies and stay warm.

With love...

PS- Happy Mardi Gras!

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

Looks like success; an essay of peaceful moments, including those *gluten-free* chocolate sable induced ones. I am glad you found peace, and shared it with all.

PS Thank you for the mention. Sweet.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous molly said...

I love what you do here, each and every time. I love that even though I don't need to eat gluten-free, I often do, and don't doubt that I could, brilliantly, because of your example. I love your spunk and spirit, your words and pauses. I love the way you've worked motherhood into the kitchen, and vica versa. I love this spot, where the words flow beautifully, the food is real, the life ever-present.

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Jillian Jett said...

Everytime I read your posts all I want to do is bake and go outside. Reading about the dark warm earth and green trees makes me long for summer! Thank you!

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I bought a food scale after taking Dr. Layton's gf sour dough bread class at the Co-op. I'm so glad I did. Now I can make those cookies you posted yesterday. Can't wait.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous heather @ chiknpastry said...

they look awesome! much better than before - of course, we never doubted youd figure it out!

by the way, what's your recommendation for a guar gum substitution? I've heard to use xantham gum, but double the quantity as guar gum is stronger???

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Julie said...

Wonderful. Peace and cookies on your porch. Bliss.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

beautifully said as always Shauna! These cookies sound like the perfect addition to this very unpeaceful week at work... we could all use a little more peace... which comes best in chocolate! :-)

At 8:38 PM, Blogger I Am Gluten Free said...

I have all I can do to stop myself from going into the kitchen right now, 11:37 at night, and making a batch of these. They look fantastic and I can't wait to try them. Tomorrow, after my gym class:).


At 10:18 PM, Blogger Su-sieee! Mac said...

Your post was delightful. I feel all warm inside now. I've just started to learn about the gluten-free world. Been wanting a cookie. Now I will eat one soon. Thank you!

At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cookies set the meal off!

First, I made a filet:

And then, I made the cookies - I was in gluten-free hog heaven!

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Meg said...

Such a beautiful post.
Love love love.
Isn't it funny how V-day is only an issue when you're lonely? Now that I actually have a loving partner, we rarely bother with it.
I recently 'found' your site through 'Tea and Cookies', and am so glad I did.

At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your writing makes me want to do things I have been on the fence about for, oh, ever: having kids someday, living in a place where I can really garden.....i feel so calm and happy whenever i read your posts. thanks, and cheers!

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Jacqueline said...

Hey girl do you think I can use Bob Red Mill's GF flour all purpose baking mix or is your combination best? And if so would I use the same proportions? Sometimes (I must admit, being newly diagnosed) I do prefer to just use his mixes.

Thanks so much for doing what you do!
JM :)

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

Sounds Amazing! I might have to give in and give them a try!

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading about some of the nasty anonymous remarks you've gotten in the past, I wanted to leave you a nicer one. :)

I have been reading you since the beginning. Before the chef, before the breathtaking life that is Lucy, when it was just you. You, trying to make your life better, and hoping that by sharing your journey, you might encourage. You have succeeded in ways you will never know, especially in my own life. Your stories, recipies, and photos have been such a welcome and warm addition these last few years.

Keep on truckin, sister!

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Sho said...


I have never made log cookies before, only drop cookies. The ones with the hard-boiled eggs caught my attention.

There are so many talented cooks in the blogosphere. It is amazing. I have been gluten-free for five years now, but I did not even attempt gluten-free baking until this year (for dietary purposes because all the baked goods are tempting.)

My husband never liked any of the gluten-free products that I brought home. Nor did he like the gluten free desserts in restaurants. But then I made chocolate drop cookies with corn flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, and guar gum. He loved them. But then I made homemade gluten-free, yeast-free pizza crust with rice flour, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, and xantham gum. He loved it.

It is so rewarding for me that my husband and children like gluten-free pizza, cookies, matza balls, and pumpkin pie as much as the glutenated products. It is nice that we can all eat the same food and appreciate it.

I have experimented and failed. But then there are times when a first try is great because of all the reading I have done about gluten-free foods.

Cooking and baking gluten free has been a transition for me. It is okay to take your time and buy the expensive products at first.

It is also okay that I don't have the guts to make log cookies yet.

Take care,


At 11:28 AM, Blogger leedav said...

Well, this is going to be the first GF cookie I make for the cafe. Spreading the love!! Thanks for all you do.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a small world! I just made these cookies last week from the recipe at The cookies were awesome! I loved them. Yours look divine, too! Nothing beats salty and sweet!

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Shauna for spreading love.

It is always inspirational reading your words!

Greetings from New Zealand!

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I couldn't agree more, spread the love around! I'm loving those cookies too. It's funny how our recipes are constantly evolving each tweak bringing out the best, teaching us the hows and whys of gluten free baking.

I used your Boule recipe to make pitas today...Except I ran out of tapioca starch, so I used sweet rice flour instead. The dough was very delicate and needed extra flouring to be rolled out. I popped them in the oven for 8 minutes at 450*f. By golly they "puffed" up, just like the real thing! Fantastic texture too. I love learning from you. Whenever I bake I always think of the feel of the dough, just like you talk about here so often.

At 6:16 AM, Blogger Shuku said...

The cookies look so beautiful. I didn't have all my flours when I went home for Chinese New Year or I might have attempted tinkering around with the sables myself. I've not got any way to get xantham gum or guar gum here, so I'll maybe tinker with a version that I can substitute arrowroot flour with, or something. I'll let you know how that goes!

And? I tried the Crusty Boule. My mother, who's loved all my pre-gluten-free breads from way back when, LOVED this and couldn't tell it was gluten-free. -I- loved it. I didn't use brown rice flour per se, I used what they call brown rice -powder- here, which is rice flour milled so fine it's practically a powder, like its name. Didn't think it would work. I didn't think substituting arrowroot powder for my non-existent xanthan gum would work either. But it did. When the bread came out of the oven, I almost cried with joy. It tasted wonderful. I froze the other half of the dough and baked it after adding a little extra flour to make it less sticky, and it worked too.

You made my Chinese New Year -really- wonderful. :) For the first time I was able to just get up my courage and make gluten-free condensed cream of mushroom soup for my mother, and for my broccoli casserole for the first time - never thought I'd eat either of those things again. They turned out so good, EVERYONE wanted some. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being an inspiration to tinker in the kitchen.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Lisa Cooks Allergen Free said...

What I love is this post and how happy and grateful it has made me feel. The little things in life bring so much joy and sometimes we miss them in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, thanks so much for bringing the good things back into focus!

At 9:46 AM, Blogger M said...

Great post Shauna! Thank you for sharing your world + cookies with us :)

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Rachel said...

This is too funny! I haven't been to your site in a few weeks, and I JUST now pulled a batch of these from the oven, my own adaption from the recipe I've been stalking at Smitten Kitchen.

I wondered about using egg replacer (can't have eggs, sniffle) to help hold everything together, but in the end kept the recipe pretty close to the original. Used millet, sweet rice, tapioca and a tiny bit of almond meal, and cut the fat as well. And you know? I wanted to use brown rice but couldn't find my bag of it. Great minds, I tell you. :)

A lot of people talked about the crumbliness of the dough, particularly when cutting the logs, but I didn't have that problem. My "rounds" did squinch up when cut like yours in the picture, but they baked into sorta-circles.
I will have to try your take on this recipe next time (because oh yes, there will be a next time - I just tried one of the finished cookies)!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger The Gals on the Scale said...

I love your site - It simply beautiful to look at and lovely to read! I am gluten intolerant and have been intermittently avoiding gluten for a while now, only I know I need to be more strict. Its just so hard to find places to go out that provide GF alternatives. Thanks for the great recipes, I can't wait to try these out!
- Megs


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