I'm always learning about nutrition and healthy eating, especially when it comes to what works for me, personally. In the last year or so, I realized that I might have a wheat sensitivity. I started paying close attention to how wheat products would affect my body, and I noticed a lot of discomfort. I then started to cut back on wheat products, to the point where I seldom eat them. I now know that a couple of crackers won't hurt me, but a sandwich, bagel, or bowl of pasta will.
Since I don't like pasta and bread as much as I used to (I'm more of a rice person), the main food that I eat containing wheat would be baked goods of the dessert kind. Cookies and cake, specifically. Now, even Cookie Monster knows that these foods are a "sometimes food," but I have a sweet tooth that can sometimes only be tamed by a chocolate chip cookie or some decadent cake.
Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a new gluten-free line of baking mixes from Betty Crocker, reasonably priced, too! I snatched up the brownie mix (its ingredients appeared to be vegan) and was very excited to whip up a batch for a get together that weekend.
It's been awhile since I've used a conventional baking mix (for a couple of years now, I'd been baking things from scratch with standard wheat flour), and I totally forgot about the trickiness involved in veganizing mixes. The instructions called for softened butter and eggs, so I used softened Earth Balance and Ener-G Egg Replacer. Since these are pretty standard substitutions, I did not expect such an EPIC DISASTER. The instructions said to let it back for 20-ish minutes, "or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean." Well, the toothpick never came out clean. So I baked it a little longer. Still a soggy mess. So I baked it a little longer. Rinse. Repeat. It got to where the pan had been in the oven for an hour and was still brownie soup. FAIL.
Fast forward a week or two, cut to me perusing a Super Target and stumbling across the same gluten-free Betty Crocker line. I picked up the chocolate chip cookie mix, stared at it, debated in my mind over whether or not it was worth the $3 if this mix failed, too, then noticed Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes on the same shelf. Their mixes are free of all common allergens; they're gluten-free and vegan. The fact that the directions are vegan friendly (no substitutions needed) sold me, even if it cost $2.50 more than Betty Crocker's fail-mixes.
The preparations for this chocolate chip cookie mix was very simple. I had the batter whipped up in no time. I'm one of those people who MUST taste the batter before it goes in the oven (aren't we ALL "one of those people?") and this was HEAVEN. I briefly considered just putting the whole bowl of batter in the fridge and snacking on it from time to time (should I really be saying that in a public forum?), or maybe freezing chunks of it and making my own chocolate chip cookie dough ice "cream" (which was always my favorite flavor). But NO! Warm chewy cookies must happen! Into the oven they went, and before I knew it, they came out like this:
In a word: HEAVEN. Words cannot even begin to describe how AWESOME these cookies are. I can honestly say this, though: these are the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever eaten thus far in my life. They came out soft, chewy, and perfectly chocolatey.
I do not work for Cherrybrook Kitchen (but I wish I did!). In fact, I had never heard of them before last week. I am just SO IMPRESSED with these cookies that I HAD to share them with the world. Well, not the actual cookies (those are long gone!), but at least the knowledge that they are out there and worth pursuing.
Seriously, look at those adorable little cookies. How could you resist?!