Double Chocolate Cardamom Cookies with Cassava Flour (gluten-free + dairy-free)
All my life, I have loved baking. It’s an antidote, my little therapy session, one of those ‘flow’ activities. Contrary to this blog’s ‘baked good’ repertoire (or lack thereof), I grew up being revered as the baker of the household.
I would eventually discover that all I really knew how to do was a) find good recipes, b) measure accurately, and c) adjust to taste (most could use a little less sugar).
Fast-forward to last year, when we discovered my husband’s celiac disease, gluten-free baking really pulled that rug from under my feet.
I have high standards for gluten-free baked goods (mainly because I can still have gluten, and partly because my recipes need to be blog-worthy). Mix those standards with ALL the baking fails, and I think it’s safe to say I was left with more post-celiac emotional trauma than my husband.
The Silver Lining – Double Chocolate Cardamom Cookies
What I realized was – if I really wanted to get comfortable with gluten-free baking, I needed to re-invent the wheel and go back to the basic principles of baking.
I couldn’t just rely on good recipes anymore – I had to create them.
I did just that with the help of Otto’s Cassava flour (affiliate link). It acts as the perfect base for any baked good. One flour, no additives, and pretty darn close to wheat.
As soon as I discovered cassava flour, I was in awe, as if I had landed on a treasure (see my favorite “I can’t believe it’s gluten-free” roti for more gushing). Cassava flour is a grain-free, all-natural, mild-tasting flour made of 100% cassava (or yuca) root.
Before we go on to the recipe, here are 3 hard-won lessons after some self-taught, tear-inducing, cookie-baking 101.
- Lesson 1 – Too much flour = dry, crumbly cookies. Too little flour = flat cookies. Cassava flour is the closest substitute to wheat and can be substituted 1:1 for wheat in many recipes. But using too much can result in dry and crumbly cookies. For perfect cookies, use just a little less than you’d naturally be inclined to.
- Lesson 2 – Creaming the eggs, sugar, and shortening in the first step is the key to making them beautifully light and chewy. Make sure you cream them for a full 5-6 minutes so that the mixture turns pale and increases in size.
- Lesson 3 – I tried butter, olive oil, and everything in between, but the cookies would always flatten. Still yummy (you can’t go wrong with cassava), but super flat. Then I remembered some of my favorite gluten-free bakers (Gigi & Shauna) mentioned palm shortening in their cookie recipes. Palm shortening not only helped the cookies hold their shape, but it gave them moisture without adding any distinct taste. Bonus – it made the cookies dairy-free (just make sure to use dairy-free dark chocolate chips)!
The best part is that these gluten-free chocolate cardamom cookies don’t taste like an ‘alternative’ dessert. They just taste wonderful – up to every standard. The cardamom takes on a floral, minty undertone. It’s not too much, even if you don’t like cardamom.
Feel free to make adjustments of your own. Omit the ‘double’ chocolate by using only chocolate chips at the end. Dust them with powdered sugar to make them festive for the holidays.
A huge thank you to Otto’s Cassava Flour for sponsoring this post (and for helping revive my baker’s confidence). As per usual, my opinion of this flour is entirely my own!
If you make these, please leave a comment below and let me know!!
Double Chocolate Cardamom Cookies with Cassava Flour
- ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I use 63% dark), for melting
- 2 large eggs
- scant 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup palm/vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (120 g) Otto’s cassava flour, unsifted
- 1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 6 cardamom pods (or 1/8 tsp heaped ground cardamom), seeds removed and finely ground using a mortar and pestle
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (cassava flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, ground cardamom, and salt). Set aside.
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium, microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each cycle, until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or by hand), beat the eggs, sugar, and shortening together on medium-high speed for 6 minutes, until pale, fluffy, and greatly increased in volume.
- Lower the speed and mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Use a spatula to scrape down as necessary.
- Mix the dry ingredients in the chocolate mixture on low speed just until incorporated. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Fold in the chocolate chips. Allow the dough to cool for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Spoon the cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared sheet. Give at least an inch of space in between the cookies because they will spread out a little. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. When done, remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes.