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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Monday
Apr132009

Carob Chip Mint Surprise Cookies (gluten free, vegan, egg free, dairy free)


This is an adaptation of an adaptation of my mom's Mint Surprise Cookies.  A perennial favorite at holiday time, Mint Surprise Cookies are my dad's favorite cookie.  Actually, I think the original recipe came from my Great Grandma Volp, my dad's grandma.  The mint surprise cookie is a soft, chewy dough with a chocolate mint wafer tucked gracefully into the middle and a walnut pressed on top, so when you bite into it, you get a tasty "SURPRISE" of minty chocolate under a toasty walnut.  Those cookies make me think of my childhood Christmases.  In recent years, my mom has started using that same dough but mixing chunked up chocolate mint wafers and ground walnuts into the dough, resulting in a kind of nutty mint chocolate chunk cookie.  I smelled them when I helped assemble the cookie tray this last Christmas for our family dinner, and they looked amazing.  But I did not eat them - alas, the original Mint Surprise Cookie is made with wheat, sugar, egg, butter, and those darn walnuts.  Humph.  Yeah, I could swing the butter in a pinch, but the rest of it?  Not so much anymore.  

I decided to make the chocolate chunk version of the Mint Surprise Cookie that my mom has been making lately, but without the walnuts.  So really, there isn't too much of a "surprise" with the cookie after all, but I decided to keep the name, in the spirit of old time's sake.  If one were to make carob wafers instead of chips, one could definitely do a "surprise" version, something I may try soon!  The true surprise version uses a whole different cookie assembly technique, and I'd be curious to see how this dough would handle it.  Maybe I'll do that for my birthday instead of a cake.

These cookies make me reasonably satisfied. They aren't as super soft and chewy like the original, but have a great texture all their own - a little crisp on the outside, moist and crumbly and cakey on the inside, studded by chunks of home-made mint carob chips. If you tolerate store-purchased carob chips, go ahead and use those - or try making your own (EASY!) with the recipe below.  Instead of leaving the dough plain and relying solely on the carob chips for rich minty goodness, I added a little carob powder and mint extract to the dough too.   I used a mix of rice flours and little garbanzo bean flour for body and texture.  But don't worry, the flavor isn't too beany like some bean flour baked goods.  They are minty, rich, and lightly sweet.  I ate a couple - okay, I ate four - with a glass of rice milk and it reminded me of being a kid again.  Granted, my taste buds are so far removed from "normal"cookies that it doesn't take much to please me.

I'm curious to see how they hold up over a day or so, and if they dry out really quickly.  I'm going to try freezing a few to see how well they thaw.  And the rest I may take to work - gulp! I haven't brought any GF vegan baked goods to my coworkers yet.  I'll be sure to post the feedback and the updates on how these hold up overnight.

No added super nutrition here, sorry folks.  These are full of fat and calories and all that stuff that keeps meat on our bones when our diet consists mostly of vegetables. 

Carob Mint Chip Surprise Cookies

yield: 2 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 tablespoons roasted carob flour
  • 1 tsp corn-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Spectrum Organic palm oil shortening
  • 1/3 cup fruit puree (I used pureed peach)
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 tsp Simply Organic peppermint flavor (gluten and alcohol free!)
  • 1/4 cup + 2-4 tablespoon rice milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 3/4 cup carob chips (store bought or homemade, see recipe below)
  • optional: 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375º and prepare a baking sheet (I used parchment).
In medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk ingredients briskly to add air and make fluffy.
In large bowl, cream shortening on high with a mixer.  Gradually add fruit puree, agave, peppermint flavor, and 1/4 c of rice milk.  Mix until smooth and well incorporated.  
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet.  Gradually add additional rice milk to reach a good dough consistency.
Fold in carob chips and walnuts, if using.
Spoon by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet, and flatten slightly with a fork. The cookies do not spread very much. 
Bake 12 minutes at 375º, one batch at a time.  Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.  

Homemade Mint Carob Chips

adapted from Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions"
yield: approx 1 - 1 1/2 c chips
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c roasted carob flour
  • 1 T agave syrup
  • 1-2 t peppermint flavor, to taste 
Melt coconut oil, and mix in flour, agave, and peppermint flavor. 
Line small pan with wax paper or saran wrap, and pour in oil mixture. 
Cool in refrigerator until solid.  Remove from pan, and cut into chips of desired size.
Store in a cool place in a jar until ready to use.


 

Update! Feedback from my coworkers. 

So, I took the cookies to work the next day and fed them to my coworkers. All the cookies got eaten by noon, which I saw as a good sign. Overall, the feedback was positive, which I felt great about - I was a little self-conscious to bring in my gluten-free vegan cookies to a photo studio full of excellent bakers, food snobs, and wheat eaters (save two people who also eat gluten-free).  But everyone is pretty supportive and understanding of my dietary requirements, so I knew I'd get good feedback.  Many improvements were suggested.  Here are some of the comments and overall feedback.

  1. A little dry - and I agree.  After the cookies sat overnight, they dried out, as gluten free items often do.  
  2. Nice minty aroma, but lacking a depth of flavor.
  3. Too minty.
  4. Not minty enough.
  5. One of my GF coworkers HATES bean flours and was surprised there was bean flour in this cookie, because she couldn't taste it!
  6. The cookie needs something else - the cookie too much of the same flavor.  To this point, I do agree - I think I went overboard adding mint to the cookie dough and the chip, and the mint flavor is a little overwhelming - the cookie might have more complexity if the cookie dough wasn't minty and just the chips were.
  7. Cookie could be chewier/moister in the middle, but overall it had a good crumb.
  8. Add more fruit puree, or try adding banana or egg whites to get a more chewy, lighter texture (I can't eat banana or egg whites, but this would be a great suggestion if I could).
  9. Try a mixture of shortening and oil instead of all shortening.
  10. Use the basic flour mixture but try a totally different cookie, maybe using dried fruit, nuts/seeds, or grated carrot/beet/zucchini/etc to add texture and depth.  I was thinking this myself - the overall rice and garbanzo mix made a good cookie flour base.
  11. Flavor would be better made like a crispy, "Thin Mint" type cookie rather than this type of cookie.
I put a few in the freezer.  They are pretty darn good eaten frozen and just thawed slightly, and woudl make a very tasty ice cream sandwich.  But unfortunately, they don't thaw out completely exceptionally well - they get a little too dry.
So, the final verdict?  This cookie is very tasty fresh from the oven or eaten the same day.  The next day it gets a little dry.  I'd cut the mint from the dough, but keep it in the chips.  If you want to freeze cookies for later, try freezing the dough and then baking fresh after removing. And stay tuned for more cookie experiments using this same basic mix!  I'd like to try a cookie that uses plumped goji berries and rice flakes, kind of like an oatmeal raisin cookie...

 

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Reader Comments (7)

Yummy post!Thank you for sharing this wonderful information about http://www.goji-products.org/goji" REL="nofollow">goji berry with us. With all this buzz about superfriuts flying around I feel it is very important for us to know in detail what we consume. Looking forward to see more posts like this from you.

April 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGoji Berry

This recipe, especially the homemade carob chip part, sounds wonderful. I'm going to try to make my own chips following your recipe, but for the sake of convenience was wondering if there is a company that makes similar carob chips. I cannot have gluten, corn, malt, sugar(cane), rice, or soy--all ingredients in typical "allergen free" carob chips. Thanks!

November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMurdock

Hi Murdock!
I don't know of any other carob chips than the ones by Sunspire, which contain malt and soy lecithin. I know is that I can't eat them either - which, of course, is why I made my own! Sorry, I wish I had a good solution for you!

I would recommend including the mint in either the chips but not in the cookie dough - as I said in the post, it was a little overwhelmingly minty. I think just having minty chips would be a nice surprise rather than being attacked with mint flavor!

I hope they turn out well - if you can't have rice, I'm sure you are used to substituting other flours in GF recipes. I think this recipe would work very well with some kind of blend of quinoa, amaranth, and/or sorghum. Good luck!

November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I found this great site with loads of Dairy Free Holiday recipes. I recommended it to my sister who has an autistic child and she loves it. There is also a cool video on the bottom of the page where Rose Cole (founder) is making one of her recipes www.RoseCole.com/HolidayCookbook

December 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJane D.

Great to find a GF/DF/Vegan sites to harvest recipes for my mother to make for me (She loves baking and me not so much!) This one looks good. A thought occured to me as I was really appreciating you including the comments from the co-workers - you know how you can buy freezer cookie dough? I find in my new GF existence that everything needs to be frozen right away as you mention too, but I wonder if this recipe would work as freezer dough? Take some out and bake a few cookies as desired. The upside would also be to limit my eating as many cookies as I can in one day as I know they will be dry the next!

June 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKari

I tried to get to the flour-free chocolate chip cookies link, but it is no longer there. Can your repost?

Also, can someone who is allergic to chocolate, eat carob?

My husband is a cookie lover but has had to give them up due to the ingredients. I am trying to find an easy-to-make cookie that is soy, gluten, wheat, chocolate, nut free. Yes, I know it is hard, but there has to be something out there. I have Lyme and he possibly has it. Can you help?

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartha Boykin

MARTHA-
Sorry, there was an error in the url, here is the link for the cookies: http://christensenka.squarespace.com/imported-20100106014405/2009/12/19/whole-life-nutritions-amazing-chocolate-chip-cookies-gluten.html

You could substitute carob for cocoa powder in any chocolaty dessert, and if you want chips you could make homemade carob chips per this recipe: http://www.affairsofliving.com/imported-20100106014405/2009/4/28/36-hour-mesquite-carob-chip-cookie-homemade-carob-chips-glut.html That cookie recipe is also pretty good.There are many cookies out there, check out the Whole LIfe Nutrition blog, Ali makes lots of great allergy-friendly cookies. She has a sunflower seed cookie that is totally allergy friendly, just peruse her recipes and you'll be inspired! http://www.nourishingmeals.com

August 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim @ Affairs of Living
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo