Food writer, poet, and novelist Jim Harrison, when asked about the secret of longevity in marriage in an interview by writer John Avalon, notes that “Marriage is survived just on the basis of ordinary etiquette, day in and day out. Also cooking together helps a lot… I’ve seen all these marriages that failed. Those people are always hollering at each other. That doesn’t work.” A couple that cooks together does stay together, I believe. Food is something that connects people to each other, and preparing meals together is an intimate activity. I also believe the couple that cooks for one another stays together, as well. Phillip likes to have something sweet with his coffee when he gets home from work. I like to make sure that he has something to go with his coffee. Most days I have cookies, cake, or brownies waiting for him when he gets home. He, in turn, makes fabulous ice cream for me. He uses whole cream, half and half, and plenty of egg yolks in his basic ice cream recipe, then adds flavors to that to create whatever flavor combinations I like. Together we make a pretty good team. In fact, one of our children suggested we open a gluten-free dessert shop and call it Cake and Ice Cream.
One recipe I return to regularly is my chocolate chip cookie recipe. It’s so versatile. I sometimes use almond flour, peanut flour, cashew flour, pistachio flour, or even matcha tea for a portion of my flour blend for chocolate chip cookies. I’ve used this dough to make easy desserts such as chocolate chip cookie dough bowls (forming the dough over upside down muffin tins), chocolate chip cookie bars, cookie dough ice cream (I make the dough, Phillip makes the ice cream – teamwork in action). I also use it to make this easy, but elegant, rich chocolate chip cookie torte.
White chocolate buttercream frosting is a perfect complement to chocolate chip cookie dough. I’m fortunate to have had some white chocolate in my cabinet this last time I made the chocolate chip cookie dough torte. I always use El Rey ICOA 34% white chocolate (which I’ve written about in the past), which is made with undeoderized cocoa butter. It has a subtle earthy note that adds complexity to its flavor, and it is a true white chocolate with cocoa butter as the only fat ingredient: no oils. Central Market locations in San Antonio and Austin, my go-to for bulk El Rey ICOA chocolate pastilles, stopped carrying El Rey ICOA white chocolate a few months ago. I went to the CM bulk department the first week of December ready to stock up on El Rey ICOA white chocolate only to find out that CM no longer carries it. Not wanting to settle for a disappointing substitute of less quality, I fruitlessly searched stores and online sources for El Rey white chocolate. Nothing. I found a lot of “this product is no longer available” notices on websites, but no ICOA white chocolate. Finally I went straight to the source: the El Rey website. On that website I found that white chocolate was also currently unavailable, which explains why it was also unavailable elsewhere (I’ve checked the El Rey site again since Christmas, and fortunately the ICOA white chocolate seems to be available again – on that website but not other retailers).
I considered using some of the other higher quality brands that are available in various local stores, but I find them too sweet and lacking flavor. I realized I had no choice but to order my second choice brand of white chocolate: Valrhona. I ordered a 3 kg bag of Valrhona Ivoire 35% white chocolate fever from an online source, since Valrhrona Ivoire is available only in San Antonio / Austin in bar form at twice the cost per pound at a local kitchen store chain. Thank goodness we were in the time of year during which chocolate can be safely shipped to South Texas. Catastrophe averted! Sort of. I still prefer El Rey ICOA, but Valrhona white chocolate certainly did work well in the white chocolate buttercream I made for the chocolate chip cookie torte.
Gluten-Free Peanut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie Torte
Peanut flour and white chocolate buttercream make this cookie torte a delicious, rich, elegant dessert.
- 125 grams peanut flour (not defatted)
- 125 grams superfine brown rice flour
- 50 grams arrowroot flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1 cup cultured (or regular) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (or piloncillo)
- 3 eggs
- 1 12 oz package Guittard 63% dark chocolate chips
- 4 ounces Valrhona white chocolate feves
- 1 cup cultured (or regular) unsalted butter softened
- 5 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup Guittard 63% dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
For the Torte:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease four 8 inch round or square cake pans. Mix together the flours, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using a mixer or a food processor, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the dough into a bowl and weigh on a digital scale (remember to use the tare button after placing the bowl on the scale, before adding the cookie dough to the bowl). Divide the weight of the dough by four, and place a fourth of the batter in each prepared pan. Bake the torte layers at 350 degrees, until the tops start to turn golden brown (about 15 - 20 minutes).
Cool the torte layers in the pans for about five minutes, then turn the pans upside down on wire racks to release the torte layers. Cool the layers completely. When cool, assemble by piping white chocolate buttercream between each torte layer. Pipe white chocolate buttercream over the top layer, completely covering it.
Mix together the coconut oil and the 1/4 cups chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave the chocolate chips / coconut oil in 15 second bursts, stirring after each 15 seconds. When the chocolate chips and coconut oil are almost smooth, with only a little unmelted chocolate still visible, stir the mixture vigorously until the warmth of the melted chocolate melts the rest completely. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate mixture over the top of the torte.
For the White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
Place the white chocolate feves in a microwave safe dish. Microwave the chocolate in 15 second bursts, stirring after every 15 seconds until the white chocolate is nearly melted. Stir the white chocolate vigorously until the warmth of the melted chocolate completely melts the rest completely and the mixture is completely smooth. Cool the melted chocolate about five minute (but not so long that it begins to set up again).
While the white chocolate is cooling, cream the softened butter with a mixer or in a food processor. Add the cooled white chocolate to the creamed butter and mix until well blended. Add two cups of sifted confectioner's sugar and the two teaspoons of vanilla, mixing well. Add half of the half and half, and the remaining three cups of sifted confectioner's sugar. Add enough of the rest of the half and half until the frosting is of piping consistency. Pipe the buttercream between the layers of the torte, and across the top of the torte. Store left-over white chocolate buttercream frosting in the refrigerator.
You can find whole peanut flour online, or in the protein section of Natural Grocer's. At Natural Grocer's it's called peanut butter flour. Although it used to be kept in the refrigerator section with all the other NG bulk gluten-free and gluten flours, it's recently been moved to the protein aisle of the store's supplement department. Whole peanut flour is like almond flour: just ground peanuts without any processing. It's not to be confused with defatted peanut butter products such as PB 2 peanut butter powder.