- Makes about fourteen 3-inch cookies
If you have a kitchen scale, use it to measure here, as alternative flours can vary in volume. Otherwise, use the dip and sweep method. Be sure to sift clumpy flours such as oat and mesquite. Pull the baked cookies from the oven when they still seem underdone; they will continue cooking from residual heat. For fresh-baked cookies on the fly, scoop the dough into balls and store, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, place the dough balls on sheet pans, sprinkle with flaky salt, and bake. Cookies from dough that has chilled bake up extra thick and chewy (shown here); baking the freshly made dough results in thinner cookies with crispier edges. See tips on how to brown butter. If you're forgoing the flaky salt topping, you can increase the salt in the dough to 3/4 teaspoon; just don't use iodized table salt: I find it has a harsh flavor. —Alanna
raw pecan or walnut halves
(113 grams) unsalted butter
vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
(110 grams) packed light brown sugar (I prefer organic)
(50 grams) granulated cane sugar (I prefer organic)
plus 3 tablespoons (100 grams) gluten-free oat flour
plus 2 tablespoons (45 grams) tapioca flour
fine sea salt
(170 grams) bittersweet chocolate (60 to 75% cacao mass), coarsely chopped (11⁄4 cups)
Flaky salt such as Maldon for the tops
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375° F (190° C). Line 2 rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Spread the nuts on a small, rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely, then break into rough quarters.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter and vanilla bean and scrapings together in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter turns golden and smells nutty, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place the sugars in a large bowl and when the butter has browned, scrape it and any browned bits into the sugar immediately to stop the cooking. Let cool, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and discard (or save for making vanilla extract).
- Meanwhile, sift together the oat and tapioca flours, baking soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
- When the sugar mixture has cooled to warm, beat in the egg until well combined. Use a sturdy wooden spoon to stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, stirring until well combined, then continue to stir vigorously for a few more seconds; the mixture will firm up slightly. Stir in the cooled nuts and chopped chocolate until evenly distributed. If the dough is soft, let it sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator to firm up a bit, 15 to 30 minutes (or chill for up to 1 week).
- Scoop the dough into 1 1⁄2-inch (4-centimeter) diameter balls (about 3 tablespoons; a size 24 or 30 spring-loaded ice cream scoop makes this a snap) and place them on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 1/2 centimeters) apart, topping each with a few flecks of flaky salt.
- Bake the cookies until the edges are golden and set and the tops are pale golden but still soft and underbaked, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans back to front and top to bottom after 8 minutes for even baking.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, let cool on the pans for a minute, then pull them, parchment and all, onto cooling racks to stop the cooking. They will be very soft and fragile at first, but will firm up when cool. Let cool to warm, at least 10 minutes, before devouring. Cooled cookies can be stored airtight for up to 3 days.
- FOR TEFF COOKIES: Omit the oat flour, using 3/4 cup (100 grams) teff flour (preferably Bob’s Red Mill brand) in its place.
- FOR BUCKWHEAT COOKIES: Omit the oat flour, using 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour (100 grams) flour (preferably Bob’s Red Mill brand) in its place.
- FOR MESQUITE COOKIES: Omit the oat flour, using 1 cup (130 grams) mesquite flour (preferably Zocalo brand Algarroba Flour) in its place. To measure, break up any big clumps of flour, then use the dip-and-sweep method. Be sure to sift super-clumpy mesquite flour. Since mesquite flour is prone to burning, bake these at 350° F for 8 to 12 minutes.