Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies - Low Carb & Gluten Free

Last week, I shared my recipe for basic Shortbread Cookies that I debuted on a guest post I did for Honeyville. The cookies are buttery, not overly sweet and delicious. It's a great base recipe to use to make numerous cookie variations with. Besides frosting or glazing them, or making cute little cut out cookies, it's also super easy to simply fold other goodies into the basic cookie dough (dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.). Click here to see the photos of the basic cookies: Shortbread Cookies.

I whipped up another batch of cookies, and this time I decided to make a Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie variation. I simply folded about 1/4 cup of 70% cacao dark chocolate chips into the dough. Oh my...these made the most awesome buttery chocolate chip cookies, and they are so easy to make as well! To make this version, simply click here to get my basic Shortbread Cookie dough recipe and fold in some chocolate chips, then bake and enjoy them. Click here for the recipe: Basic Shortbread Cookie Recipe. Enjoy!




905lovestostamp said...

I am EXCITED about this!!! How wonderful!!! I need some go-to recipes and this looks like a great one.

A question, I am just trying erythritol for the first time and it's not what I expected. I bought some confectioner's Swerve as well as the Wheat Belly sweetener, and am waiting for a small order from ChocoPerfection for their small assortment of chocolate bars plus their Sweet Perfection with the chicory root and erythritol. I wanted to mix some plain full-fat yogurt with some mashed fresh raspberries and thought I'd try the Wheat Belly sweetener (erythritol and monk fruit) and was surprised how granular it was and it didn't seem to sweeten the yogurt well. So I tried the Swerve, and I liked even the taste of this confectioner's one on my tongue, I see why you like it! I need to try the yogurt now that it is chilled.

I've been told that Splenda can cause blood sugar to rise and so can Maltitol, plus Maltitol is apparently from wheat which isn't good, but it was all I could find for chocolate until ChocoPerfection. Do you know if these cause blood-sugar issues? I am now trying to use other sweeteners, I have to have something. My big issue is drinking diet soda, I love diet ginger ale and diet 7up. I tried Zevia sweetened with Stevia, it was awful. I've been using a stevia that is powdered but I'm told the bulking agent in it is really bad for blood sugar, so it's almost like using sugar. SO confusing and upsetting that we are so deceived and I honestly am getting confused! I am drinking a lot more water but I still have a hankering for a soda and still drink some and I know that isn't the best. Do you have any suggestions? I hope you don't mind that I've asked, I know I have asked you before and you've been so helpful.

Thanks so much,

Joanne L.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Joanne,

Regarding the sweeteners known as sugar alcohols (erythritol, xylitol, malitol, etc.), generally speaking, the granular versions can have a gritty texture (in other words, it doesn't dissolve as nicely as granular sugar does where it tends to melt into whatever you put it in). You will notice this more so with items that are refrigerated or chilled because it tends to crystallize. That is one of the main reasons I prefer the confectioners version of behaves much better in those items. Granular is fine for some baked goods like cookies, etc. that are kept at room temp.

Granular sweeteners can be powdered in a small "Magic Bullet type" of blender in small batches but it can be a bit messy (as in dust storm) once you open the container. Just let it settle a bit before opening.

Believe me, when it comes to alternative sweeteners, it becomes a bit more confusing for all of us. First, there is the difference in our taste buds...what tastes good to you might not to me and vice versa. Also, each sweetener is a different strength meaning 1 cup of "type A" may not sweeten as much as 1 cup of "type B".

One of the most variable (as in all over the map) sweeteners is stevia. It sounds like you purchased a stevia with has other ingredients. When you look for "powdered stevia", you want it to be ideally labeled organic, but for sure, "100% pure stevia extract". The liquid versions usually have either water, alcohol or glycerin added. Some stevia is super intense, requiring drops instead of teaspoons. I use a variety of different stevias. My absolute favorite kind was reformulated a year or so ago. Up until that point I would have told you very specifically to use "X brand". For stevia I used different brands and different versions; I use NOW brand "Better Stevia" Organic Liquid, NOW brand "Stevia Glycerite", NuNaturals NuStevia "Simple Syrup" predominantly. But, I also have Trader Joe's liquid stevia drops, Trader Joe's Organic 100% Pure Stevia powdered stevia, Stevita liquid and Stevita granular, NOW Pure Organic Powdered Extract and Sweet Leaf Powdered Organic Pure Extract. The most annoying thing about stevia in particular is that each brand and version measures differently to get the same level of sweetness so I could say to add 1 teaspoon of stevia to something and depending on what kind, it could be too sweet or not sweet at all.

To make things more confusing (I promise I'm not trying to)...I personally prefer Swerve (both the granular and confectioners versions). But, I also have Just Like Sugar, Zsweet, NuNaturals Erythritol, NOW brand Xylitol (that I've never used because xylitol is poisonous to dogs), Wheat Free Market Sweetener, Truvia, and a bunch of NuNaturals flavored stevias as well as other brands. So, I have a small fortune of sweeteners in my pantry but I tend to use just a small handful with any regularity. There are actually other sweeteners in there as well, I just can't remember!

In other are not alone at the confusion over finding the right sweetener. Do you like stevia (because some folks don't). Some can have a bitter aftertaste and some not so much. The key to using stevia is trying to find a pure stevia without fillers (powdered version) and to err on less rather than more because more is when it can have a bitter flavor. Numerous folks have done "taste comparisons" with stevia and while that's always good to consider, remember that one person's favorite is another person's least favorite. They really are that different.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

(Continued)...I got a message saying that my comment to you was too long...LOL. Never got that message before...

Lastly, what I do frequently is to squeeze half of a large lemon in a tall glass, add a bit of stevia and fill with chilled water to make lemonade. If you like iced tea, you can make that as well. Some people like to make fruit infused water (place fruit in a pitcher of cold water in the fridge where the essence seeps into the water). There are a variety of other options you could try. Most of the time I drink water though.

I hope I haven't confused you more but you are not the only one confused by the alternative sweeteners...I promise! :-)

CyberSis said...


Chocolate Chips ... a most worthy addition to your lovely "Highlander-ish" cookies! :-) I'm also thinking "dried cranberries" ... or lemon zest! ;-) I wonder if the plain shortbread dough would go through a cookie press OK. I haven't used mine in years but I'd like to try it sometime ... IF I can find my gizmo, that is! (I may have even given it away ... I don't quite remember!)

I really like Swerve for most things but we've discovered that for recipes containing fruit we prefer Zyla. We don't have any pets, and believe me, if we had a dog I wouldn't allow zylitol in the house, either.

Zylitol isn't quite as low in carbs as erythritol but it's very low -- 4 carbs in 4 grams (which is a little less than a tsp.) It's 7 on the glycemic index, which is extremely low (Swerve is zero and sugar is 100.) Zylitol *is* WB approved and recommended. (I believe it was Dr. D. who said recently that if something is "single digits" on the glycemic index it's OK to use.) If she doesn't have a dog, it might be something that Joanne would be interested in sampling and comparing to other sweeteners. The package says that it is metabolized independently of insulin and is safe for diabetics. This is true for Swerve, as well. Also, like Swerve, one part Zylitol equals one part sugar, which makes it easy to convert recipes. The Zyla brand is made from North American hardwoods. Other brands are made from corn, so you might look for organic and/or non-GMO on the label.

Zyla is a somewhat larger granule than Swerve, but unlike granular Swerve, I've had no problem with grittiness using Zyla "as is" in cranberry sauce. It's also very simple to pulverize in the Magic Bullet and I'll use it that way for lemonade or added to yogurt, etc. As you note above, if you don't let it settle before opening the blender, you might find yourself in the middle of a dust storm!

I've pretty much given up on stevia. On occasion I'll use the liquid form *very* sparingly and mostly to "enhance" other sweeteners, but I don't care for the powdered form at all! But everyone's taste buds are different. There is one thing I've found that I like even powdered stevia for, and that's lemonade.

I've been curious about the WB sweetener with monk fruit, so I was quite interested in Joanne's comments about it. I haven't tried it mainly because it doesn't substitute cup-for-cup for sugar, so recipe conversions would be tricky. It looks like I haven't been missing anything, though. I'm quite happy with both Swerve and Zyla!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis,

The dough might just work in a cookie press and if it was too stiff, letting it sit for a bit at room temp would soften it quickly.

Thanks for chiming in about the sweeteners, too. I agree that the sweeteners that measure cup for cup like sugar are the easiest to use in recipes. Other than my yogurt and lemonade where I use stevia exclusively, I, too, generally speaking only use stevia to boost the sweetness in recipes where I've used another sweetener like Swerve. Sometimes it is easier to use stevia to fine tune sweetness in small increments without changing the consistency and ratio of wet/dry ingredients of a recipe like dough, batters, etc. There are not too many things that I sweeten exclusively with stevia. That's also good to know about xylitol not being as gritty. Where do you purchase Zyla? If I didn't have a dog, I would definitely try it. Maybe Joanne will be able to try it. The amount of sweeteners I have purchased and tried is nothing short of ridiculous.

P.S. - It's actually chilly here believe it or not. Supposed to get down in the 40s tonight. This has been some crazy Spring weather we've's either been unseasonably hot or unseasonably cold with absurd amounts of rain with a little hail sprinkled in for bad luck. One of my sons just purchased a new car about a month ago and it was damaged in the hail storm we had last week while under a tornado warning. One of his coworkers had 300+ hail dents in the hail storm that lasted about 5 minutes (golf-ball sized).

CyberSis said...


WOW ... what weather you've been having. I've never seen hail that large. Oh my goodness ... the damage. And just think if people got caught outside with no protection during all of that!

I buy Zyla at a local health food store and on Amazon. The cost is comparable to Swerve. I haven't seen it at places like Kroger or Costco. It's possible that Whole Foods or Trader Joe's would have it, but since we don't live anywhere close to one of those, I haven't been able to check them out.

We're starting to have decent weather here. It was in the low 60's today and temps will be increasing somewhat over the next few days with partial sun and a little rain now and again (nothing severe expected.) The daffodils are out in full bloom and the trees are beginning to bud out a little. Once they get going it won't be long! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis,

Thanks for the Zyla tip...I will remember to give that as a suggestion when asked about other sweeteners to use since I get asked that frequently.

Sounds like your weather is getting quite "Springy"...hope it continues. :-)

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for writing about the USA pans in previous recipes. I'm hooked! They are the best I've cooked with and the best part is the clean-up!
Truly appreciate the turn on. Keep on cookin'! Aloha...

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi there,

Thanks so much. I am so happy you are enjoying the USA Pans as much as I am.

I know it sounds crazy to love a baking pan...but they really are so much better than anything I've ever used. I have lots of them now because I put them on my Christmas and bday wish lists. I am so happy you like them too. :-)

BarbP said...

These cookies are wonderful! The only problem I have with them is that the two wheat-eaters in my household have decided they like them too, so they aren't lasting too long. I made them using cacao nibbies instead of chocolate chips. No sugar in those and they add a very satisfying little crunch to the cookies. That easy little recipe is a keeper - thank you again Ayla for another winner!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi BarbP,

So happy you are enjoying the cookies. Great idea on using the cacao nibs, too. I have a couple bags of them and will toss in some next time I make them.

Too funny about the "wheat-eaters" liking them too! I have that issue here too! Glad you are enjoying them...and thanks so much for letting me know. :-)