The holiday season brings out the baker in everyone. I’m not a baker. I cook. So when I’m ready to whip up baked goods, it takes more thought than throwing together a soup.
For those of us with food restrictions, the holiday season is tricky, especially when navigating the treat tray. Finding gluten-free baking is a particular challenge for people with actual intolerance (Celiac disease) or those who simply feel better without this protein (found in wheat, barley and rye). Over the past year, gluten-free food has become more commonplace. Gluten-free baking can be intimidating though. I’ve had friends try my Divine Cookies (recipe below) and are impressed with the fact that they are not only gluten-free but don’t contain sugar. I’m impressed too, as I’m not a confident baker.
It’s easy to substitute typical all-purpose wheat flour with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Mix, for instance. I use it for pancakes, muffins, waffles regularly. It’s made up of garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava flour. Those with sensitive palates often comment on any gluten free foods with bean flour not being as tasty, but I have yet to hear complaints from my family.
The shortbread-like recipe below calls for xanthan gum which you may have you scratching your head. Xanthum gum is a flour that thickens and emulsifies. Quite simply, it helps keep your baking mixes mixed. It keeps oil droplets from sticking together and separating, and solid particles from settling to the bottom of your batter bowl. In traditional baking with gluten containing grains, the gluten acts as the glue, so you need to add it in here.
If you want to make your own gluten-free mix, this combination works well. Use as a substitute in cookies, muffins and pancakes:
1 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
There are a plethora of gluten-free flours on the market that can also be incorporated; almond, teff, coconut, quinoa, millet, sourghum and more. Start with this and continue to search for variations. Watch my blog as I make my way through the holiday season with coconut flour on hand. I’ll share my successes with you!