The scariest kitchen adventure, in my opinion, is baking. I mentioned this once before, but the precision and accuracy necessary in baking is something I have never preferred and tend to avoid. Throw in a special challenge in there, like gluten-free baking, and I want to run and hide! But as I said, I’d do anything for my sister. Since Wednesdays are my day off, I decided to explore the world of gluten-free baking. That is, after I figured out it was too hot to read outside and too much work to do something productive for my externship.
The hardest part of gluten-free baking is finding flour substitutes. They sell all-purpose flour substitutes, that are usually mixes of brown rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, quinoa flour, and xantham gum. However, these are really expensive and still require additional modifications. After a little research (I swear that Google is a girl’s best friend) I decided to augment one of my favorite oatmeal cookie recipes, since they tend to be pretty forgiving. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but people who are really sensitive to gluten still need to be careful since oats and wheat products are often processed on the same equipment. They sell gluten-free oats, but I used Quaker oats since my sister has eaten these for breakfast a few times without any side effects (we’ll make the switch if she is eventually diagnosed). To replace the wheat-flour, I used a mixture of quinoa flour and oat flour. I made both of these myself for the purpose of experimentation, so you can see how to do that here! It is essentially just your grain of choice (oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.) that is finely ground in a food processor.
Another trick to gluten-free baking is getting the fluffiness right, since that is usually gluten’s job. For this reason, it is usually recommended that you add more eggs or egg whites or xantham gum as a replacement. I didn’t want to waste food by adding egg whites, and so used the flax egg trick instead. Adding some ground flax seed can often be used as an egg-replacement in vegan baking, and it did the trick here!
My sister, hesitant at first, really enjoyed the cookies, so I guess my first adventure was a success!
Question: What recipe or dish scares you the most to try?
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cranberry Chunk Cookies
makes 4 1/2 dozen (loosely inspired by recipe on the bag of Craisins)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup almond butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flax seed
1 cup oats
1 cup oat flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup chocolate chunks
In a small bowl, mix together the apple sauce, almond butter, brown sugar, and eggs. In a larger bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, except the dried cranberries and chocolate chunks. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, and then stir in the cranberries and chocolate. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool on rack until ready to store.