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Cookie Day One: Sans Gluten et Sans Reproche - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Cookie Day One: Sans Gluten et Sans Reproche [Nov. 24th, 2014|08:19 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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My godson Rob was diagnosed with celiac this spring, and while we haven’t made all the changes we would if it was someone in my household, there has been a lot more paying attention to what has wheat and barley and the like, what doesn’t, what does but can be made to work without it. Also, we have been saying for years that my goddaughter Lillian is almost old enough (and definitely enthusiastic enough about baking) to be included in Cookie Day. This year, the two things combined: we had Lillian spend the night and then spend all day having Gluten-Free Cookie Day.

Here is what we made.

First, in our pajamas, we made fully glutenated waffles for breakfast. Because Lillian hasn’t been diagnosed with celiac, and sometimes having the gluteny things you like when you’re not sharing them with your big brother is a good plan.

Then we got ready for the day and finished putting out the Christmas decorations (usually wayyyy too early, but I’m going to be in Montreal, so I needed to get it done if it was ever going to happen) and waited for my folks and my grandma. And then the reinforcements got here and we really got going.

We made: chocolate fudge with hazelnuts; double-layer chocolate/peanut butter fudge; caramels; strawberry shortbread with gluten-free flour*; chocolate-dipped apricots; chocolate mixed nut clusters; amaretti (tinted lavender–Lillian’s choice), some sandwiched with frosting and some with raspberry jam; Nutella cookies; and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. We didn’t get to the blueberry meringues, so I’ll do those tomorrow before we really get going on the gluten-y cookies, and there was a teeeeeensy mishap when we were boiling the apple cider down for apple cider caramels, so that got scratched for the day.

And in the process, we taught Lillian about when you whip a lot of air into egg whites to make them fluffy, how to use a pastry blender to do exactly the opposite, how to use a pastry bag to pipe dough out, how to make frosting from scratch, and many other topics in the worlds of baking, chemistry, finance, and more.

All in all, a lovely day. More of it coming tomorrow.

*This was our only use of a gluten-free flour product. All the other cookies and treats were recipes that are just naturally made without flour. I know that some of the wheat substitute flours can taste pretty good for people who need them, especially with a strong flavoring like strawberry covering up the fact that they don’t taste quite the same, and they’re a good resource to have. But when I’m not working around another dietary restriction like nuts, dairy, or eggs, I prefer to make recipes that were gluten-free to begin with, rather than adjusting things to become gluten-free. Several of the above were also dairy-free, though, so ask if you’re interested.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


[User Picture]From: whswhs
2014-11-25 03:04 am (UTC)
If you are looking for a gluten-free pasta, the very best we have found is Tinkyada/Pasta Joy brown rice pasta. It neither stays painfully al dente, nor goes over in a flash to slime; you boil it for 14 minutes and then drain it and rinse it in cold water, much like wheat pasta, and the texture is quite acceptable.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-11-25 03:06 am (UTC)
I suspect this would not work for us because at least one member of the household hates brown rice as a thing. But we've found some pretty-edible quinoa-based ones.
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From: swan_tower
2014-11-25 03:24 am (UTC)
But when I’m not working around another dietary restriction like nuts, dairy, or eggs, I prefer to make recipes that were gluten-free to begin with, rather than adjusting things to become gluten-free.

This is my philosophy on X-free things in general. I will happily enjoy your vegetarian dish that is doing its own awesome vegetable thing! (Well, at least some of the time. There are vegetables I still don't like.) But vegetables masquerading as meat substitutes? Thanks, but I'll pass. I understand why those things exist, but I would much rather have something that plays to the strengths of its materials, rather than trying to massage them into being acceptable substitutes for something else.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-11-25 03:32 am (UTC)
Yes, we formed this theory around vegan cooking and have only recently expanded it to gluten-free.

I think it helps that we are not cooking vegan or gluten-free full-time, though.
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[User Picture]From: mamapduck
2014-11-25 11:16 pm (UTC)
Amen! The only palatable "veggie burgers" I ever found was ones that were pretty blatantly not even pretending to be meat. "Look, we're grain and portobello mushroom patties and that's good enough for us, so deal with it!"

I refer to myself as gluten-dependent. One of the weird gluten substitutes commonly used in many products makes me terribly sick to my stomach. I have not narrowed down which one, so I actively avoid "just like the real thing" versions.
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From: athenais
2014-11-25 05:33 am (UTC)
Bring me your double-layer chocolate/peanut butter fudge and that eftsoones!
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From: okrablossom.dreamwidth.org
2014-11-25 01:52 pm (UTC)
Are the chocolate chip peanut butter cookies dairy free? Because if they are wheat and dairy free I will beg you for the recipe. (Or if I could substitute veggie shortening?)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-11-26 01:30 am (UTC)
Absolutely they are. They are the easiest thing. They are 1 egg, 1 t. baking soda, 1 c. peanut butter, 1 t. vanilla, 1 c. sugar, and as many chocolate chips as you like. The first five ingredients mixed together until smooth, then the chocolate chips. Drop in balls, smoosh a little with a fork, bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
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[User Picture]From: cathshaffer
2014-11-25 03:18 pm (UTC)
Sounds lovely! I could use some of those lessons, myself.
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[User Picture]From: rysmiel
2014-11-25 03:23 pm (UTC)
First, in our pajamas, we made fully glutenated waffles

I like what foresight can do to sentences.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2014-11-25 04:04 pm (UTC)
I'd love to hear about the blueberry meringues - in particular, whether you think honey could be subbed in for any sugars in the recipe.

If I make cookies for Christmas and want them to be edible by all present, eggs are OK but they'd need to avoid milk, all grains, and all sugars except honey. It cuts down the possibilities quite a lot. Luckily, the person with the restricted diet is at least able to handle touching or being around other foods so I could make regular cookies for the rest of us - but it would be cruel to do that without providing a good alternative.
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[User Picture]From: mamapduck
2014-11-25 11:18 pm (UTC)
Are nuts acceptable? One can do some lovely things with honey in nut balls.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-11-26 01:28 am (UTC)
No, the sugar is really quite structurally essential, I'm afraid. Although there was quite a lot of powdered dried blueberry mixed into the sugar, it wouldn't be enough for someone who wasn't supposed to have sugar at all.
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[User Picture]From: sprrwhwk
2014-11-26 11:04 am (UTC)
I am a huge sloppy fan of the King Arthur gluten-free all-purpose mix. I've tried several others and the King Arthur mix is the only one I can legitimately substitute one-for-one with wheat all-purpose in most of my recipes. (Possibly with a tiny bit of xanthan gum for structure, although I'll often leave it out of even recipes which call for it to no significant ill effect, and in exchange possibly adding a resting step in the fridge so the batter or dough has extra time to absorb moisture, as the mix does that less readily than regular wheat flour.)

The individual boxes are small, so I buy boxes of boxes. I get them from Amazon, but a local Costco/BJ's/Sam's may have them as well.

I can tell a difference in taste and texture, but I'm fairly sensitive to the difference at this point, since I do occasionally eat food containing gluten by accident, and I've trained myself to recognize the taste so I am more likely to notice before I've eaten too much. I find the King Arthur mix's taste very similar to wheat all-purpose and quite palatable, even in applications like pie crust where it's fairly prominent on its own.

I share your sentiments about preferring recipes which were gluten-free to begin with, and unfortunately as you say I developed a secondary allergy to many of the common nuts, which curtailed my experimentation with their various flours and milks. The King Arthur mix has been a lifesaver since.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-11-26 12:38 pm (UTC)
Hurrah! I'm glad you found something that works for you!
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