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Gluten-Free Baking

 June 23 2022  By: DeLuscious Cookies
Gluten-Free Baking

Did you know that one in 133 people has celiac disease a­­­­­­nd are therefore allergic to gluten? Many cases often get misdiagnosed as peanut allergies or other such ailments. But with so much awareness around gluten-intolerance, being gluten-free can be…a cakewalk.

Once diagnosed, you might think your sweet life is pretty much over. But these days, many gluten-free recipes are easily found on the internet, and it's pretty simple to convert traditional recipes into gluten-free friendly ones. Despite the fact that gluten-free baked goods have largely expanded their reach in the fresh baked section of grocery stores, in our opinion, most products don’t live up to the taste and texture of what one would expect out of a freshly baked product. Yes, there are a few bakeries that excel at freshly baked gluten-free sweets, but we encourage you to try experimenting at home!

For those of you from the gluten-free stone age (before gluten-free food was a thing), you already know about gluten-free flour blends. For our newcomers, gluten-free flour is flour without wheat, barley, or rye. It is always good to check for the words “gluten-free” or the symbol that represents gluten-free on all flour and grain products that you purchase, even if you think they are naturally gluten-free.

Gluten is the protein found in flour that acts like a binder and interacts amazingly well with rising agents, in addition to so many other terrific properties. It is the wonderful ingredient that gives bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, and most baked goods their texture and adds flavor. But for those who are allergic or have an autoimmune reaction to gluten, it can wreak havoc on their immune system. For these individuals, gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine and over time can cause serious damage to one’s well-being.

In 2005, Lydia Shayne, owner of DeLuscious Cookies & Milk created her first gluten-free cookie recipe as a special request for a 13-year-old girl who had been recently diagnosed with celiac disease and was craving her favorite cookie: chocolate chip. Lydia had no idea what celiac disease was and gluten-free was not a “thing” back then. She said, “there were few if any gluten-free blended 1-to-1 ratio flours that you could find at any neighborhood grocery store. This was unchartered territory.” Shayne created her own blend of gluten-free that she uses to this day for her gluten-free and vegan gluten-free products.

These days, many reach for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 baking flour out of sheer ease and consistency and frankly, it works well. Bob’s mix contains a blend of gluten-free flours and xanthan gum, which works like gluten to keep your baked goods from falling apart. Some gluten-free blends do not contain binders (such as xanthan gum) and in those cases, we recommend adding a binder of your choice to your flour or dough to ensure it holds together. If you are sensitive to xanthan gum, then look for binder substitutes such as:

  • Psyllium husk
  • Chia seeds (soak with water before using)
  • Ground flax seeds (soak with water before using)
  • Cornstarch
  • Unflavored Gelatin
  • Egg Whites (whip and fold into your dough)
  • Agar Agar (dissolve in water before using)
  • Guar Gum (a little challenging to find and not our favorite with baked goods)

Be patient and embrace the testing process! If you’re new to gluten-free baking, don’t worry. We are here to walk you through key pointers that you may need to kick off your successful journey. Our main goal is to make things easier and pleasurable for you. We hope you enjoy it!

Tips and Tricks for Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking

We put together a list of simple tips and tricks from our experiences with baked goods – including ways to work around those pesky substitutions.

1.   Read the entire recipe before you start

This may seem apparent, but so many people dive into a recipe without reading it first that we feel we must make a point.

2.   Follow the recipe as instructed.

Professional bakers have the advantage of utilizing their years of experience when creating recipes and provide precise measurements and instructions to achieve the best results. Therefore, if your recipe calls for something specific like soft peaks or firm consistency, trust that professional bakers know what they are doing and don’t stop until you have soft peaks.  Test the recipe as it is written without making changes the first time around, then feel free to experiment.

3.   Know the right flour to use

There are many different types of flours available on grocery store shelves, but which one is the best for your gluten-free baked goods?

If you’re just starting out, there’s no harm in testing different mixes, blends and flours to discover which you believe is best suited for your recipes. Just make sure your flour is labeled “Gluten-Free”.

4.   Measure Flour and all ingredients Properly

When preparing a gluten-free baking recipe, you ought to measure your ingredients correctly. We suggest investing in a scale . That is the most accurate way to measure when baking.

Final Verdict

Experiment and have fun!!  We have prepared a simple recipe that is sure to be a success for any home baker. Feel free to post your results!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 11 - 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups / 9.25 ounces / 260 grams Bob’s Red Mill* gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, fine
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 6 ounces / 1 ½ sticks / 170 grams regular unsalted butter (room temperature) or softened coconut oil
  • ½ cup / 4 ounces/125 grams granulated cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup / 2 ½ ounces / 75 grams brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces / 340 grams bittersweet chocolate chopped, wafers or chips.  (We like to use at least 60% dark, but you can mix it with milk chocolate or semi-sweet chips if you prefer)

*you can use another brand, but we recommend one that has included xanthan gum in the flour

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degree (325 degrees if using a convection oven). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat if you have one (6 cookies per tray so there is room for spreading).

In a medium bowl sift the all-purpose gluten-free flour, salt, and baking soda. If your flour does not contain xanthan gum, add it to the flour mixture. If using a xanthan gum replacement and it is a liquid, add it to the dough after adding the well-combined eggs and vanilla before adding the flour mixture. 

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter or coconut oil, cane sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Add the egg and mix on medium speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well and then add the vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low spend until well combined.  While traditional all-purpose flour should not be overmixed because it makes for a tough cookie, xanthan gum takes a moment to activate and works better if mixed slightly longer. Scrape the bowl well and mix on low speed to ensure the mixture is well incorporated.

Add the chocolate and mix gently to incorporate. Fold the entire mixture together to ensure that the flour is blended with the sugars, chocolate, and egg. 

It is always best to rest the dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

If you do not have time to rest the dough, scoop it into 12 3-ounce (85 grams) mounds and gently roll into balls, then transfer six balls to each prepared baking sheet. 

Bake the cookies, switching racks and rotating sheets halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and just barely set in the center, 18 – 20 minutes. Transfer sheets to a wire rack for 15 minutes, then transfer cookies with a spatula onto another rack to cool completely. Enjoy.

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