Being new to this whole gluten-free way of life, I’ve been stalking the gluten-free blogs out there. I’ve filled my google reader with RSS feeds and drool daily at all the beautiful images of delicious dishes that are safe for me to eat. And, I’m cooking and baking more than ever. So, when I stumbled on The Book of Yum’s Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event, it only made sense to participate. It also just so happened that last weekend I was participating in Louder Guitars and More Lemon Bars a benefit show and bake sale for a local couple struggling with cancer. Wait. Baking gluten-free for a bake sale? Surely you jest! Nope. The organizer even asked people to mark their baked goods with a G in a circle if their items were gluten-free. How cool is that?
Anyway, I went in search of a gluten-free blogger that had some good looking baked goods. I landed on the appropriately titled blog, http://www.sheletthemeatcake.com/. I’m a cookie monster, and so are the other members of my family. So, the first thing that drew my attention was the Quinoa Chocolate Chip cookies. Now, I have to confess – quinoa isn’t my favorite thing in the world. I’m trying to like it, because it’s really really good for you. And, since I’m eating mostly vegan these days, it would be a great source of protein. I figured maybe in a cookie, quinoa would be more enticing. The verdict? Love the cookie, still don’t like the quinoa. The cookies bake up crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, exactly like a good cookie should. They are not too sweet, with that wonderful brown sugar sort of flavor that succanat can impart. The chocolate chips were the perfect amount. But, and it’s a big but, I could still taste that dusty taste of quinoa. *sigh* I will definitely be trying this recipe again with some gluten-free oats (a substitution recommended by Maggie). And, I’ll probably be stealing her proportions and techniques for some additional cookie variations as well. Thanks, Maggie!
Maggie is one of the many gluten-free bloggers that has created her own all-purpose flour mix. I’ve yet to do that. I’m enjoying trying a lot of variations of flours. My stash of gluten-free flour is an ever-expanding store house of powdery yumminess. The upside to creating an all-purpose flour mix is that once you have it whipped up, it’s easy to grab and use in a variety of baked goods. The downside is that if you use someone elses mix, well, then, you’re obligated to try some more recipes uniquely suited to that mix. Wait – that’s not a downside, exactly, is it?
The next thing that drew my attention was the TWF Chocolate Cake. I’m not a huge fan of cake, but the kiddo loves cake. He really wanted me to make cupcakes for the bake sale. So, I thought I’d try this recipe in cupcake shape. After mixing up the dough, I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work as cupcakes. The batter is thick and rich – not pourable at all. So, I abandoned my plans to mess with the baking style and grabbed an 8 x 8 pan, as was suggested. After baking as directed, and letting the cake cool thoroughly, I was able to cut and remove pieces without too much crumbling. A word of warning, I sneaked a small piece while it was still warm, and at that stage, the cake crumbled uncontrollably. I didn’t much care, though, because it was good – rich, gooey chocolate goodness. I didn’t frost these. Personally, I would call them brownies, but delicious brownies. The rest of the family got a taste test and everyone agreed they were delicious.
By this time, I was done baking for the bake sale. (I also made gingerbread cut-out cookies from Cake and Commerce, which were a real hit in the house as well.) But, I still had more of that all purpose flour mix. The day after the bake sale was a furlough day for me, so I woke up early and whipped up the vegan version of Maggie’s pancake recipe. I’m not sure I’ve ever made pancakes before that contained no leavening. One thing that I have noticed when making gluten-free pancakes, though, is that leavening contributes to crumbling. So, this recipe intrigued me due to its lack of leavening. And, I just happened to have a big tub of soy yogurt that I wasn’t getting through as quickly as I would have liked. She’s right that these are easy to throw together. One bowl, a whisk and just a few measuring utensils is all it takes. The batter is thick, and cooks slowly and works best as small pancakes. Unfortunately, the primary pancake eater in my house gave these a thumbs down. “Too sour, Mom,” he said. I had to agree. He’s used to pancakes with cinnamon or banana or some other strong, sweet flavor. These are a more sophisticated grown-up flavored pancake. Perhaps they would have worked better with a sweetened soy yogurt, or one with fruit. We won’t be making them again, though I might try the approach of leaving the leavening out of other pancake recipes to see what happens.