Saturday, May 19, 2012

Baking without Gluten

I don't have gluten intolerance - I know for sure, I've been tested.  Nobody else in my family has a gluten intolerance either.  Gluten free baking is a bit of a mystery to me, but I've had to experiment with it a little bit recently since there is a new little girl in my Sunday School class at church who is gluten intolerant.  I can't imagine what a huge bummer it is to her to usually have to pass on treats at places like church and school so I always make sure that if we bring a snack, she can eat it.  It's not that big of a deal and usually we just bring vegetables or cheese.  The work comes when there are birthdays to celebrate.  When the first birthday rolled around (it was hers, actually), I tried out GF cupcakes.  I looked at a whole bunch of recipes, collected the ingredients (xanthan gum? I learned it's a binder) and the cupcakes turned out great!  Well, they were a little dense, I will admit. 
Another birthday has rolled around and the request was snickerdoodles.  I looked at a few recipes this time and then made some alterations and changed the quantity (we don't really want dozens of cookies laying around when swimsuit season is upon us).  They are a success!  I highly recommend these if you need a go-to GF cookie.  If someone just handed me one, I'm not sure I'd know that it was GF.  They are quick and easy and don't require a lot of different flours like many recipes I came across.  These are chewy snickerdoodles.  If you prefer them to be more crunchy, omit the yogurt and use all butter.

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles (makes a dainty 15)
3 Tbls shortening
3 Tbls unsalted butter (soft)
1 Tbls greek yogurt
1 egg
1-1/2 Tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Cinnamon/sugar in a 3:1 ratio for rolling (so, about 3 Tbls sugar and 1Tbls cinnamon should give you more than enough to work with).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients.  Set aside.
In another bowl, cream shortening, butter, and sugar together.  Add yogurt, egg and vanilla and mix until well-blended.
Add dry ingredients to shortening-mix and stir until just combined.
Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake for about 10-11 minutes until cookies are set and cracked, but not browned.

A couple tips regarding GF baking that I've come across:
1) Xanthan gum can be spendy.  I discovered you can buy it bulk at PCC, which means if you don't often use it, you can buy it in very small quantities much more cheaply.
2) I've read that if you sift sorghum flour it helps to lighten the finished product.  I don't have a sifter, so I have not tried this.

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