On Gluten Free Baking and Patience

Over the weekend, I got myself into a little gluten free baking kick. As I probably have mentioned, I find gluten free baking to be a bit of a challenge, mostly with regards to the sheer amount of ingredients that most recipes call for—and the associated cost of said ingredients. Maybe if I lived in a larger city with a less expensive health food store to rely on I’d feel differently, but at the moment I feel like gluten free baking at home is a luxury endeavor. That said, I recently acquired a new cookbook—The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, to be exact—which promised shorter ingredient lists as each recipe relies on almond flour. Plus, almond flour is naturally higher in nutrients (like protein), making it even more appealing. I was so excited that it was hard to decide what to bake first.

I settled on chocolate chip cookies after realizing that I didn’t have enough carrots to attempt the carrot cake. And I figured that I could judge the merits of the cookbook on a cookie I know well. I mixed up the gluten free (and as it would have it, vegan) batter. I followed the instructions exactly, really wanting the cookies to turn out. I found the batter to be pretty wet (i.e. oily), but I was pleased when the cookies came out of the oven looking like they do above.

After letting them rest on the baking sheet for the time called for the recipe, I transferred them to a rack to cook further. Immediately, I knew they were not exactly the “go-to” cookie that they author described: they were very delicate and threatened to break if I wasn’t extremely careful. They cooled and we ate them. Flavor-wise, they are delicious, if a bit greasy. Texture-wise, I really wish they were a bit firmer. Would I make them again? Maybe, but I am sure I would try to tweak the batter to give a firmer cookie (maybe add in some shredded coconut and a chia seed slurry as a binder).

Why am I telling you about a slightly subpar, yet still yummy recipe? I find that having dietary restrictions to be frustrating, freeing, and challenging. Most days, I don’t think twice about not eating gluten because I’d trade a migraine-free day for a slice of wheat bread any day. And while I’m glad that there are more and more resources and recipes for us gluten free foodies, I still wish that it was easier.

And lest you think I’ve entirely given up, here’s what happened in the kitchen after the cookies:

Gluten free pizza! No, it’s not exactly the same as regular pizza crust, but this was a fantastic dinner that both Josh and I could eat together. I used Shauna’s recipe and if you try this recipe, do yourself a favor and watch their video—and cook your dough in two batches. Doing it as one big pizza is nearly impossible to do without making a mess of your crust as you try to get it from the parchment paper, on which you roll it out, to your baking stone or pan. I covered that up with pizza sauce:)

The pizza restored my faith. The leftovers that I had for lunch yesterday nearly made me giddy and I’m sad that there isn’t any left for today.

So hooray for that. I might not be a great gluten free baker just yet, but I will still take my efforts over being sad about missing foods that I love.

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  1. By Amy Palanjian on November 21, 2011 at 6:08 am

    [...] last weekend’s questionable cookie experience, I was determined to give my new cookbook another shot. I chose something that sounded good at the [...]

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