Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gluten Free Baking Week


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By Diane Forrest,

Well this is the season for holiday baking, cookies, pies and cakes for all the parties and holiday gatherings.  One thing to consider is the dietary restrictions of your family members.  If someone is your family has any restrictions, such as diabetes, they are usually aware of what they can eat, and how much.  That goes for people who have sodium restrictions and food allergies too.  While it would be impossible to accommodate everyone's restrictions, you can find some way to provide something that would be appropriate for their diets.  One restriction that has become more recognizable lately is the gluten free foods.

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Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and related grains. It is the substance that gives dough its shape, causes it to rise, and have elastic properties. Gluten has been named as one of the causes of Celiac disease, which affects 1% of the population. The only treatment for Celiac disease is a gluten free diet.

You can find gluten free ingredients at wholefoods markets, or your local market, but if you live in an area that doesn't carry these items, you can always find them online at amazon.com.

This is Gluten Free baking week, so if you have someone in your family, or know someone who has Celiac disease, why not make them a special batch of gluten free cookies?

Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine brown rice flour
  • 1/8 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/8 cup tapioca flour OR cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon guar gum OR xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk or dairy-free milk substitute
  • 24 large dark chocolate mint morsels OR chocolate kiss candies (see note)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350° F / 176° C
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicone baking liner or lightly grease with butter or vegetable shortening.

In a medium bowl mix all dry ingredients. Cut butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Use an electric mixer (hand-held or stand mixer) and mix just until crumbly. Add vanilla, egg and milk and beat until smooth. You can refrigerate cookie dough, covered overnight for convenience.

Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring tablespoon to drop rounded balls of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between each cookie. Press one large chocolate morsel or chocolate candy kiss down on each ball of cookie dough ball. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Note:

This recipe was made with Trader Joe's "UFO Chocolate Mints", found in the baking section.

Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.

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