I recently decided to go gluten free. Although I have not yet pursued a diagnosis as being gluten or wheat intolerant, the change has provided some relief from the beastly headaches that suddenly became frequent postnatal. In what is still a very nascent process, I’ll be sharing some findings here and there in the hopes that other gluten free-ers may benefit – and possibly even rekindle their love for baking and consuming.
Here are a couple of my personal discoveries*:
Bread, Oh Wonderful Bread:
I may have a tiny European living inside of me because there are times when I really need bread. Sometimes it just makes a meal feel whole. Like spaghetti – this red-saucy, spicy, meaty, pasta-y (GF of course) delight is quite incomplete without a toasted, every corner covered with vegan butter spread (yay, Earth Balance!) piece of bread. Or, say pork and beans. You MUST have buttered bread with which to scoop some beans! Growing up, hot dogs cut into coins and browned before adding the beans was a special meal for Mom and me. I always remember having it with a chewy piece of buttered wheat bread. Yup, we were clearly upper class folk.
I have tried a good deal of GF breads and it was a sad, sad, sad road of a lack of chewyness and taste. Even after a mild toasting, many breads just don’t hold up – or worse, have a weird flavor. But alas, my bread loving, gluten-resistant friends! I finally found Udi’s Soft and Hearty Whole Grain bread. Happiness! The local Trader Joe’s always had it on the shelves but the feel of the bread was not so encouraging. Once toasted a bit, however, this bread feeds that little Euro fella quite sufficiently.
Cookie, Cookie, You Are My Wookie:
Another staple of my childhood – besides the oh-so-classy pork and beans – were chocolate chip cookies. I grew up with the Nestle recipe and moved on to my own version making substituions/additions like Tofu, almond meal, flax meal or other “make it a little healthier so I can eat more” options. A few years ago, I moved onto Ghirardelli’s 60% Bittersweet Cocoa Chocolate Chips, which were my staple until I recently found Kroger’s Private Selection brand semi-weet chocolate chips. These have a fantastic balance of cocoa, bitterness and sweetness. (Important note: Kroger’s chips are not certified GF.) For a GF chocolate chip that also happens to be wheat, dairy and egg free I enjoy the Enjoy Life Foods brand.
So, back to the GF cookie: As a serious cookie lover, going GF would have just about ruined me. Thankfully, a friend of mine introduced me to the Paleo cookie recipe before I ever went GF and I’ve been hooked ever since. Here is the recipe I follow. It's a delectable combination of almond flour, coconut oil, chocolate chips (and a few other staples) that creates a fantastically satisfying cookie. I include my own picture here though, because the one on the site I link to just does not do this deliciousness justice!
I am still turning the baking corner on my gluten free path. I have had many failures, which is pretty hearbraking each time I have to throw out another chalky, underdone, puck-like mess. But, I am making slow progress. My next venture is making my own GF flour blend, as I have simply not had much success with the pre-packaged blends. One Green Planet is a fantastic blog I found with a recent post - The Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free, Vegan Baking - which outlines some GF baking basics.
Please share your recipes and successes – so we all GF darlings can benefit.
*I have not received any form of compensation to mention any products here. These are really, truly my likes – no promotional persuasion intended.