Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Experiments in gluten-free baking

My mum is vegan and wheat-intolerant, so on a recent visit it seemed like a good time to experiment with one of the more challenging parts of baking. I wanted to have a go at some cookies, and my mum recommended the chocolate cupcakes from Erin McKenna's Babycakes book. She also had a recipe for choc-chip cookies, so we tried those too.

It's a bit of a novelty for me to follow a recipe, but we kept reasonably close to these ones. There was a lot of emphasis on apple puree and coconut oil, in both recipes.

I had a taste of the cake mixture as we were spooning the mix into paper cases, and my initial analysis was that it tasted of beansprouts. We could only guess this was down to the chickpea flour, which is after all raw and bean-like. I hoped that taste would go away after cooking, but although it was less noticable, I still thought the finished product tasted strange. Perhaps it would have been better if we'd iced them?

The cookies, on the other hand, were pretty tasty. You could really taste the coconut, but since coconut goes nicely with chocolate, I don't see this as a problem! I might even have been tempted to throw in some flaked coconut to make it seem more deliberate. The texture was a little unusual, a bit more bouncy than you'd usually expect from a cookie, but they were tasty and I'd be happy to eat more.

I'll have to experiment a bit more to find something I'm really happy with, but it was interesting to try someone else's recipes, and to know what I'm trying to improve on.


Velva said...

It is always a novelty for me to follow the directions too. It's why, I shy away from baking.

Your post captured my interest as my nephew is wheat intolerant and his young wife who loves to bake is struggling with ideas in preparing baked goods without wheat.

Thanks for sharing your post.


The Bipolar Diva said...

Oh I never seem to follow directions on anything. I've never tried any gluten free baking. I probably should, my daughter seems to be allergic to everything.

Anonymous said...

One of our friends is vegan and coeliac, and we once planned to write a cookbook. We did come up with a recipe for flapjacks that worked reasonably well - email me if you or your mum would be interested!

jjdebenedictis said...

Ooh, there's a tough tummy to bake for. Getting rid of wheat is hard enough without also avoiding the eggs.

Charlotte said...

As someone who is trying to eat a more gluten-free diet, recipes like these are always right up my alley. Interested in the chick pea flour; I've seen it in a few recipes, but never for a dessert. Sounds interesting.

Thanks for sharing and hope all is well with you, Rachel. Wishing you and yours very happy holidays!

Jenna Cooper said...

I had a roommate who was a celiac, so I tried my hand at gluten-free recipes, but it was hard to find tasty things. It must be wonderful for you to have found something that tastes good and your mom can enjoy.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

We aren't gluten free at my house but we do use raw sugar and whole wheat unbleached flour instead of refined and white. HOWEVER, this year I got out some of my moms old Christmas cookie recipes and baked them using our healthy ingredients instead of the old tried and true. Not worth it. Usually we don't have a problem with any foods (including Apple Pie) since changing to raw and wheat but the Christmas cookies were terrible. The texture was different, they weren't as sweet and well, they just were not right. We don't eat a lot of treats so my new theory is, if we're gonna eat them, eat them the way we like them and don't try to make a sweet treat a healthy treat. Just make it tasty!

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