Most of us that have gone gluten free are making an effort to improve our health. This means that for the most part we are eating clean and healthy whole foods. Occasionally, though, we do have a hankering for something rich, sweet, and yummy. Also if we have little ones, we can keep them on track by providing the yummy things they see their friends enjoying.
Making goodies like cookies from scratch is actually very beneficial to having a healthy diet. In fact making most things from scratch is healthful because you can control the ingredients. This includes controlling the quality of ingredients, where they come from, and how they come to you.
Unfortunately many of the recipes readily available for the gluten free diet tend to have odd ingredients and at times, do not produce a desirable goodie that will satisfy the occasional sweet tooth. Also the variety of recipes can be scarce at times.
However, there are a multitude of recipes out there for non gluten free diets. The ability to convert these recipes into a more healthful, gluten free option will add exponentially to your repertoire.
One of the easiest sweets to make from scratch is cookies. There are a few basic things to keep in mind when converting. The “flour” used is the most important consideration. While coconut flour and other healthy flours are desirable, these can sabotage a recipe because they have a high protein and fiber content. So it is important to be careful when using these. Most of the time you can incorporate these flours successfully if you blend them with a starch. Another option for a healthy flour is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Now just to be clear, this brand makes a baking flour blend. I do not use this because it has rice flour in it. For my family, it is important to stay away from most grains. We occasionally use corn. The All Purpose flour has bean flours and sorghum blended in. Even this blend can be a bit heavy for baking. To make it work I usually blend a few different “flours” together. Typically for cookies I use a blend of these three:
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
Sometimes the amount of flour in a recipe can be divided into three equally. When it can’t be divided equally I usually assign the larger measure to the all purpose flour. You may also want to do this if you want to keep your starch intake low. However, please keep in mind that if you want to make something really delicious and satisfying you will have to, in most cases, incorporate some starch. If you are really opposed to using starches, then I strongly suggest sticking to recipes that are already gluten free, tried, and tested.
The other very important consideration is using Xanthan Gum. This is very, very important. Without it, your cookies won’t make it off the cooking sheet in one piece. (A discussion about Xanthan Gum will be featured soon. Stay tuned!) The general guideline for cookies is ¼ teaspoon for every cup of “flour” you use. This includes starches. So let’s say that the recipe calls for 3 cups of flour. You would use 1 cup of each: Bob’s …All Purpose Flour, Tapioca Starch, Cornstarch + ¾ teaspoon Xanthan Gum.
For most cookie recipes these are the only changes you need to make. When vanilla is called for, I like to use Simply Organic vanilla. This brand is definitely gluten free. Also be sure to use ingredients that you know to be gluten free. For baking power or baking soda, Bob’s Red Mill Brand is a good choice. Do not forget to use Parchment Paper. This makes baking successful and enjoyable.
So are you ready to get started? Try out my chocolate chocolate chip recipe. This is a variation of the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe - always a crowd pleaser. Stayed tuned for more tips and recipe conversions. If you would like for me to help you convert a recipe to make it gluten free, please post your request in the comment section. Remember to include your e-mail address.
Happy Gluten Free Eating!