Grain-Free/Gluten-Free Baking (eCookbook Review and Recipe)

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Have I told you that my kids are allergic to gluten? Well, they are and it’s a big bummer. Just give them a little bit and they’ll have eczema from head to toe. And since my son sometimes has asthma attacks awful enough to merit a night in the hospital, staying away from allergy triggers is really important. We’ve been cooking gluten-free for them for over a year and my poor husband has had to leave his artisan bread baking days behind. Sigh. As I said, it’s a huge bummer.

We’ve gotten accustomed to gluten-free cooking, but baking is another story. Gluten-free flour alternatives are intimidating to say the least and I was terrified of things like Xantham Gum that I had no idea how to use.  Many a recipe I tried turned out inedible. Which is why I was really excited when my friend Stephanie of Mama and Baby Love came out with Grain-Free/Gluten-Free Baking, an eCookbook making it easy to learn healthy gluten-free baking. I knew it would be great because we’ve enjoyed munching on her amazing gluten-free baked goods (she even made me gluten-free lactation cookies when Gwen was born).

And not only are the recipes delicious (I’m including the Healthy Almond Joy Cookie recipe below with Stephanie’s permission), the cookbook is a great resource for any one starting out with gluten-free baking. In addition to 20 recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, and pizza crusts, Steph walks you through all the intimidating gluten-free flours and explains how to use them as well as how to bake with healthy ingredients like coconut oil. The cookbook is full of tips and tricks for gluten-free baking that would help anyone who’s starting out like me.

Healthy Almond Joy Cookies

My kids were really excited about helping me in the kitchen with some gluten-free recipes, so we started with the very first one and they turned out so good that we’re making more this afternoon.

Ingredients:

3 cups dried coconut (opt for unsweetened)

1 cup almond flour/meal

1 cup honey

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of chopped almonds

1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Whole almonds for tops of cookies

Just mix them all together, except for the whole almonds. Stephanie recommends using a food processor, but because I don’t have one, we just mixed the ingredients together in a big bowl and it worked just fine. Use a tablespoon to scoop out and put on a cookie sheet, then add the whole almonds on top. 4-year-old Benjamin got a big kick out of being in charge of the almonds. (In fact, we didn’t buy chopped almonds and instead let him put whole almonds in a plastic bag and crush them with a can. He loved it.) Then we just put ours in the fridge to get cold so the coconut oil hardens and they stay together. But you can also bake them in the oven for 10 minutes or in a dehydrator at the lowest temperature for 12 hours.

They are so good, y’all.

We’re loving Grain-Free/Gluten-Free Baking! And until August 14th, you can get Stephanie’s Slow Cooker Freezer Meals eCookbook half-0ff for 4.99! It’s usually 9.99. It’s saving my life right now while I settle into life with three kids and we have Thai Chicken Curry and Summer Veggie Soup in the freezer and ready to put in the slow cooker any time. Yum. You can read my review and view some recipes from it if you’re interested.

Do you bake gluten-free? Any tips or tricks to share?

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Comments

  1. says

    Yes, we are gluten free (for my littlest two girls, though I’ve been surprised at the change in how *I* feel, too) since the start of the year, on our doctor’s advice.

    I still haven’t found my baking mojo though, and have had many failures. I’m eager to try to this to me book out! Thanks for the recommendation and thanks for the almond joy cookies recipe – the almond and coconut fan at my house will LOVE this!

    Best wishes!

    • Haley says

      Yes! We do GF for the kids but I feel much better if I steer clear, too. Hope you love the cookies. We’re actually about to make some more, haha. I’m super excited about hanging out at Allume!!!

  2. April says

    Those look good! We experimented with gluten-free for about a year, and I quickly became frustrated with mixing flours and xanthan gum. I do think almond flour and coconut flour are a bit more expensive, but the simplicity (and better taste!) made up for the cost. Just had to bake less and rely more on naturally gluten-free foods.

    • Haley says

      Me, too! I’m scared of xantham gum, haha. I like almond flour, but coconut flour sometimes has a funny aftertaste to me? But I agree, baking less and eating things we already liked that don’t have gluten has been typical around here, too :)

  3. Lissy says

    We’ve been eating gluten free (and often dairy-free, too) for about 5 years now. GF baking has a steep learning curve, but there’s a knack to it that you and your husband will get at some point, just like with regular baking!

    I highly recommend finding a flour blend that works for you and keeping a big batch in a large container in your fridge.

    I really like the one by these folks (love their cookbooks, too; I prefer recipes like this that aren’t full of strange ingredients): http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com/ It is heavy on whole grains but contains enough starch to make it versatile. I have modified it to use only brown rice flour, sorghum flour, and tapioca starch, which keeps the cost down a bit. I just buy those three ingredients in bulk online once a month. I bake their challah bread recipe — from their blog, not their book — in a loaf pan to use as my regular sandwich bread. 1.5 times the recipe gives you two nice loaves.

    It may seem like an unnecessary thing to do, but it is really important to bake by weight, not by measure (1 cup of all-purpose flour is 125g, so you want to use 125g of your GF flour mix for 1 cup in a recipe) when you’re using GF flours. If you can, use only GF recipes that include weights, too; it will increase your chances of success and is much easier than trying to calculate the weight of the various flours they use or spending the money to buy special flours just for one recipe.

    And then just be patient and realize that you’ll have some failures along the way. As you know, GF baking is very different from what we’re used to. The batters and doughs don’t look the same or behave the same way; it takes some time to get a feel for it. It seems to go faster if you stick with one flour blend — it gives you a better chance of having success recipe to recipe, and that helps you figure out the knack of it. It took me a couple of years, but now I feel comfortable adapting regular recipes (and also can usually tell when a recipe is just not going to work if adapted to be GF).

    I really like using almond flour, too! But it doesn’t seem to work as well for breads as it does for treats.

    You can also try to plan strategically so that the foods you bake most often are the least expensive, i.e. involve only a little GF flour. With bread, you’re just going to have to use lots of flour; but if you can make brownies instead of chocolate cake, for example, and use a recipe that is mostly eggs and butter and cocoa and only a little flour, you’ll save a lot. Same thing with pancakes — substitute GF cornmeal for 1/3 of the flour to keep the costs down. Make peanut butter cookies instead of sugar cookies (again, less flour!). And then splurge on birthday cakes! :)

    Glad to share more if anyone has any questions! dlane2530 at gmail dot com

  4. says

    OH yes, we have been cooking not only gluten free, but nut, dairy, soy, corn, food dye and melon free for the past 3 years and I only just now feel like I am getting the baking end of things figured out! I use a mix of white rice four, tapioca starch, potato flour and millet flour as an all purpose mix and a millet, sorghum, tapioca starch mix for more artisan breads. http://allerfreecook.blogspot.com/ is where you can find my baking ideas and other allergen free meals :)

  5. Lisa says

    We weren’t able to get rid of the asthma inhalors and struggle until we got rid of sugar, even though we’ve been gluten-free for years. It took learning about blood sugar issues and how glycemic issues affect cell development and defense. A really good resource is an online class if I can find the link I’ll pass it on. Anyway, the only sweet we consume comes from certain limited fruits and stevia. And the only flours allowed are coconut and almond. It was tough at first, but like I said, my son has been asthmatic his whole life and we got rid of all meds at age 15. That’s huge! Wishing you all the best in your gluten free journey!

    • Haley says

      That’s amazing, Lisa! Thankfully, Benjamin’s asthma has improved SO much over the past year, but cutting out sugars is always a good idea, right? Thanks for sharing the link!

  6. says

    Oh my goodness, we have been baking gluten free for a lotta lotta years, and my adults daughters are pretty amazing. Favourite classic family recipe (well, not exactly a RECIPE) Cooked Cereal Muffins.

    So, you take whatever cooked cereal you have that is gluten free and left over from breakfast, and is still gooey in the pot at 11 am. You add some oil or melted coconut butter or melted cow butter and some milk or milk alternate or water, two eggs, and a teaspoon or two of vanilla and whir it up with beaters until its kind of a water cereal. About like the consistency or cooked cereal with too much milk in it and then all stirred together.

    Then you take some gluten free flour or flour blend…we usually use a combination of rice, coconut or almond flour, add a teaspoon or so of salt and two teaspoons of baking powder and stir those dry ingredients together and dump them, DUMP THEM, I say…into the wet ingredients and continue whirring with the beaters. Can’t overbeat gf.

    It should all be the consistency of normal to wateryish muffin batter. Add whatever else you like, such as cinnamon and sugar, raisins or nuts, cheese and chopped chives and a little pepper, blueberries…you get the picture I’m sure.

    Spray or grease muffin tins, bake at 350 until they smell done and bounce when you touch them.

    If you want something like an actual recipe let me know. These get made several times per week at our house, I give them as gifts to new moms, take them to parties…everyone is always shocked to find out they are GF.

    Yum. PM

  7. Yvonne Herdman says

    I wrote down the “recipe” for Cooked Cereal Muffins, but if you have a more specific recipe, I would love to have it. Thanks!

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