Monday, July 20, 2009

Gluten-Free Baking

Since I had to go gluten-free a year and a half ago, I've been learning to bake all over again. I've actually enjoyed myself a lot, learning to use new materials, new kinds of flour, new kinds of techniques and blends. I've viewed this as a fun project, not as a hardship.

When my friends were visiting from out of town, we had some fun experimenting with baking. We made a key lime pie from fresh key limes. We made a few other projects, for fun. I've found a gluten-free pancake and waffle mix that I really like, that makes great waffles. I found my mother's 1970s Oster waffle-maker when I was emptying out my parents' house. It was buried in the back of a cupboard in the kitchen. I doubt anyone had seen or used it in years. I've been enjoying making waffles periodically ever since.

A few days ago, then, we made scones. I used the basic scone recipe from that classic of cooking, The Joy of Cooking, which I have three different editions of, from three different decades. It's fun to have an old edition of Joy, as it contains recipes dropped later on.

We made scones with white chocolate chips and blueberries, following the basic recipe. The result was fabulous. Delicious, tasty, and perfect.

One of the tricks of doing gluten-free baking is that, obviously, you have to find another binding agent for the flours, since wheat gluten is not possible. I use xantham gum, and I also use an egg yolk.

From the egg whites left over from the key lime pie, we also experimented with making maple meringue cookies. That was less successful, and we undercooked them. But it was an experiment, and although they were soft and didn't shape up right, they were delicious.

But I'm real proud of the scones. They were fantastic.

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