I don’t regularly bake gluten-free, but I gladly take up the challenge when going to Italy to see my boyfriend’s family. His little brother has celiac disease, and I enjoy baking a batch of biscuits for him when I come and visit. This week, he is coming to London for the week, so I have been preparing a gluten-free menu for all of us, as well as some bread and cookies just for him.
I read that you had to be really careful when baking gluten-free because the tiniest amount of gluten can be a problem. So I washed all my pots and spoons in the washing machine, cleaned all the surfaces and even cleaned the oven. I might be overdoing it, but the last thing I want is for him to be sick because of me. I tried baking a GF bread, but it looks a bit weird, so I went to buy one at the supermarket as well, just to be sure (and won’t be sharing the recipe, though I might pop the picture on my Facebook page for a laugh)
However for the cookies, I am using a bullet-proof recipe which I adapted from Gluten Free Gus. The recipe as written on the blog is quite easy, but I have substituted a few ingredients such as xanthan gum or molasses. as they are not part of my staples.
120 g unsalted butter
190 g sticky dark brown sugar (I used this because I did not have molasses or xanthan gum, so I thought it would keep the mix together better than normal brown or white sugar)
2 tablespoons chesnut honey (as a substitute for molasses)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200 g GF flour mix (I used the Dovers Farm brown flour GF mix)
50 g almond powder (as a substitute for chesnut flour)
A handful crushed almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
150 g chocolate chips. I used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips just like in the original recipe, but you could use anything you like.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter in the Thermomix for 1 minute/Speed 1/ 50 C
3. Add the sugar and honey and mix for 20 seconds/Speed 3
4. Add the egg and vanilla while the blades are still running, mix until creamy.
5. Add the dry ingredients in the Thermomix bowl and mix for 30 seconds/Speed 4, making sure that all the ingredients have been well combined.
6. Add the chocolate chips and crushed almonds, and mix for 20 seconds/Speed 2/Reverse Blade until they are evenly incorporated in the dough
7. Cover and chill for at least an hour. I have tried skipping this stage (and I know you will to) and my dough ended up very sticky, much more difficult to work with.
8. Roll the dough into ping-pong sized balls. Place the dough balls on the cookie sheet(s) and bake for 15-20 minutes.
I am quite proud of the results of my first GF baking attempt, and I am glad the cookies turned out ok even though I did not use all the required ingredients. Compared to the ones on the Gluten Free Gus blog they look a bit drier, but it’s a good start! I feel ready for some new GF adventures!