Thoughts on Holiday Gluten-Free Baking

Well, we got through Thanksgiving, and now my plans are turning towards what I’ll be baking for the rest of the holidays.  There are dinners, parties and lots of get-togethers.  If you are in the same boat–do not despair.  I have my methods!

If you are new to gluten-free baking, I strongly advise that you pick one recipe and perfect it–no matter how many trays you will be giving away this year.  After all, you will be giving the trays to different people.  They won’t know that you only made one kind of cookie!  I recommend that you choose a recipe that is fairly easy, like our brownie recipe and give it a try.  I said brownies because that is where I usually start new bakers.  And once you are comfortable with the basic recipe, you can add in nuts or chips to make them your own.  A tray of perfect brownies is a rare treat.  Anyone would be glad to get it.

Now if you have perfected brownies, you may want to move on to other cookies.  Search this blog for inspiration.  However, don’t plan to bake too many types of cookies until you are an experience gluten-free baker because there are differences.  For example, always weigh your gluten-free four.  Baking Free™ gluten-free all purpose flour should weigh 124 g per cup.  If you scoop the flour and use a cup measurement you might get as much as 1/4 cup extra flour.  That would ruin the recipe and the results.

Another difference in gluten-free baking is that the dough for cookies does much better if it is refrigerated after it is mixed and before it is baked.  This simple step helps to make the cookie dough thicker and more like traditional cookie dough.  So don’t skip this step if it is called for in the recipe.   Also gluten-free cookies often do not brown as much as traditional cookies.  Sometimes it is better to lower the temperature and extend the time to allow the cookies enough time to bake through and to brown.  Research if you have to make any changes because of living in a high-altitude area.  You can easily find this out on the internet.

Now, I encourage you to make these recipes your own by making the necessary substitutions that your diet requires.  However, you should know that substituting  any ingredient, such as, using an egg replacement or non-dairy butter or shortening can change the results.  I am not dairy-free, so I use milk, eggs and cheese in my recipes.  If you cannot, I recommend that you try the recipe with your substitutions, but be sensitive to the fact that you might have to make adjustments to get the results you want.  Again, this is why I suggest that you do one recipe at a time until you have perfected it.

By limiting the kinds of cookies you plan to bake for your own use or to give away, you can limit the stress of gluten-free baking.  Take control of your baking schedule and prepare to serve wonderful gluten-free holiday goodies!  Happy gluten-free baking for the holidays!