Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gluten Free Coconut Almond Cookies

The cookie recipe continues to evolve.  I've now successfully made a grain free cookie.  It is far from an allergy free cookie, since it is almond meal.  However, tree nuts are not a concern for us, despite the our wide range of allergies.  Hopefully, this recipe will be a special treat cookie.  It's definitely one to share with our grain-free and low-glycemic friends.

It's my basic butter cookie recipe.  I use real butter not margarine, so the results may not be the same.  Real butter cookies spread more than cookies with margarine, so consider that if you substitute.  This is one of my last remaining uses for actual sugar.  I prefer dehydrated cane sugar, but I no longer make a special purchase for that product.  I'm allowing my children to have the occasional cookie, and this is where I "poison" them with sugar.  I'll have a sugar free home, once they pass the preschool years.  Our diet is so far removed from other families that I don't have the heart to give them sugar free cookies just yet.

110 g unsalted butter
100 g sugar
5 ml vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
50 g coconut flour
150 g almond meal
5 g baking powder (I use non-aluminum)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 Fahrenheit).  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and blend well.  Blend the coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt together.  Add flour mixture to cookie dough.  Form the cookie dough into desired shape and drop onto a cookie sheet.  I line my cookie sheet with parchment paper, to minimize gluten cross contamination.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool.  When completely cool, the cookies can be frosted, but they are great without frosting as well.

On request, I can convert the measurements.  I encourage measuring by weight.  Kitchen scales are inexpensive and readily available.  Measuring by weight instead of volume (cups and spoons) yields superior results in baking.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pondering Flax Ratios in Gluten Free Flat Bread

I've made two gluten free flat breads so far in the last week.  I tried a sorghum millet flax blend and a millet blend.  I am not excited about a rice flax bread, since we already have so much rice in our diet.  I'm hoping that 100% flax will work.  I've heard a good recommendation from a friend who read Wheat Belly and tried the recipe in the book.  She has a microwave; I don't have a working one.  I am not interested in buying another microwave, but would rather make one in the oven.  I'm going to try it today.  From there, I think I'll try some sprouted whole grains.  I have some whole sorghum, waiting for a good recipe. I've heard of gluten free oat flour, but I hesitate there.  Since the Vintner has true celiac disease, even the gluten free, non-cross contaminated oats may be an unnecessary strain for him.  I'm not too keen on having large amounts of grain or insoluble fiber in my diet, either.  I'd rather have vegetables be my fiber source.

Also, I don't want all the gums and trickery to make the flat bread.  I'm aware that many traditional cultures have flat breads, and many of those are gluten free.  I'd love to stumble on some grandmother's recipe that's basic and nourishing both emotionally and physically.  I'm not looking to replace processed modern products, but rather introduce a pleasant way to keep grains in our diet.  I'm tired of the gluten free tomfoolery.  I accept that gluten free doesn't mean maintaining an industrial, processed diet.  It means getting free of packaged food and into real, wholesome food, like meat, vegetables, dairy, nuts and fruit.  There's a place for some grain from traditional sources without being carb-tastic.  We're not talking about going Paleo.  Here at the vineyard, we're looking for an old-fashioned approach.  That rules out ersatz bagels.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Pursuit of Gluten Free Flat Bread

I've made two attempts at gluten free flat bread this week.  While the sorghum millet amaranth flour blend was okay, the amaranth was too strong of a flavor for the flat bread.  I may try another without the amaranth and make it thinner.  I won't post that recipe, since I see it as a bit of a fail.  I also tried a flat bread with half flax meal and half millet flour.  The flavor was nice, and the thickness was good, but it wasn't flexible enough.  I want to keep trying and experimenting.  I'm not looking for excessive flour blends, heavy starch or gums and tricks and twists.  I want a basic, simple food that's clearly not a cracker or a pizza crust.  A tortilla or naan or traditional flat bread without gluten, and perhaps without grain would be ideal.  I'm going to see how close I can get to that.  So far, I think it'll be high in flax seed.

Almond-Rice Gluten Free Butter Cookies

This week, I've played around with my butter cookie recipe.  I substituted almond flour for the sorghum and millet flour blend.  Next time, I'm going to try a almond and coconut blend and make a grain free cookie.  We don't need to be grain free, but the boys do need calorically dense nutrtition.

4 oz unsalted butter
4 oz sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large egg
4 oz almond meal
4 oz white rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the butter and the sugar.  Add the vanilla extract and the egg.  Blend well.  Gradually add in the almond meal, rice flour and the leavening.  Mix until well blended.  Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool.  Can be frosted.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wheat and Sugar

I've been reading Fat Chance and Wheat Belly.  I'm glad that I've already decided to let go of my sour dough starter.  I'm only just starting Wheat Belly, but so far it's a better read.  Fat Chance was easier to absorb in the beginning, since I've already begun the process of weaning off sugar.  I'm not a sweet drinks person, just a spoonful in my tea or coffee, but I stopped that earlier this year.  Wheat-free will be new for more than a few meals.

I imagine that eating a traditional diet will be rather easy with this new approach.  I'm not going to be restrictive.  I don't need to be.  I'm just making more space in my diet for even more fresh fruits and vegetables, the highest quality meats and dairy I can afford, fats I love like butter, olive oil and coconut oil.  I'm not leaving as much room for wheat, corn, soy, sugar or processed food in general.

With the Vintner suffering from celiac disease, it's not a big challenge to go gluten free now.  However, for me it's a choice, not a life-saving measure.  I'm in good health.  I don't have much reason to worry, other than a few extra pounds.  Now that the baby years are behind me, I can think of my body for my own nutrition and health.  I don't have to prioritize for their needs, as of the last four months.  It's a good time for me to think of building my post-childbearing years' health.