Tag Archives: gluten free baking

  1. gluten and grain free Almond Cookies

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    February 9, 2013 by Tamika


    I must confess to a complicated relationship with nuts (as I sit here eating almond butter with bananas on rice cakes). I like them sprinkled in salads, in Middle Eastern food (ground pistachios in Kefte, hells yes), ground in various pesto, and alone as a snack (sometimes). I don’t like them in cookies, brownies, tossed in pies or tarts, BUT I do like them as the main ingredient in cakes, a lovely Hazelnut Cake, or Almond Torte, where they are primarily ground and the main event, highlighted only with spice and sweet (and a little salt if you’re me).

    These Almond cookies represent mini gateau! I found them on Leite’s Culinaria, called Almond Biscotti, of course unlike any biscotti I’ve ever made, or eaten, or seen.


    Make them in this cute little pyramid shape, I’ve tried other shapes but they just aren’t as moist (see the little ones to the left in the photo above? they were dry).

    I changed the recipe very little, added some lemon zest, omitted almond extract (see, there is that complicated relationship again), cut sugar a bit, upped almond flour. I have ground my own almonds into meal, in an effort to save money, I didn’t get as fine a grind before the almonds wanted to be butter, you may have better luck, I find Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal is terrific.

    Almond Cookies (gluten and grain free) makes about 28

    5 cups almond meal

    1 1/2 cups organic cugar

    6 egg white (Planning tip: save your yolks and make lemon curd!)

    zest of one lemon and one small orange or clementine

    2 tsp vanilla extract

    whole sliced almonds for coating cookies

    powdered sugar for dusting

    Preheat oven to 350. prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In a food processor add half the almond meal (no need to be exact) and all the sugar, pulsing on/ off for 30 seconds. This is to grind the sugar down into superfine.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a deep bowl using a hand mixer) add all the almond meal, sugar, egg white and beat for a minute on medium speed. Add vanilla and zest, beat on medium for a couple of minutes until well combined and the almond meal looks to be absorbing the egg white.


    Using about 2 tablespoons of dough, shape into little pyramids, I find it necessary to wet my hands from time to time to keep the dough from sticking. Roll them in the sliced almonds and place on a baking sheet. You’ll get the hang of it!


    Bake at 350 for 13-16 minutes, until they are golden on the edges. Let cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar. These keep very well stored in an airtight jar or container. The won’t have to keep long though:

    Anecdote: While selling my gluten free baked goods at a farmer’s market recently a woman handed me $5 and pointed at the almond cookies, I handed her a bag with 3 (they are 3 for $5), she said she only wanted one so I gave her one, she took a bite, I started to hand her change when she suddenly grabbed the bag with the other two cookies exclaiming “Oh my, never mind, I need these!” and laughed! I think you’ll feel the same way!


  2. Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Starter


    February 5, 2013 by Tamika

    I miss bread. Real bread. Fresh baked bread. The flexibility of throwing a loaf together and knowing it will be, if not perfect, then completely passable as bread. What I miss more is sourdough bread. I tossed my sourdough starter once I had to cut gluten out of my diet. Pfft. I figured I was never doing THAT again.. no great bread. Ever.


    This has been many months years in the making. My trial and many errors of gluten free bread baking. If you read this you’ll know I don’t consume corn or corn products, that includes the golden child of gluten free baking xanthan gum. Which, as most of us gfr’s know, makes gluten free bread behave like glutened bread, all air pockety, stretchy and chewy. ( Actually it’s the golden child of the corn industry and is in nearly everything these days. I just found frozen sweet potato fries coated with it.. WHY? I won’t address the conspiracy to undermine the health of the general public here). I’ve been working through established gf bread recipes as well as creating my own for 3 years now. I’ve made some pretty good bread and excellent pizza dough ( wood fired in a friend’s outdoor straw bale oven, the best). Unhappy with all the starch needed (tapioca, arrowroot and potato) for gf bread, I’ve been working it down in quantity for months now. When I decided to make a go of sourdough starter with this buckwheat flour, I was hoping to be able to eliminate yeast as well.

    A good sourdough starter takes time and patience. Gluten free sourdough starter takes a little coaxing and a lot of patience. I followed this starter recipe that was featured on Michael Rhulman’s website a few years ago, it comes from Two Sister’s Bakery in Alaska, and is perfect. I chose to use light buckwheat flour because it has a wonderful taste, it’s one of my favorites, you could choose another grain or seed flour (buckwheat is a seed, like quinoa) keeping in mind it will be the bulk flour of what you bake with it, therefore the bulk flavor.

    Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

    In a quart sized jar, or larger, combine 8 ounces flour with 8 ounces water, stir well. Place 2 leaves of ORGANIC red cabbage into the mix. Let this sit at warm room temperature (70-80*) over night, uncovered is fine ( I have cats who I’m positive creep the counters at night when they know I won’t douse them with water) I cover mine with a coffee filter, it is porous enough to let natural yeasts from the environment in to get the starter going and can be changed if it gets crusty.IMG_0672

    Around 12 hours later add another cup of flour and water each, stir again. At this point the red cabbage may be bleeding colour out into the starter, this is normal. The cabbage is fermenting, the same process as sauerkraut, the liquid that it releases will create a natural yeast environment for the flour to begin a slight fermentation process, and attract more natural yeasts from your environment. It will smell sour, even stinky. Continue to keep it warm.

    Depending on the temperature of your starter you may not see any fermentation bubbling action (see top photo) for a few days. It will not bubble up the same way gluten flour does (see photo with Rhulman link), with gluten free flours the process is slower. My initial starter turned a purple grey with an unpleasant smell, I persevered, stirring it and scraping off purplish crust from the sides of my jar, it took 4 days to be just right. When to start feeding the starter is determined by how fermented the initial batch is; if it’s bubbly and sour smelling it’s time. As you feed it the smell will become more mild and pleasant.



    An important part of keeping a healthy sourdough starter is FEEDING, removing some starter and adding fresh flour and water for the yeasts to feed on. The starter you remove will be the base for your dough, bread, pizza, crackers, even pancakes. For your first feeding, remove the cabbage leaves. If your container is large enough add 4 oz flour and 4 oz water to the starter stirring well, just this once. Again, keep at warm room temp. If your container is maxed out for space, remove 1 cup of starter, mix 4 oz flour and 4 oz water into the remaining starter in the jar. Every feeding following your first will require you to remove at least one cup of starter and replace with same amounts of flour/ water (1 cup starter = 4 oz f/w each. 2 cups starter= 8oz f/w each). I feed my starter once a week, at least. If I want to bake twice in a week with it I make sure to keep it at warm room temp and have at least 2 full days in between removing starter for use (and feeding!).


    3 months into my starter it is now at a point where I can go with out yeast in my dough, until now I have had to add small amounts of yeast, using the starter as ‘flavour’ more than as leavening. I will be posting some bread and pizza dough recipes in the upcoming month. Until then, go ahead and explore!

    If you want to take a break from maintaining your starter, keep it in the fridge and feed it once a month. It will go dormant, reawakening once you bring it out to room temperature for a few days.

    Quick Crackers: What to do with the starter you took out during feeding, when you have nothing else to make: 2 cups starter, 1 cup other flour (amaranth, rice, ect) 1/4 cup water, 2 tsp salt and 1tsp pepper: knead into a ball, let rest 20 minutes. Divide ball in half. Roll out on a rice floured surface as thin as you can, cut into squares and bake in a 400* oven until brown and crisp.


    Of course, this could be a flat bread covered with olive oil and zatar or smoked paprika, onions, olives, anchovies.. or a cracker like pizza dough.

  3. Fall is underway. Time to make (gluten free) Apple Cake


    October 17, 2012 by Tamika

    Fall is not endearing itself to me this year. I’m not ready. I really wasn’t finished with summer. It streaked past too quickly, I was so busy making jam and gluten free baked goods to sell at farmer’s markets and driving my teen daughter to her job and back and everywhere else. Summer just flew. Except our fantastic trip to Acadia, that lingers. I want to go back there now. I bet it’s magnificent in fall. Really I’m not loving fall because I know what follows after (though I bet Acadia is spectacular in Winter too!).

    Later in the day…

    I was driving upstate NY yesterday (to pick up 10 pounds pork belly from a happy animal farm) got stuck in construction traffic and took this

    Perhaps I’ve changed my mind since yesterday morning. Though I do know what comes after fall, and I’m none too pleased.

    To get myself into the ‘hunker-down’ mode of cooler weather I have, naturally, been cooking with apples, pears and pumpkins. I roasted the first butternut squash out of our GARDEN last night, along with our OWN garden potatoes. There is the fall love.

    Now, to help ward off the cold of winter we must also fatten up. Right?? I mean, how else can we stay warm and stay with in our heat budget? Consider the extra padding as a warm down comforter you wear all the time, that wont shrug off easily (uh…. let’s not think on that until next Spring). This Apple Cake will help keep you warm. You will want to make it again and again. Come spring we’ll probably be trying berries in it.

    Apple Cake

    (based on David Rocco’s Apple Yoghurt Cake as seen in Kitchen Heals Soul )

    1 1/3 cups (199 grams) Apothecary basic flour blend

    1 1/2 tsp psyllium husk powder

    1/4 tsp cinnamon

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/2 cup plus a 1/3 cup sugar, separated

    7 oz butter, softened

    2 large eggs

    1/2 cup yoghurt (whole milk preferably)

    2 apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

    zest from one lemon

    Preheat at oven to 350* Butter and flour an 8 inch round cake pan (I used a spring form pan for presentation)

    In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, except sugar, set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, blend softened butter with 1/2 cup sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time beating until combined, add lemon zest then yoghurt. Mixing on slow speed, add the dry ingredients. remove bowl from mixer and fold in the apple slices. Turn batter into prepared cake pan, sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup sugar.

    Bake for 40 minutes then check for done by slipping the tip of a thin knife into the center, if it comes out clean remove to a rack to cool. It may take up to an hour.

    This cake lends itself to changes/additions of spice, and pears and orange zest instead of lemon.