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Monday 10 December 2012

Gluten Free Christmas Baking: White Chocolate and Stem Ginger Cookies

Sarah (Wuthering Bites) and I had a Christmas baking day. Each of us brought a recipe and she was going to show me some straightforward gluten free baking to prove how easy it is to substitute flours but with no affect on taste. So whilst we prepped all the ingredients we popped on Kate Bush and Disney and sang along with great gusto, I like to think nurturing cooking with song helps it taste better. I had brought a white chocolate and crystalised stem ginger cookies to the table whilst Sarah had adapted a black treacle and cinnamon heart biscuit recipe to make it nice and gluten free. You can see her recipe, more of her excellent photos, and our results here.
Gluten Free Cookies
White Chocolate and Ginger cookies (with hot coffee) 
It amazes me how gluten, something I take for granted as being able to consume, causes so much trouble., but for a lot of people it is a big problem. Luckily Sarah, who is a hero to the cause, has made a study of how to alter recipes so they taste pretty much the same, just requires a little more experimentation. Here however is a fool proof cookie recipe, that to me, having consumed my own version many times, tastes almost bang on the gluten filled one. The cookies will come out chewy and super moreish. This recipe is pretty versatile, whatever you fancy in your cookies you can just add in. So far I have  made these cookies with, Daim bar (also gluten free), Toblerone and dark chocolate with hazelnuts.

You will need:

125g butter
120g gluten free plain flour*
30g of tapioca flour
100g white chocolate
4 pieces of crystalised stem ginger chopped into small bits
½ tsp gluten free baking powder
1 egg
100g granulated sugar-it's the two types of sugar that give them the chewy texture
75g soft brown sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt

*(the standard gluten recipe uses 150g of plain flour)

Chop the chocolate and ginger and pre heat the oven to 190 degrees with fan. Weigh out the sugars into a mixing bowl and melt the butter in a saucepan then add the melting butter to the sugar mix then beat it. Crack the egg into the bowl and add the vanilla extract, salt and baking powder. Tapioca flour, I am informed, acts as a  thickener or gel when cooking, like fake gluten, adding a little extra help to the gluten free flour. Weigh the flours and then add gradually to the bowl  mixing each time as you go the mixture will be fairly stiff by this point. 
Gluten Free Cookies
A very eager Miko (photo by Sarah Carter)
Add the chocolate and ginger and mix once more. Get some baking parchment on a baking tray and use teaspoons to separate out your mix into small blobs, do not press down, the oven will do the magic for you. Bake for 8-10 minutes, you are looking for browning round the edges and cracks forming across the top. They will still be soft when you get them out but have faith because if you leave them in too long they won't be chewy and delicious.
Gluten Free Cookies
Cookies in detail (All Photos by Sarah Carter)
Gluten Free Cookies
Miko eager to sample  (photo by Sarah Carter)
So my first foray into gluten free baking and I was suitably impressed as to how easy it was. I was afraid it was going to be difficult but with a guiding hand I know I have at least one sweet to prepare for my gluten intolerant or coeliac suffering friends. 

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