Thursday Crush: Gluten Free Baking and Cup 4 Cup Flour

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A few years ago, I was told to stop eating gluten by my doctor – so sad! I have mainly gotten used to passing up the bread basket and thinking about which restaurants will have good options, but I used to love to bake, and that was something I really missed. I tried so many recipes, and combinations of different flours, most with terrible results. “Another gluten-free baking disaster” was a common refrain! I finally feel like I have figured it out, and it is so nice to know that I can make it work.

If you are struggling with the same thing, my first tip is to look for recipes that you don’t have to modify – for example, in France there is a long tradition of baking with almond flour, so the authentic recipes for macarons (fancy and rustic) and financiers (pictured above) are naturally gluten-free. Plus, almond flour is super-delicious and good for you. Another thing I’ve found is that it is easier to modify recipes that don’t require a huge amount of flour – for example brownies, chocolate cake, and oatmeal cookies might use about 1 cup of flour. For these recipes, I’ve had good luck with using an equal mixture of almond flour and arrowroot flour (see more on experimenting with your own flour mixes here).

If I am making something for an event where someone might have a nut allergy, I’ve been using Cup4Cup, developed by Chefs Lena Kwak and Thomas Keller, and it works so well for everything but yeasty bread. In fact, this St. Patrick’s Day I broke down and tried to make soda bread (something that used to always result in a baking disaster), and it turned out really well! The flour is expensive, so I try to stick to recipes that don’t use tons of it, but it is so nice to know that when a craving for muffins hits, there is something that will work! There are lots of recipe ideas on the Cup4Cup site, but don’t hesitate to try it with your old favorites either. (P.S. My latest attempt was this chocolate cake – I might have to try it again soon! ;) )

Choc chunk cookies

Do you have any tips for gluten free baking? Share below!

Top image: Laura Chassaigne; Bottom image courtesy of Cup4Cup.

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