When I decided to give up gluten, I thought it would be impossible. Wheat and flour are in EVERYTHING! I did a little internet research to see what I could and could not eat if I was going to fully commit to this diet. This article was very helpful in telling me what to avoid, what to check, and what was OK. Basically, the foods to avoid list was intimidating:
- Bran (oat, wheat)
- Cooking spray for baking (may contain wheat flour)
- Flour containing wheat, barley, or rye or any of their derivatives
- Graham flour
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Malted milk
- Malt flavorings
- Malt vinegar
- Meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables that are breaded, floured, served with a sauce made from wheat, or marinated in a wheat-based sauce such as soy or teriyaki
- Wheat germ
See what I mean?! If I’m not allowed to eat any of these things, what could I eat? Well, after scouring the interwebs for a little bit, I did find a decent collection of recipes to get me started. This got me through my first gluten-free week and gave me the confidence I needed to continue eating and cooking this way. I’ll post reviews of some of these recipes soon.
Better Homes and Gardens Gluten Free Recipes
Simply Recipes – Gluten Free Recipes
King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Recipes
Gluten-Free Goddess Recipes
I know, I had no idea what an apple slab was, either.
One of my favorite email subscriptions has to be to King Arthur Flour. I’m obsessed with them – their ingredients, products, recipes, you name it. It is also one of the few paper catalogs that I actually read (and look forward to receiving) every single month.
When I was trying to decide what to make for Thanksgiving dessert, I immediately thought of that KAF email sitting in my inbox. My husband loves all things apple, and I had already decided to make a Pumpkin Roll, so this Old Fashioned Apple Slab recipe was a clear winner. I had all the ingredients except for the buttermilk powder. I did, however, have buttermilk, so I used about 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk in the crust, and cut down on the amount of water I used.
The result was a better version of the best apple pie you’ve ever had. Essentially, an apple slab is an apple pie baked in a 9×13 pan, with a glaze drizzled on top. I don’t know how it can be so much better than an apple pie, but it is. You have to try this for yourself – you can thank me later.
Wait, it’s August? We’re in the thick of the summer season, so that means my life is consumed with wedding and baby activities. I think we were invited to six weddings or so this summer and three baby showers. Along with the weddings, I have bridal showers and bachelorette parties, and for one of the baby showers, I have the honor of being co-hostess. So, I’m busy.
This weekend I went to my bff’s bridal shower. I’m the Maid of Honor (I refuse to be called a Matron of any kind) so I offered to help with the shindig. I was tasked with coming up with a non-lame game and making the favors (in addition to of course creating the bow bouquet).
My best friend’s mom was out and about and saw somebody who sold cute wedding dress cookies. Knowing that I love to bake, she sent me a picture and asked if I thought I could make them. With hardly a second thought I responded that I was pretty confident I could and that I’d gladly accept the challenge.
It turns out I had the right Wilton cookie cutter, so I checked Google for some decorating ideas. This was my inspiration.
Now, I have to tell you that these cookies are not quick to make! I spent three nights: 6-8 hours total making these. They take so long because you have to wait for the royal icing to dry before you go to the next step. I referred to the Brown Eyed Baker’s blog to get the royal icing process down as it was my first time working with it. I also adapted my sugar cookie recipe from her.
Notes: For time’s sake, I used the King Arthur Flour white icing mix instead of making my own royal icing. Just add water! So easy and it tastes great as well!
Sugar Cookie Recipe
Slightly adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: About 18 3-inch cookies (¼ inch thick)
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Sugar pearls and edible glitter for decorating
- Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together.
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth.
- Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and pale.
- Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two; beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto a counter and divide it in half. If you want to make roll-out cookies, shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. If you want to make slice-and-bake cookies, shape each half into a chubby sausage (the diameter is up to you – I usually like cookies that are about 2 inches in diameter) and wrap in plastic. Whether you’re going to roll or slice the dough, it must be chilled for at least 2 hours.
Note: Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- If you are making roll-out cookies, working with one packet of dough at a time, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to a thickness of ¼ inch, lifting the plastic or paper and turning the dough over often so that it rolls evenly. Lift off the top sheet of plastic or paper and cut out the cookies.
- If you are making slice-and-bake cookies, use a sharp thin knife to slice the dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds, and place the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1½ inches between the cookies.
- Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet(s) at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all. Remove the pan from the oven and let them rest for 1 minute before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
Note: The cookies will keep at room temperature in a tin for up to 1 week. Wrapped well, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Cool cookies completely and then decorate as desired.
I finally got a spare couple minutes to catch up on my magazines and catalogues, and of course King Arthur Flour was the first stack I picked up. While flipping the pages, I was reminded that I need to visit their website more often, in part because they have some great recipes. Duh. I’ve been wanting to try new recipes in my breadmaker and a few weeks I came across this recipe for chocolate marbled walnut bread and I was sold. An added bonus is that there are so few ingredients and they’re all things I keep in my house regularly. Perfect!
It really was a breeze to make and the result was excellent. Jump on over to the KAF website for the recipe. Give it a shot – Enjoy!