So I found out a couple of weeks ago that my little sister is a Celiac. If you read my myspace, I know I already blogged about it, but you'll just have to deal with a recap. Basically, it's a severe allergy to gluten. If people with Celiac's Disease eat gluten, their body has a reaction where it begins to attack the small intestine. Sometimes, people don't know they have it because their symptoms are mild or nonexistant. About 1 in 122 people in the US have it and you are more likely to have it if a direct blood relative has it. As I am not currently enrolled at OSU, I don't really have any medical coverage. Once I finally get signed up for an art class, I can hopefully get the blood test to figure it out.
Either way, I'm definitely into figuring out how to make gluten free foods. It's a pretty big lifestyle change because it can mean no more going out to eat. For some people, even a small amount of gluten (like contamination from being on the same cutting board as flour) can upset their bodies. Thus, with even mild contamination being a problem, it seems a better bet to mostly eat home cooking...but how does one bake without gluten? Good question.
I've found a couple of sites to be pretty helpful... http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac is really great for info about it and what is ok to eat and what is not. There was a baking one I found and sent the link to my mom. I thought I had bookmarked it, but I apparently did not. Fail.
Anyway, I created my first gluten-free dessert the other day. As the family was heading back from the coast, they stopped by my place for lunch. I wanted to have something yummy for Liz to try to show that gluten-free dessert from scratch was do-able.
As I mostly shop at Win-co, my gluten-free flour choices were limited. Turns out all they had was soy flour. I bought some for my experimental dessert figuring it couldn't be too bad. WRONG-O! Soy flour tastes like snow peas. It's like eating leaves in flour form. To say the least, it was not what I wanted cupcakes to taste like.
I have been doing a fair bit of baking and lately, it's been cupcakes more often than not. They're so much better than a whole cake! They've got serving sizes built in!
I decided to turn to my old stand-by, my fabulous Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, pink edition. Now, the pink edition is extra special, but I never use the extra recipes, so the regular red and white checkered cookbook works just fine. I chose to make the one bowl chocolate cake recipe. I had made it a few weeks ago for a co-worker's birthday, with penuche frosting, and they were quite yummy. Also, I figured the best way to cover up any unpleasant gluten-freeness, was chocolate.
I ended up tripling the cocoa powder in the recipe because I continued to taste snowpeas, as I mixed the batter. Also, I had never heard anything about xantham gum at this point, so it was simply a direct conversion of white flour to soy flour.
1 cup soy flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir until mixed, use an electric mixer if you want, but I used mine for the frosting, so mixing the cupcakes by hand works just fine. Add egg and continue mixing. Put cupcake liners in a muffin pan and pour in batter to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes.
Now, since I knew the soy flour was so awful and I had extra truffle chocoate sitting in the fridge, just begging to be used, I added some of that. I just re-heated the chocolate and put a glob on top of each cupcake before it went in the oven.
Now, since my cupcakes were chocolate (and I hate chocolate cake with chocolate frosting unless it's PURE chocolate and I mean pure...like no grocery store frosting, no box cake mixes and all that rubbish, just hardcore cake with hardcore chocolate) I needed to do something other than chocolate frosting. I bought some white chocolate chips and some whipping cream and went to town. Basically, I used about 3/4 cup heavy cream, which I beat with the mixer until I had soft peaks. Add a little sugar to this and you have homemade whipped cream. If, instead, you want delicious white chocolate frosting, add 3/4 cup melted white chocolate. Let the chocolate cool a bit before adding it, but it still needs to be liquidy. Blend with the mixer some more and let cool. Be aware that this frosting is very temperature sensitive...ie. don't put it on hot cupcakes or it melts right off.
I topped my cupcakes with a blog of this frosting and then another dollop of the truffle chocolate. Overkill on the chocolate? Maybe. Taste like snow peas? Nope. The moral of this story is that enough chocolate covers up any taste.
My sis was ok with the cupcakes. Not a huge fan as they were a little overpoweringly chocolaty....but I figured that was better than snowpeas. My roommate had a guest over to help him plant some pinot noir grapes in the backyard and she approved of the cupcakes. At least, I think she did. She ate two for breakfast one day, so I think that's a good sign. Most everyone liked them and couldn't really tell they were gluten-free. In the end, that was my ultimate goal....the secondary goal was making something my sister would like. She ended up taking home the leftover frosting because she liked it so much. Hey, it was gluten-free too, so Goal 1 and 2 met!
Sorry I don't have any pictures....I'll try to work on that in the future.