March 15, 2013

GF Chunky Monkey Cookies

Filed under: baking, cookies, dessert, gluten-free — Tags: , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 10:11

chunky monkey cookies with cookie dough

I think I mentioned before, but I have a cookie problem.

I have plenty of self-control when it comes to cake, brownies or any other baked good, but put a plate of cookies in front of me and poof!  They will disappear.

Like a true addict, I can’t eat just one and instead of confronting my problem, I had the bright idea that if I made healthier cookies I could justify my cookie eating ways.

I’m not delusional enough to believe that it’s okay to eat a dozen cookies in one sitting, even if they are healthy, but I do think that the resulting recipe is a good way to sneak in some extra nutrition.

Fair warning, like a lot of my experimental recipes, this one ended up with a variety of unexpected ingredients in strange quantities.  I haven’t had any complaints and the cookies disappear pretty quickly even when I’m not in the room, but I’ll let you decide.


Makes about 42 cookies

  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 apple, peeled and shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work best)

*I used butter and vanilla because I started from my basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but am not really sure that it adds anything to the flavor.  I think the peanut butter adds enough flavor and fat that the cookies would probably work without them.


  1. Preheat oven to 4000
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine brown rice flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour and xanthan gum in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. In another bowl cream peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, butter and vanilla.  Beat in egg.
  5. Add GF flour mix, oats and baking soda, mix until combined.
  6. Stir in shredded apple and carrot.  Add raisins, chocolate chips and nuts.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, place dough on lined baking sheets and flatten with fork.
  8. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 4000 or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack before serving.

One important thing to note about these cookies is that the dough is pretty dark and it’s hard to judge their doneness based on color.  The cookies in the picture look burned, but are really almost the same color as the raw dough.  If they look like the edges are done but still feel a little too soft just leave them on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes.  Just like a steak, they will continue cooking until the pan cools.

Note: I did try adding ground flax in early versions, but it just made the cookies too dry.

So what do you think?  Now that you’ve seen the ingredients and tried the recipe, could these cookies count as a vegetable serving?


February 8, 2013

Basic Gluten Free Cookie Flour Blend

Filed under: baking, cookies, recipe makeover — Tags: — glutenfreebymarriage @ 15:39

cup of flour

So, you want to make cookies

They say that the first step to overcoming a problem is to admit that you have one.  I’m not so sure about that, I think it really depends on the problem.

Take cookies for example.  With the exception of pfeffernüsse, I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like.  Some would say that I have a cookie problem.  It’s not like an actual addiction, I can control my consumption and I don’t have withdrawals if I don’t eat any, but it’s not easy.  I still have to make a conscious effort to step away from the cookie jar and I throw a lot of virtual speed bumps in the path of cookie madness.  The big one being that cookies should be homemade.  It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it is one that does help cut down on the free range munching, or at least it did until I got used to banging out a few dozen cookies at the drop of a hat.  But I digress.

The real cookie problem began when Mr. GF had to give up gluten.

You have to understand that I’ve literally spent years developing my repertoire of cookie recipes.  The perfect chocolate chip cookie, check.  Sugar cookies, check.  Peanut butter cookies that are both crispy and chewy, check.  Maybe it is an addiction, but I wasn’t going to give up cookies without a fight.

After a lot of trial and error I have finally managed a good basic gluten free flour blend for cookies.  Keep in mind that baking is as much science as art and that the type of cookie you are baking will require tweaks in the ratios, but this flour mixture is a good starting point when you want to convert your favorite family cookie recipe to an intestine friendly gluten-free version.

Gluten Free Cookie Flour Blend

makes 2 cups flour

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Note: One of the side benefits to cooking gluten-free is that the flours can be custom blended to make whatever density or texture you want.

My favorite gf yellow cake is heavenly and has a much lighter texture than any cake I’ve ever eaten.  The same goes for cookies.  This particular blend will result in very light, airy cookies that simultaneously crumble and melt in your mouth.  If you need a heavier or chewier texture just play around with the proportions.

Try 1 cup of brown rice flour and eliminate the potato starch.  Increasing the sorghum will give you a dryer texture which is great if you are trying to simulate something with a whole wheat flavor.

Experiment until you find the right blend for your recipe.  You may have some misses along the way, but you will get a feel for what each of the alternative flours brings to the table.  Before you know it your cooling racks will be lined with fabulous gluten-free cookies!

January 18, 2013

New Year’s Brunch – dairy & gluten free

Filed under: baking, breakfast/brunch, dairy free, fruit, gluten-free, recipe makeover — Tags: , , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 15:01

gluten/dairy free coffee cake with fresh fruit and piña colada dip

Fresh fruit, tropical piña colada dip and coffee cake, can you think of a better way to greet the new year?   Did I mention that it is gluten and dairy free?

The coffee cake is based on a fruit-filled coffee cake recipe that I found in an old Kraft Foods magazine and the dip from a very old Pillsbury brunch cookbook.

As usual,  the recipes shown below are as they were originally written and the items highlighted in yellow are the ingredients that I changed.

Fruit-Filled Coffee Cake  (Food & Family, Spring 2009, p.41)


Makes 24 servings

  • 1 pkg (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 21-oz can cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon milk


1 pkg white cake mix: I couldn’t find a gf box mix so I substituted my usual recipe for gf yellow (1 1/2 cups white rice flour, 3/4 cup tapioca flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon xanthan, and 1 1/4 cup sugar)

1 cup sour cream: To minimize the dairy, I substituted 1 cup tofu sour cream

1 21-oz can cherry pie filling: I used apple pie filling

1/2 cup almonds: I didn’t have any almonds on hand so I skipped them

1 1/2 tablespoon milk: Again, to minimize the day’s dairy intake I substituted almond milk


  1. Preheat oven to 3500
  2. Beat cake mix, cinnamon, sour cream, eggs and water until well blended and spread into a greased and floured 9″ X 13″ pan.  I usually use white rice flour to coat the pan.  I found the batter to be very firm with a consistency more like dough than batter and had to use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  3. Spoon the fruit filling on top of the cake batter.
  4. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Note: I’m not sure if it was because of the many substitutions, but this took much longer than 35 minutes to bake.  In the end, it baked for 60 minutes.  (I’m pretty sure that it’s not a problem with my oven as meats cook perfectly within the expected time.)
  5. Sprinkle with nuts and cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix powdered sugar and milk to make glaze; drizzle over cake.

Cool completely before serving.

This was a nice recipe that I would make again.  It’s a lot for two people to eat in a week, but if I was doing a pot luck or other activity where there were going to be a lot of people, it is definitely worth the effort.

Piña Colada Dip (Pillsbury All New Brunch Cookbook #112, June 1990, p.13)


Makes 2 1/2 cups (serving size is 1 tablespoon)

  • 8-oz can crushed pineapple in its own juice, un-drained
  • 3 1/2-oz package instant coconut pudding and pie filling
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


3/4 cup milk: As usual, I substituted almond milk for regular.  Note: Almond milk cannot normally be substituted for regular milk in pudding as it will not set.  The only reason this worked for the dip was because the sour cream and crushed pineapples provide enough thickening to get the pudding to dip consistency.

1/2 cup sour cream: To minimize the day’s dairy intake I substituted tofu sour cream.


  1. Using a food processor, blender or immersion blender, combine all ingredients and process about 30 seconds until almost smooth.
  2. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight to set.

Both recipes are really easy to make, especially if you have a box of gf cake mix on hand.  The piña colada dip is a particular favorite of ours and I was really pleased that it didn’t lose any flavor or texture by making it dairy free.  If you need a quick dip or a coffee cake that will feed a lot of people these are definitely recipes worth trying.

November 14, 2012

Mocha Crumb Cake (another Cooking Light makeover)

Filed under: baking, Cooking Light, dessert, gluten-free — Tags: , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 14:55

GF Mocha Crumb Cake

The thing I’ve always liked about Cooking Light is that most of their recipes can be done quickly with ingredients I usually have on hand, which is particularly handy when you want a quick snack.  I know the picture makes the cake look a little moist, but my gluten-free version is just as light and crumbly as the original.  A perfect snack to go with your coffee or a light weeknight dessert.  Even better, it only takes about 10-minutes to gather and mix the ingredients.

Heads Up: The recipe below is as it appeared on page 108 of the May 1998 edition of Cooking Light Magazine.  The items highlighted in yellow are the ingredients that I changed.


Makes 8 servings

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chilled stick margarine or butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour: Substituted 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup potato starch and 1 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan.

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules: I ran out of instant coffee so I substituted an equal amount cinnamon.  Not quite the same, but it did lend a nice flavor.

1/3 cup low-fat milk: Mr. GF is also lactose intolerant so I try to substitute regular milk with almond or soy milk whenever possible.


  1. Preheat oven to 3500
  2. Combine flour (GF substitute) and next 4 ingredients (flour/blend through salt) in a mixing bowl and cut in *butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture resembles coarse meal.  (Trust me on this, a pastry blender is less than $5 and well worth the cost, even if you only use it once a year.)  Reserve 1/2 cup of the the flour mixture for topping and set aside.
  3. Combine remaining flour mixture, baking powder and baking soda; add milk, vanilla and egg.  Beat at medium speed of a mixer until blended.  Spoon batter into an 8″ round cake pan coated with cooking spray.
  4. Combine reserved 1/2 of flour mixture and water; stir with a fork then sprinkle over batter.  (It will look like a lot of dry crumbs on top of the cake batter.)
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 3500 or until the cake springs back when touched.  Cool on a wire rack before serving.

* I can’t stress enough that the butter needs to be cold.  If it’s a hot, humid day you might want to firm it up in the freezer for a few minutes after you cut it into small pieces.

So that’s it.  A very fast and delicious Cooking Light recipe made gluten-free.  The flour substitute above works quite well with any of the crumb cakes featured in the May 1998 issue.  If you want something a little different give the lemon-rosemary or banana-coconut versions a try.    (They’re both great!) Let me know if you have a problem finding the recipe and I will post it.

April 18, 2012

No Baking This Week

Filed under: baking, Hannaford, shopping, Uncategorized — glutenfreebymarriage @ 12:58

March 27th marked the one year anniversary of Mr. GF being gluten free.

As the person who does the cooking I can honestly say the transition to a gluten free life was not as bad as I was led to believe.  Part of it was because I already made most things from scratch so I wasn’t suddenly overwhelmed by the prospect of cooking everything.   (No boxed mixes or microwave meals in my kitchen!)  The other part was because recent awareness of gluten intolerance has made it a lot easier to find ingredients, or at least easier than it was just a few years ago.  Sadly, the honeymoon is over.

A couple weeks ago I started running low on xanthan.  The supermarket was out.  Hannaford is particularly bad about stocking.  In the past we’ve been unable to find any number of regular everyday items that you would expect them to stock, toilet paper, cooking spray, the list goes on.  You stop by the store every couple days for a week or two and the particular item or items you are looking for are nowhere to be found, then the truck comes and voila, you can now finish last week’s shopping.  Getting back to the xanthan, I knew that Hannaford was not always reliable when it came to restocking so I didn’t think anything about it.  My bad.  My really, really bad.

Hannaford let me down…

It’s been three weeks and my dwindling supply of xanthan has been exhausted.  We went to every Hannaford in the area and nothing.  Again, strange, but not unprecedented.  So I checked the website and xanthan did not come up in a product search.  My mild annoyance suddenly morphed into sheer terror.  Was it possible that they stopped selling xanthan?  How could they do that?  Hannaford has a huge gluten free aisle, why would they carry all the various substitute flours and not sell xanthan.  (They have never sold guar gum, so it’s not like I had a choice for a substitute.)

My next step was to send an email to corporate.  I very politely asked when xanthan would be restocked.  The response was surprisingly quick, they no longer carry xanthan.  I sent another email asking why it was discontinued and what I could do to get it back, but I am doubtful about my prospects.

My gut feeling is that some number cruncher at corporate looked at the sales figures and decided that xanthan was not a hot seller.   To the non-gf baker it would seem like a no-brainer.

At a unit price of almost $38 a pound, xanthan is very expensive and people don’t buy a lot of it.  But the reason for low sales has nothing, or at least almost nothing, to do with price.  The fact of the matter is that even though xanthan is an essential component in gluten free baking, you don’t actually need a lot of it.

I bake several times a week.  Bread, muffins, cookies, biscuits, pizza crusts, anything the rest of the population buys prepackaged is home baked in my kitchen on an unfortunately regular basis.  Yet, even with all that baking I have only used 12 ounces of xanthan in the past year.  I spend about $20 every two weeks on various gf flours, but have only purchased 2 bags of xanthan in the past twelve months.

I do have local options, but I am not happy.  The local health food store carries xanthan, but at $14.59 for a 6 ounce bag they are more than twice the price that Hannaford was ($6.99).   Shaws is even more expensive.   Market Basket has a large gluten free section and tends to be cheaper than Hannaford, but that means either driving twenty miles or waiting until they open here in Manchester.  (The new store was rumored to be opening any day for over a month now…)

I’ll probably wait and see what Hannaford says and if they are unresponsive then I’ll take my business elsewhere.  In the meantime, the kitchen is officially closed and there will be no gluten free baking for the indefinite future.  Maybe I should take advantage of this down time to post all the recipes and pics that have been piling up on my desktop?

April 17, 2012

GF Chocolate Chip Muffins

Filed under: baking, chocolate chips, muffins — glutenfreebymarriage @ 22:56

One of the first baking challenges I faced when Mr. GF gave up gluten was to develop a light and tasty gluten free muffin recipe.

The first few versions were sad, doughy little rocks studded with chocolate chips, but I eventually found the right blend of ingredients and came up with what is now our favorite muffin recipe.  (We make them almost every week!)

GF Chocolate Chip Muffins

(makes 1 dozen standard sized muffins)


  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (sometimes called potato starch flour)
  • 2 teaspoon xanthan
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon natural applesauce
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 400o
  2. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl mix first eight ingredients (brown rice flour through nutmeg) until well blended.
  4. In separate bowl beat mashed banana with milk, oil and egg, add flour mixture and sugar, stir until well combined.
  5. Stir in apple sauce and chocolate chips.  Stir until just combined.
  6. Divide dough evenly into prepared muffin tin and bake 19 minutes at  400o

411 – A few misc. tips if you run out of ingredients

The milk can be substituted with fruit juice, soy milk or pretty much any other liquid without too much difference in taste or texture.

Apple sauce makes a great 1:1 substitute for the cooking oil.

1 teaspoon of ground flax mixed with enough water to dissolve makes an easy substitute for the egg.

Fruit or nuts are a great substitute for chocolate chips.

To make your muffin a little healthier simply add 1 tablespoon of ground flax and another tablespoon of apple sauce.  (I find that the flax makes the muffins a little dry)

These muffins hold their freshness for about five days.  The sixth day is okay but they will be starting to get a little firm.  I haven’t tried freezing them, but they should be okay to freeze for a few months.

February 4, 2012

Killer Brownies (now gluten free!)

Filed under: baking, brownies, freezer friendly, gluten-free — glutenfreebymarriage @ 17:23

I can't believe we actually ate all the brownies

Rich and thick, fudgey and to die for, my all time favorite decadent baked good has to be the Killer Brownie. (notice the empty dish above…)

With two sticks of butter, three eggs and two cups of sugar these artery clogging, waistline expanding chocolate treasures are so addictive that I only make them once a year, twice if someone (not my husband) begs.

Thanks to Taitertot’s super fabulous gluten free quick bread flour blend this decadent favorite is now gluten free.

Killer Brownies (now gluten free!)


  • 1 half pound butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free quick bread flour mix (see below)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa (dutch blend if you can find it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350o
  2. Combine flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  It’s really important to break up any clumps and get the ingredients as well blended as possible.  (no streaks)
  3. In a separate bowl combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add flour/cocoa mixture to the butter.  Mix until well blended.
  5. Spread the batter into a greased 9″ X 13″ pan, bake for 30 minutes or until brownies start to pull away from the sides

Just like the sugar cookies, these brownies freeze really well.  If you can find a way to do it surreptitiously, I strongly recommend letting the brownies cool and freezing half.  I don’t know what the science is behind it, but freezing intensifies the flavor and makes the texture even more fudgey.

*Bake at your own risk: The writer accepts no responsibility for weight gain, enhanced chocolate cravings, or the packs of salivating friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who start beating on your door after tasting your delicious brownies..

Taitertot’s Gluten Free Quick Bread Mix

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum

I found this super fabulous quick bread blend on but the author doesn’t list a blog in their bio  so I can’t provide a link to anything except the original pumpkin bread recipe.  (scroll to the bottom of the recipe for the flour blend) I did send an email, so if I hear back I will definitely add a link to Taitertot’s blog or other recipes.

December 30, 2011

Pat’s Yummy Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Filed under: baking, cookies, freezer friendly, gluten-free — glutenfreebymarriage @ 15:14

Have you seen the price of gluten-free cookies in the store?   It’s crazy!  Four, five even six dollars for a small package of cookies.  I can’t say that I’ve ever tried them, but from what I read online, many of the packaged options are either bland or have a strange texture and just don’t stack up to the gluten filled cookies everybody else enjoys.

What if I told you that I have a super fantastic recipe for gluten-free sugar cookies?  What if I promised that they are very easy to make and taste so close to regular all-purpose flour sugar cookies that you will not taste a difference?  Seriously!  They look and taste the same!

GF Sugar Cookies

Pat’s Yummy Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

(makes about 4 dozen)


  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (sometimes called potato starch flour)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • colored sugar for decoration


cookie sheets with cookie scoop and tea strainer

  1. Preheat oven to 375o and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  (Between the sticky dough and melted sugar the parchment paper is well worth the cost when it comes time to clean the pans.)
  2. Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients, brown rice flour through salt, in a medium bowl and set aside.  Make sure to mix well so there are no streaks and you can’t tell where one flour ends and the next begins.
  3. In another bowl combine the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla until combined.  Add flour mixture and stir until well blended.Don't worry if the dough seems dry, it will get wetter once you've incorporated all the ingredients  Don’t worry if the dough seems really dry, just keep mixing and it will get wetter once the ingredients are completely combined.
  4. Using a small cookie dough scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets.
  5. Wet the palm of your hand or a small glass and press the cookie dough so that it is flat.  (The dough is very sticky so you might need to re-wet your hand or glass a few times.)
  6. Once the dough is flattened, sprinkle colored sugar over the tops.  (I use a small tea strainer for this, but you could use a spoon if you don’t have one.)adding colored sugar to the cookies
  7. Put cookies in oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 375o until the edges are starting to brown.
  8. Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.  (If you try to pick them up too soon they will crumble and break.) Once the cookies are cool start eating.


TIP: This dough freezes well so if you want to enforce portion control, prepare the cookies up to step 7 (last step before baking) and freeze. It’s really handy to have cookie dough on hand and a special treat for you and your gluten-free loved one to be able to pop three or four cookies in the oven when they want a snack. You don’t even need to thaw the dough, just preheat the oven to 375o then bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.


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