Spring Awakenings and I’m Cookie Rich

I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.

Marilyn Monroe

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Spring has sprung.  Thank goodness.  I’ve had a smile on my face for a few days now, I’m so happy to feel the warmth of the sun on my face.

 I was looking forward to my class this week.  It’s a very eclectic group of people this time.  Thankfully I’ve found good baking partners in my new peeps Stef and Leanne.  We gather at the table in between demos and laugh it up about the weirdest things.  It is so refreshing to be around outgoing and light-hearted people who share the same kind of sense of humour as me.

This sunny Sunday afternoon found me baking up a whole lot of gluten-free cookies.  Each traditional in their own rights, we were provided a means to make these into gluten-free options.

On the menu:

Chocolate chip pecan cookies

Peanut butter cookies

Almond Biscotti

One thing I’ve learned about gluten-free baking is that there are sometimes a ton of ingredients involved.  The flour mixes alone can be at minimum three ingredients alone.  There are 5 flour blends we are using for the duration of classes.  On this particular day we used:

 Blend I : White rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch

Blend III – White rice flour, potato starch, guar gum & albumen powder

Blend IV – White rice flour, tapioca starch, soy flour

Then add to these eggs, butter, sugar, honey, almonds, vanilla extract, baking power & side, chocolate chips, pecans & peanut butter – cookies are born.

Our table full of stuff:IMG_7527

Our large baking trays prepped and waiting for batter.  We went through six trays today.

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Baking cookies is pretty standard.  You begin with creaming eggs and butter until light and fluffy, then add in the dry ingredients and then any extras like nuts or chocolate come after.

First up is biscotti.  If you recall, I made a non gluten-free biscotti a few weeks back.

https://sweetspellbaking.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/a-try-at-biscotti/

I had issues with the batter being really crumbly and hard to shape.  Well, I’ve since learned that an egg or two makes all the difference.  This gluten-free recipe also included honey to help bind and sweeten it up.  Check out how different the batter looks compared to my original try.  It was sticky but easy to manage and it rolled up like a dream.

Pre-oven.

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Post-oven.

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Sliced, but not double baked yet.  At first I decided not to double bake them.  But when I got home I found them really soft and too crumbly.  I like a crispy, crunchy biscotti.  So into the oven they went for a second round.

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Much better.

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Round 2 of cookie baking – Chocolate chip pecan cookies.

Pre-oven.  The batter is super soft and spreads out quickly once in the oven. So many chocolate chips!

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Post-oven.  The key to beautiful, even and round cookies –  a cookie scoop.  I’m not a big user of the scoop generally, but after seeing a nice set of uniform cookies, I think I’m a convert.

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Last round – peanut butter cookies.IMG_7533

Perfect!

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Straight from the oven, I have to say I was highly impressed with these cookies.  If someone handed me one of these and said nothing about them being gluten-free, I would never have guessed.  The biscotti had this awesome almond cinnamon flavour.  The texture on the chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies was amazing.  Crisp outside, chewy middles.  Packed with sweet flavour.  Honestly, I could not tell the difference.  And this is point of this class.  To demonstrate that most baked goods can be made gluten-free with little or no sacrifice in texture or taste.  So far I’m really digging this class!

I’m on a break for a couple of weeks due to Easter holidays, but I am taking a chocolate class in two weeks learning to mix chocolate with savoury treats. Should be a fun time.  Please stay tuned. =)

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