Then, one day, while shopping around in my Stop N Shop, my eyes fell upon some packages from Cherrybrook Kitchen. I can't be blamed - their boxes are simply adorable! I grabbed a a box of brownie mix, a box of sugar cookie mix and a yellow cake mix with chocolate icing. I thought, Maybe I can't bake from scratch, but at least I can have something freshly baked! To be honest, the mixes hung out in my cabinet for a while, because there was still something mising from grand plans: WHAT SHOULD I USE FOR BUTTER?
Enter Earth Balance buttery spread and buttery sticks. I kept scouring the Internet for dairy-free butter substitute suggestions, and Earth Balance was the one that came back with the best reviews. I decided to give it a go. I bought it right before Thanksgiving to use for myself and I was pleased with its taste AND texture. I began to think I might really be on to something...
So far I have made both the brownies and the sugar cookies. They were both a great success! Whenever milk was needed I used (my favorite) the Pacific Hazelnut milk. I made the brownies for just my husband and I, at first sure that gluten and dairy eaters would have no interest and then sure I didn't want to share any because they were so delicious! I brought the sugar cookies to a Holiday party this weekend and everyone cheered them on (my husband thinks it is the addition of the hazelnut milk that puts them over the top... I think he might be right).
With two pre-made mix baking successes under my belt, I decided that maybe, just maybe baking from scratch might not be too difficult, IF I could find the right gluten-free ally to aid me in my endeavor. I thought of one company that I already trusted to get me the ingredients I needed: Bob's Red Mill. Bob's Red Mill doesn't just carry gluten-free stuff, but their selection of gluten-free mixes, flours and other baking supplies is like no other that have been readily available to me. I purchased the Gluten-free All purpose flour a little while ago thinking I could use it in any recipes that called for flour, last night, however, I decided to see what they had on their website in terms of baked goods recipes. The selection was amazing! When I got to the site I was in awe of all they had to offer in terms of recipes, information and also other products that I haven't even seen in my store yet. (I informed my husband that a Bob's Red Mill gift card wouldn't be a bad idea for a last minute Christmas gift for me after this find!) One of the most useful bits of information for me was the Xanthan Gum Use Chart given on the site:
|The xanthan gum is very important to the process. It is my understanding that it serves as a stand-in for gluten providing much of the texture we rely on gluten for in recipes.|
I searched for a recipe to use for another holiday party we will be going to tomorrow. I settled on the Gluten-free Oatmeal cookies since I had all of the necessary ingredients on hand (as long as I replaced the raisins with chocolate chips). I just finished baking them and I nearly made myself sick (I was under the impression that I had to try at least one cookie from each freshly baked tray that came out of the oven!!). Here is the recipe, from Bob's Red Mill, as I adjusted it:
|Just a couple from the batch.|
| Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugars together until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. In a separate bowl, blend flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and Xanthan Gum. Stir flour blend into wet ingredients. Add oats and raisins and mix well. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool one minutes then transfer to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen cookies. |
I hope the gluten and dairy eaters enjoy the cookies, because now I have a ton of them and I can't eat them all myself!
I am happy to have had this success with the new products I have found. I now feel brave to move forward and try to switch some of my old favorites over to gluten-free, dairy-free goodies I can enjoy!
My Allies in the Baking Battle: