Q: I have a friend who has become sensitive to wheat. I'd like to bring her some wheat-free baking as a gift.
Can you recommend any good recipes that don't require special ingredients like xantham gum?
Sent by Jan
Editor: Jan, our experience with gluten-free baking is that you usually need at least one or two specialty ingredients. This is because even ostensibly gluten-free ingredients (such as oats) aren't processed in completely gluten-free environments, and so it is advisable to buy certified gluten-free oats, rice flour, or other baking ingredients.
Having said that, if your friend does not have celiac disease, and has a more mild sensitivity to gluten, it might be fine to use conventional oats, rice, and corn flours, without worrying too much about how pure they are. But this decision is up to you.
And one last note on the specialty ingredient discussion: Xanthan gum is actually quite cheap and easy to find in the bulk section of your local Whole Foods or health food store. I buy it in tiny amounts (you usually only need a teaspoon or less) for less than a dollar.
Here are a few gluten-free recipes from The Kitchn. The first two recipes are perhaps the closest to what you asked for.
• The Best Chewy Chocolate Cookies Ever (& Low-Fat Too)
• Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Monster Cookies
• Gluten-Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies & Marshmallow Cream
• Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan! Gluten-Free!) & Coconut Icing
Readers, any more recipes or ideas for Jan?
(Image: Faith Durand)