By GMB Nutritionist Melissa Fine
If you’ve put gluten free baking into the “too hard basket” but are missing all your favourite baked treats, hear us out…
Gluten free baking does not have to be complicated.
Once you’ve gotten your head around how different gluten free flours work – and a taste of how good gluten free baked goods can be - you’ll be hooked.
First things first: don’t diss gluten free baked goods.
From the old-favourite Orange Almond Cake to the sticky Persian Love Cake and the melt-in-your-mouth choc hazelnut Bon Vivant Torte, many of us don’t realise that some of the most classic baked goods are inherently gluten free.
Finely ground nuts are used instead of flour in all of these cakes - be it almond, hazelnut or even pistachio meal. Nut ‘flours’ add density, moisture, and a nutty naturally sweet flavour that can’t be replicated with All Purpose Flour…not to mention the fact that they’re far more nutritious.
Unless you’re using a gluten free All Purpose Flour, don’t make 1:1 flour substitutions.
This is simply because many gluten free flour substitutes – particularly coconut flour - do not behave like white or wholemeal wheat flour in a recipe. Coconut flour (we use the one from McKenzie’s – in the supermarket baking aisle) is super-absorbent, so a little bit goes a long way. This is why recipes for baked goods containing coconut flour will call for more liquid, usually in the form of eggs and sometimes milk. To stay on the safe side, it’s best to only use coconut flour in a recipe that specifically calls for it.
When choosing a gluten free All Purpose Flour, opt for the most wholesome option.
Many all Purpose gluten free flour blends tend to be packed with a mix of refined starches like potato starch – the result being a flour that’s low in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Pro-tip: I’m a big fan of Monica’s Mixes Gluten Free Organic Flour Blend (which you can buy online if it’s not at your local health food store); this one is based entirely on wholefood ingredients – think brown rice flour, almond meal, ground flaxseed and sorghum (a seed-like, gluten free grain). Otherwise Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour is your next best bet.
Once opened, store gluten free nut-based ‘flours’ sealed in the fridge.
This will prevent their good fats from oxidising or going rancid – a process which results in a bitter aftertaste in whatever you’ve baked, not to mention a reduced nutritional profile of the beneficial fats.
Don’t be put off by a gluten free baking #fail.
Part of learning any baking or cooking process is making some mistakes along the way…but practise makes perfect, or close to it anyway!
Why not get the ball rolling with this tried-and-tested gluten free brownie recipe? You can’t go wrong with this one, trust us!
- 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS. coconut oil
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS. honey
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup minus 1 TBS. (50 g) McKenzie's coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup mini gluten free chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line an 8"x8" tray with baking paper so two edges hang over the side of the pan (for easy removal and cutting)
- In glass measuring cup, melt coconut oil in microwave. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the melted coconut oil, and eggs with an electric mixer until combined. Add in the honey and vanilla extract. Mix again until combined.
- Add in the coconut flour and salt and mix again until the batter is thoroughly combined.
- Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spread into prepared pan evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack and once cooled to room temperature, remove from pan and cut into 16 squares. You can either refrigerate the brownies or leave them at room temperature in an airtight container.
Let us know how you go with these, we can’t help but go back for seconds when we make them!!