Friday, February 4, 2011

Vegan Baking Basics: Gluten Free

Today was our gluten free vegan baking class.  It went very well and we had lots of fun - I actually ended up staying two hours over what I should have, and loved every moment of it.  Gluten Free is one of my specialties, so when I get to teach it to people that do not necessarily know much about it, unlike the people that usually take my classes at NGI, it's a lot of fun because they're like a blank slate.  The beginning of this class started off on a really interesting foot, because as one of my students J, was picking me up at the subway station to go back to her house to meet with her sister, she told me that she had heard that gluten free was really terrible, and was wondering if the things we would be making would also be terrible.  I had to laugh to myself, because this is a very familiar reaction I used to get when I would tell people I was vegan (this was in the beginning, when not very many people had heard of it).  They would inevitably ask me "but what do you eat?"  It's so funny, because it's not about what you don't eat, but rather what you do eat.  Ever since becoming vegetarian and then vegan, I definitely think my food choices have expanded and I am eating such a varied diet compared to what I was eating when I would eat the meat and potatoes way. 

Now that we are extremely off topic, back to the gluten free!  So, after J asked me whether or not gluten free tasted good, I began to explain that it's all about the quality of ingredients you use, just like any other kind of baking or cooking.  If you use poor refined ingredients, you will not have a good quality end result.  It will not taste fresh or be health supportive, and I personally think what's the point then?  So, we spent about four hours baking amazingly delicious vegan and gluten free desserts, breakfast items and even a vegan gf pizza!  It was so good!  Everyone was so impressed with the results and so surprised that something gluten free, which they had all heard was pretty much the worst thing ever, was actually quite good.  Everyone overall agreed that the best was the vegan gluten free pizza.  I think by the time I left, one out of the two pizzas had been entirely eaten.

Here is a list of all the amazing Vegan Gluten Free things we made:

Blueberry Muffins with Pecan Streusel:

Topped with crunchy sugar and pecans!

Pumpkin Pie Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Drizzle:

Dark Chocolate Almond Dipped Coconut Macaroons:

Half dipped in coconut, the other half in sliced almonds

Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

Creamy Cream Cheese Icing Yum!

Caramel Frosted Marble Cake:

This means "good" in Spanish and has become my
catchphrase evidently, or so say my students!

White and Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (see below)

Gluten Free Pizza:

Melty Daiya with Fresh Veggies

The Spread!

White and Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies:

Delicious white chocolate chips - the best!

(Yield: 24 mini or 12 regular cookies)

1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup vegan white chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup flax eggs (place 1/3 cup ground flax seeds and 2/3 cup warm water into a jar and shake until thick, then measure 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butterscotch extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the sorghum flour, brown rice flour, chocolate chips, pecans, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a medium baking bowl.  Whisk well to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, canola oil, flax eggs, agave, vanilla extract and butterscotch extract.   Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula.  The dough may need to be finished mixing by hand. 
  4. Scoop cookie dough onto parchment lined sheet trays.  Dampen palm of hand and slightly flatten cookies.
  5. For mini cookies bake 8 minutes, for regular cookies bake for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Cool and serve.
These are so delicious!



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