Friday, March 31, 2006

Gluten Be-Gone Vegan Cookies

So, for my new cookbook, I am including some gluten-free baked goods like cookies and muffins (well, if all goes well with the testing anyhow)!

I'm thinking that in addition to creating new recipes that are gluten-free, I would also "de-glutenize" (I'm quite certain that is not a word!) some favorite recipes from Vive and TEV. To start, I am deglutenizing (sorry, had to use it again!) my popular Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

I have been pleasantly surprised with the results for these cookies thus far. I have tested them with amaranth flour, and again with brown rice flour (and making other modifications). These cookies pictured are the batch with the amaranth flour, and while they have more texture than the original recipe (since the amaranth flour is more nubbly, kind of like a fine cornmeal), they taste quite wonderful and still have a moist, chewy texture. I was really very pleased with these first tests!!

So, I have a couple of questions for you guys. First, are many of you interested in gluten-free recipes? I have had a number of e-mails from people specifically asking for such, but I would love to get a measure of how the rest of you feel, to determine how much time I should devote to gluten-free goodies.

Second... please help me with a name for these cookies (I really struggle with naming recipes!). I have thought about "gluten be-gone chocolate chip cookies", but I'm sure there are more creative (and better) names than this - so if you have one, shout it out! :)


Anonymous said...

I would *love* more gluten free recipes! It helps that a lot of the Vive recipes have wheat free options, but often they still don't work for a gluten free eater.

Something you may already know... most oats are not gluten free, but a lot of people who can't tolerate gluten are okay with Irish Oats. I use McCann's, they have both quick cooking and steel cut oats. So I was able to make your oat bars.

Most gluten free cookbooks use a lot of animal products, so I am very excited about your cookbook!


Danielle D. said...

I would also LOVE more gluten free recipes! I would especially love if you can come up with baked goods that can be made with just one or two gluten free flours, as many of the recipes that I have require a mix of four or five different types of flour.

karen leslie said...

I am interested too. Especially since those chocolate chip cookies look so good.


I do not eat gluten-free but being on the IBS diet I get tired of all the simple wheat flour carbs that we commonly have to eat to remain stable. I'd love to learn about cooking with wheat/gluten free alternatives.

If you haven't heard about any IBS related diets it could be interesting to read about it. (The one I linked to is the absolute best, and one of the few that I have seen. It has helped so many people.) One of the diet requirements is absolutely no dairy, so even if a person is still omni they require vegan baked goods, cheezes, etc. Potentially, a lot of us IBSers could be interested in your recipes. Plus the diet has the added bonus of waking people up to removing animal products from thier diets, once you remove diary, its pretty easy to keep going.

Michelle: I just got the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and the author did a REALLY good job of making recipes that are versatile to many food allergies, including gluten. You might check it out.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I like the gluten-be-gone name! I'm personally interested in oat flour and spelt flour recipes on top of wheat flour ones. oh man..."gosh where's the gluten!?" advertising degree is ashamed of what I just wrote, but I couldn't resist!

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Hey Dreena--I think gluten free recipes are great--great for people with food sensitivities, but also great because I love eating alternative grains--amaranth is so yummy and so good for you. My favorite chocolate chip grain is barley flour. I'm looking forward seeing more "deglutinization." ;-)

Skepteach said...

My mom is allergic to wheat, so gluten/wheat free is nice when she visits.
However, for me, unless there is something evil about gluten that I'm unaware of, I don't have a huge need for gluten free. I am interested in recipies that include grains other than wheat to help expand my diet...

Carrie™ said...

First off, karenleslie, thank you for that link. My sister suffers from IBS, so I'm going to pass that on to her.

I'm not personally in need of gluten-free recipes because of an allergy or anything; I just like trying different things. From what I understand, a lot of these alternate flours are made from grains that are powerhouses of nutrients. If I can justify (even if it's in my own mind) eating a whole whack of chocolate chip cookies for the nutritonal value, bring it on!

Anonymous said...

to beh onest, in the gluten free recipes you have in the other 2 books I normally end up using regular flour in them anyway as over here in the UK it's hard to impossible to find the flours that your recipes call for.

I'm the one looking for the vital gluten flour (haven't found it yet!) so I can make some seitan rather than looking for the gluten free stuff! I'd rather have new things to make and just a chart of how to sub out with different flours if I wanted to rather than the same things just gluten free.

Hope that helps!

Dreena said...

This is wonderful feedback, thank you, guys!!!

Michelle, I did not know that about oats. Though when researching gluten-free baking, I came across info about oat flour, and I thought it was a typo because I have known oats to be a gluten-grain. I will have to keep my eye out for the McCann's brand. I'm so pleased to know that, though, because I use oats and ground oats a fair amount in Vive and TEV, so if you and others can make that substitution, that's terrific! Thanks!

Hi Danielle... thanks for saying so. Yes, definitely that's my intention is to use just a couple of gluten-free grains and other ingredients to 'deglutenize', so that readers don't have to keep a full stock of all the non-gluten flours on hand. They can be pricey, too, so it's best to have one or two that you know you can always use. So far I prefer the taste of amaranth, though it's a little more coarse - but amaranth is also a very healthy grain. I too have seen guides for gluten-free baking using mixes of potato, rice, tapioca, and other flours - too mind boggling for blogging - ha!

Hi karenleslie, thanks for your input, and also for that link. I am aware of IBS, and I had some knowledge that animal products complicated matters, however I really did not know that consuming simple wheat carbs (white flours and flour products, you mean, right?) - was okay. I would have thought that these foods would worsen things. Misconception of mine I guess. I will read more on that link, thank you very much.

Hi Jess... wow, you like the name? Well, it may just stick then!! :) I bake very little with wheat flours now. Mostly I use barley, spelt and oat. So most of my new recipes will use these (except some cakes which I find work best with the refined stuff, and really for a birthday I'm okay with that). I'll be hitting you up for more name ideas now that I know you have your advertising degree. Coincidentally, I have my Bachelor of Commerce degree, but I didn't major in Advertising or Marketing - even though I worked in the field some after graduating. But... still not my forte! :)

Hi Amy, that's interesting - I love the choc chip cookies with barley flour too. And now that I think about it, barley flour is also more coarse, so the amaranth flour is probably very similar in that sense. I have to ask you, how do you like to prepare amaranth - any favorite ways/recipes? It is not a grain I cook a lot, but it is one of the most nutritious. I tend to combine it with other grains, because it can turn a bit 'gummy' sometimes, you know?

Hi musicknitter! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think most of us want some options for wheat-free these days, because if not for ourselves, we know someone that has a wheat sensitivity. I included a lot of wheat-free recipes in Vive because people starting asking for them, and I'm glad I did for myself and my family, to add variety to the grains we are eating. Now I think I'm starting to do that more again with some gluten-free baking! Thanks again... :)

Hi Carrie... funny!! :) All the more reason to justify eatin' those cookies! True though, I mean if we can make treats more healthful and still very tasty, all the better!! Amaranth is one of those powerhouse grains, as is quinoa. Not sure if I'll bake with quinoa flour (some past experimentation was just so-so)!

Hi Anna, I don't think anyone would guess that it is so hard to find alternative flours in the UK. Huh. With wheat-free baking (such as in Vive recipes), it is often a one to one sub of flours or maybe just a little tweaking using less/more. But with gluten-free, it requires other modifications to help the flour hold together and to give baked goods some lift. So, I'll keep in mind that in the UK, and I'm sure in other areas, you are very limited in access to alternative flours to determine how many gluten-free recipes I create, and also how I give notes to readers to use more common flours. Thanks Anna!

~ said...

I would love gluten free recipes! I also have IBS, and have bad gastro-intestinal symptoms if I have too much wheat (I am OK with oats). I have no experience with gluten-free baking, and your recipes would be very welcome to my collection.

Guinnah said...

Hi Dreena - I'm always on the lookout for GF recipes since one of my best friends has two kids with celiac disease. You could check on - they have a lot of lists for safe/unsafe foods. It can be tricky! Those cookies look wonderful :-)

Everyday Superhero said...

The cookies look delish and I love the name.
An idea for the next cookbook. I love when recipes indicate whether they freeze well and/or can be made ahead. I look for those kinds of things when cooking.
McCann's rocks! It's so yummy and good for you.
I will once again try the vegan cheese when a recipe calls for it. I will not try it cold. Silly me.

Bookphilia said...

I'm definitely interested in gluten-free recipes. I know a few people who are gluten-intolerant and am always happy to be able to wow them with vegan food.

I'm really bad with titles too, unfortunately...

Catherine Weber said...

"G-Free" is kind of catchy . . . ??

Anonymous said...

As you already know, I would love to see more gluten free recipes. For some, to eat gluten free is a choice; for those with Celiac Sprue it is a medical necessity. As someone mentioned already, the Celiac/gluten free diet is tricky and can be quite frustrating at times. I appreciate more than I can tell you the mere fact that you are considering gluten free options.

I have Celiac and cannot tolerate any oats, including the McCann's. As I am aware, oats in themselves technically are gluten free, but the manufacturing and growing of them can cause cross contamination issues. Fields are rotated; one year oats, one year wheat so there is no guarantee of gluten free.

I purchased some quinoa (kind of looks like oatmeal) can it be used as an oat substitue?

The cookies look divine!

Dreena said...

Hi Laura, thank you for letting me know your interest. Again, I am surprised that oats are okay for you too... which leads me to think that I will probably do several recipes using oats as the base (since they are a more commonly used ingredient), and then have a selection of additional 'gluten-free' recipes as well. Great info, thanks! :)

Nancy, thank you for that link. I have already printed off some info... very helpful! :) Wow, two kids with celiac, I imagine that IS very challenging. Easier as adults since we can be sure to ask about everything we eat and monitor foods everywhere, but for kids it's so easy for something to slip at a party or elsewhere. Anyhow, thanks for that link.

Hi sweet pea... thanks! That's a great suggestion for the book too. I sometimes have put that kind of thing in a sidebar note, but there is no reason why I couldn't use some kind of symbol/icon to represent that the recipe freezes well or can be made ahead. Will be talking to my publisher about that - thanks!

Thanks dreamqueen... good to know - I am surprised by how many people need gluten-free recipes or know of people that do. Thanks for your feedback!

Hi Catherine... that is catchy, thanks, I'll jot it down to consider with some other ideas!

Hi Kris! Well, I guess the oat thing is really hit or miss. Thank you for explaining that further. For the quinoa, if you want to make a porridge out of it like you would oats, you can do so though it won't turn as creamy and it isn't as naturally sweet. To get past that, you can cook it longer with more liquid, use a little vanilla non-dairy milk to add, and puree it some to make it creamier and add some cinnamon, and maple syrup if you like. You can also combine it with other grains like millet. I used quinoa flakes for cereal once and the result was better than using the whole quinoa (not sure what you have). I also used the quinoa flakes for baking once. They were okay, but a little dry. Hope that helps, and thanks again for your info!

Harmonia said...

How about:

"Not a Gluten for punishment Cookies"


I would enjoy gluten or gluten free recipes...either.

Thanks for the wonderful comment on my Ornish post! I appreciate it! I just posted something about "Fun with Avocado's". It was a strange weekend.

Michelle said...

hey there dreena. have a quick question about the chickpea ratatouille (love it!!!).. do you think it would freeze well? i'm just thinking of when i have friends with brand new babies, it's nice to give them something to stick in the freezer and pull out and heat up. (and of course, for whenever i have another little bee-gan ;) ).

so, do you think it will hold up well?

also, my son is showing the first signs of become picky ACK! he must be getting it from lil miss super picky that i baybsit everyday. yesterday, he refused to eat his crusts, and today, he told me he doesn't like broccoli anymore?! (this is the kid who *begs* me to make him broccoli salad!!) hoping this is just a phase, or if he's testing me to see how i'm gonna react. i'm trying to be cool about it, but i'm really hoping that it doesn't persist or get worse :( i mean, i don't ever expect him to 'clean his plate' and even i have days where i'm just not in the mood for a particular food, i just don't want it to get severe like "lil missy i only eat 5 foods and 3 of them are meat"!!

Taradactyl in a Modern World said...

I can't help much with names but these cookies look great!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I've frozen the Chick Pea Ratatouille and it came out fine! Also what my son will and won't eat changes from meal to meal, as long as he eats well at least twice a day we tend to let it slide and try not to stress, although it is irritating when you put the effort in and they refuse to even try it! Hope that helps!

Dreena said...

What's funny Madelyn, is that I am not even trying to be funny with those titles - kinda' pathetic really!! :)

Ok, Harmonia, I'm lovin' that! Don't know if it's too long... I would want to carry the general non-gluten title through other recipes I do, but boy, that is so fun - thanks for that! :)

Hi Michelle! It freezes very well, I have frozen it many times myself! Also, if I don't have a lot left over for the next meal, I will cook up a little rice quinoa, and layer the grain on a tortilla, top with the ratatouille and wrap up, top with a little cheese and bake it (actually, I bake it a while first and then add the cheese when almost done). But, it's a nice way to have the leftovers! GROAN on the picky issue! I don't want to hear this, because I think of your kids often and think "her kids aren't picky, so mine aren't going to be either"!! :) It does sound like he is being negatively influenced (oh, that little miss!), which is a bummer, but our kids will eventually get influenced by other kids more and more I guess! Sigghh... oh, on another note, I love the adaptation of my cake that you posted on your blog! I might like to use your pic and mention what you did some day down the road - just to show that you can always adapt a recipe... and your photo is just beautiful!! :)

Hi Taradactyl in a modern world! Phew, that's a long one! :)

Thanks Anna for seconding the freezing note! Your approach is very sensible, if they are getting two good meals in a day, that's really very good, and sometimes my frustration is "letting go" the fact that I prepared this very healthy, usually organic, not junky, homemade meal and now it is going to waste because she's not eating it!! If I just get past 'my' issues with it, I can realize that she has eaten very well the rest of the day!

kittenkong said...

I cut out wheat for a few months and found that I am now actually quite sensitive to it - a friend of mine has found the same thing. It's like your body breathes a sigh of relief and then just digs its heels in on the subject!

As a result I am keen on gluten free recipes. I often make my own substitutions, but would love some advice on which flours you like to use in place of which wheat flours etc.

cv said...

You can't imagine how frustrating it is to see such widespread use of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and vital wheat gluten in vegan recipes. In my experience, most of the gluten-free recipes I find are first of all, not vegan, and second of all, not especially healthy (i.e. gluten-free versions of otherwise typical mainstream recipes full of refined sugars, etc.). Especially as someone with little time and little gluten-free cooking experience, I would love to be able to follow a recipe just the way it's written. As it stands now, I have to re-invent most recipes just so I can eat them, much less enjoy them. So, yes, yes, yes, please include more gluten-free recipes in your book. It would mean a lot to me and to a bunch of other people too. P.S. If you'd like me to test some recipes, I'd be happy to comply!

Anonymous said...

Dreena, I tried your Minty Choc Chip cookies but I used spelt and they worked out really well, so I think I will try them again w/ brown rice flour and hope they turn out just as nice.

Get rid of more gluten and I will be a happy lil g-free vegan :)

Your book is next on my list of things to buy!

Mandee/Kitteh xox

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, oh yes i would be very VERY interested in more gluten free recipes!

I am allergic to gluten, wheat, eggs, dairy and soy and i came across your fabulous blog a couple of weeks ago; it's great to find a vegan cook who is not overly focused on using soy products, so thankyou!

My Mum is allergic to pretty much all preservatives as well, the only processed foods that she can handle are organic baking goods, olive oil and salt.

Your recipes all look fresh and unprocessed, and the photos are great as well.

I live in Australia and was wondering if any of your books are avaliable over here?

Thanks very much :)

emily in the city said...

Although I don't have celiac, I don't tolerate wheat very well, so I'm a fan of more wheat-free recipes for sure!