Wheat-free Baking?

I was in a baking mood today, but I am trying to avoid wheat once again. Thankfully, I have some options open to me, since my cupboards now include alternative flours.

One of my creations today was white chocolate macadamia cookies. Sam loves that type of cookie, but I seldom ever make them. I don’t know that he has tried this version yet, and he may not actually like it since they don’t taste or look exactly like the ones he might find at Subway or Tim Hortons or anywhere else! For one thing, I took a regular white chocolate macadamia cookie recipe and made substitutions based on what I had available and what I was willing to use.

I no longer have white sugar, white flour, or shortening in my house. The recipe required all three. While I do still have whole-wheat flour on hand, I can’t use it if I want to be able to eat the cookies. So, I used a combination of quinoa flour and buckwheat flour, which is actually not a grain or wheat. I used organic, natural brown sugar and organic evaporated cane juice for the sugars. For the shortening and butter, I used coconut oil.

The cookies aren’t bad; they will definitely be eaten, although Sam may be a tough sell. However, they did not spread and flatten, but maybe that is my fault. The cookies are good enough for Kane and I to eat. The ultimate taste tester will be Sam.

The other recipe I tried today was for banana bread. I found the recipe at Elana’s Pantry. I will admit to being highly skeptical about this recipe, because I have a banana bread recipe which I absolutely love, full of regular flour, sugar, and oil. My old recipe is the best banana bread I have ever tasted. How could a wheat-free recipe ever compare?

Again, I fiddled with the recipe to suit the ingredients I had on hand. Instead of vegan palm oil shortening, I used coconut oil. I ran out of almond flour, so I used half almond flour and half buckwheat flour.

I have to admit that for a recipe made without wheat, with a healthy fat, and with only 1 tablespoon of honey as a sweetener, I was definitely impressed! I was blown away. I did not expect to actually like this banana bread, but I can now say that it is a keeper and will be made again and again. It isn’t quite the same as my original recipe, but it is pretty darn close!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s been a long day, an unproductive day spent mostly at the ball park. Tomorrow will be more of the same, and that frustrates me just a little because tomorrow is Mother’s Day. For the past 13 years, we have spent Mother’s Day at the ball park.

My house is a disaster, because it’s been one of those weeks, and no one (as in me) has been home long enough to do any cleaning since Thursday morning. I had been anticipating only one baseball game tomorrow, but now a practice has been thrown in the mix. My frustration mounts.

Around 7:30 this evening, there was a knock on the door. My darling husband had invited a baseball coach to drop by for a beer. “Really?” I say, before he gets up to answer the door. My mind is thinking of the disaster that is everywhere: the piles of clean laundry and paperwork spread across the dining table; the kitchen counters full of dirty dishes and things not yet put away; backpacks and shoes and junk dropped here and there and everywhere; the dirty bathroom sink. I inwardly cringe and stew, while outwardly I smile.

About an hour later I was feeling snarky. I finished loading the dishwasher. I folded yet another load of laundry. Restless, frustrated energy was driving me to do something, anything that would be productive. Why not bake?

I just pulled two dozen clean pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from the oven. This was my third time making these muffins, and I played with the recipe a bit this time. Instead of using whole wheat flour, I used equal parts buckwheat flour and quinoa flour, which made these muffins gluten-free. I used Sucanat instead of the Demerara or turbinado sugar. They taste just as good.