Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mess ups and Mixing it up...


So, I skeptically bought and have been testing Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free1-to-1 Baking Flour in various applications. It contains:  White Rice Flour, Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Whole Grain Sweet White Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, and Xanthan Gum. When it first came out I was hesitant to buy It, as Bob's Red Mill Original Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking  Flour was the first gluten free all purpose flour I tried over 5 years ago when Lillie was first diagnosed with celiac disease. And, I thought the end result with the original flour was awful. The first GF cookbook I bought called for this blend, and it just tasted, "garfy" as I called it, from the chickpea and garfava flour in it, as well as its coarse texture.   I was majorly disheartened. Then after setting on a quest to find the holy grail of gluten free flour blends, I settled on Jules Gluten Free, and decided to give up my quest of ever increasing choices on the market. Plus, all the gluten free cookbook authors seem to feel they have the "best" blend ever, resulting in me spending $8 or so on a particular ingredient of the blend, and needing to use only 2 Tbsp. of the pound bag. So far none of them beat out Jules in taste, texture or odor (yes, this is a "thing" with gluten free flour). But, then I began hearing good things about Bob's new product and felt as a responsible blogger, I needed to review it. Price wise it's comparable to Jules, which I can get on sale with free shipping for about $14 for a 5 lb bag (normally it is$19.95 per pound). Bob's Red Mill is  Gluten Free1-to-1 Baking Flour $7.99, 44 ounce (2.99/pound) at my local supermarket.  So I whipped up a batch of  a new cookie recipe I invented, using plump and luscious dried Montmorency cherries paired unsweetened coconut flakes. I was pleasantly surprised Although, there was more of a smell with the Bob's than with Jules the flour, it was not pronounced, and disappeared when baked. The texture of the finished product was good, and I didn't notice any grittiness. I went on to make banana muffins, and found similarly good results. My only complaint is that the Bob's didn't brown as well as Jules. But, not browning well is a typical problem with gluten free flours. The last big benefit is that Bob's product is corn free, while Jules contains corn in two ingredients. So for those with a corn allergy, Bob's is a better option.

So my conclusion is that I highly recommend the Bob's Red Mill new product. It's an improvement over his original, which did not contain xanthan gum and did contain bean flour, lending a gritty texture and off taste. The new flour is quite good as it claims "cup for cup" replacement  of flour in recipes. Of course, when converting any glutenful to gluten free recipe, one must fiddle with liquid amounts, as the gf flour absorbs differently. Price wise, it's a good bet for premium GF flour, and of course it's readily available in chain supermarkets, so it can be picked up when needed immediately, without doing an online order, or setting out for the health food or specialty store.  Taste wise, I still would place Jules about 5% above Bob's. However, I think Bob's is really a good bet. It edges out King Arthur, which had done well as a premium GF supermarket blend, but it was flawed in that it did not contain xanthan gum, and therefore couldn't be considered a complete gf flour blend, in my opinion.  As well, King Arthur is more expensive pound for pound.  Bob's has a reputation for integrity, and I'm glad they took the time to work out a really great blend for their respected customers.

The Maven's Tip for lining baking pans: Spray cookie sheets with a light mist of water before placing parchment paper on them. This causes the parchment to adhere to the pans with no slipping.

Chocolate-Cherry Coconut Cookies For All

1 cup vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance brand)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (Florida Crystals or Coconut Sugar is fine as well)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
1 cup gluten-free old fashioned oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil (not Extra Virgin)
1 - 10 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (non-dairy)
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 2 large baking pans with parchment paper, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat margarine until fluffy.  Add sugars and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir until just combined. Beat in olive oil until the batter is thick and smooth.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Drop by two-tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Flatten tops slightly with fingers.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Let rest on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield approx. 4 dozen

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