Top Secrets to Tasty Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten-Free-Flour

Gluten-free baking — think it’s impossible? Think again!

People choose to go gluten-free for a variety of reasons. Doctor’s orders, better digestion or healthier lifestyle choices always seem to top the list. Just one sweep through the grocery store and you’ll find plenty of options for gluten-free eating. If you love the art of baking at home, you’re not limited there, either. Many people think they have to kiss baking goodbye when they go gluten-free, but your oven doesn’t have to go into retirement the moment you switch.

Top Secrets for Gluten-Free Baking

  • Bigger is NOT better. Smaller batches crumble less than trying to push out three or four dozen cookies at once, for example.
  • Get sticky. Gluten is a sticky agent, so adding some gelatin or xanthan gum to your pizza dough will hold your crust together better.
  • Reduce the heat. Lower your oven temperature by about 25 degrees to keep your gluten-free baked goods from browning too quickly.
  • Be a flour chemist. Combine 2-3 different grains for the perfect baking mix. Try sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white and sweet rice flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, certified gluten-free oat flour and teff flour.

This chart helps explain the flavor profiles of different flours.

Guide-to-Different-Types-of-Flour_Small

 

Gluten-Free Fresh Baked Bread

Brown rice flour is the main ingredient in Clabber Girl’s hearty Gluten-Free Oat Bread. One slice, and you’ll never miss another white or wheat loaf again.

Ingredients:

1 c. rolled oats (quick cooking)
1 c. oat flour
2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1 c. boiling water
1 c. unsweetened almond milk
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. flaxseeds (ground)
1/2 c. dates
2 tbsp. roasted almond butter (can use coconut butter)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Get the directions!

Gluten-Free Sweet Treats

If you love the smell of fresh baked sugary goodness, heat up your oven and try out these decadent and delicious Blueberry Corn Muffins and Banana Pancakes. Our honey peanut butter and jelly cookies are perfect for kids (or the young at heart)! Before your next camping trip or hike, try taking our vegan and gluten-free nutty granola with you to help pack on the protein.

Wiping gluten off the menu means eliminating the starch, not the taste. Living and baking gluten-free can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of things, you’ll discover a whole new world of favorite recipes.

50 State Cookies

 

State CookiesCrank up the ovens, break out those mixers and find the baking sheets… it’s cookie time. And if you’re still in a bind about which cookie to take to the holiday exchange this weekend, we’ve got you covered with 50 of the most unique cookies from the United States. Whether you stick to your state’s most prized cookie or try one from the opposite coast, these 50 state cookies are bound to be crowd-pleasers!

To find out what cookie matches your personality, take our cookie quiz!

Alabama: Alabama Cookies – This cookie has a little crunch both from the pecans and the rice crisp cereal. The cookie also has oats, so we find this a totally acceptable breakfast food.

Alaska: Wilderness Lodge Oatmeal Cookies – Alaska goes a little rogue from the traditional cowboy cookie recipe by adding some raisins. Any dried fruit will work as a substitute.

Arizona: Arizona Chocolate Chip Cookies – Lots of shredded coconut make this more than just your plain ol’ chocolate chip cookie, adding a little extra sweetness.

Arkansas: Almond Macaroon Cookies – With more than one cup of almonds, these cookies are more than just a little nutty. Enjoy with a fruity compote and you’re golden.

California:  Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies – You read that right. These cookies have a little green in them. But avocados are good for you, so go ahead and treat yourself to a couple more!

Colorado: Cowboy Cookies – Cookies made especially for cowboys. And anyone else who enjoys oats, chocolate and walnuts in their cookies.

Connecticut: Spice Cookies – These cookies are sweet with a zip of extra flavor. It makes sense coming from a state known as the Nutmeg State.

Delaware: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies – Strawberries and cream are the theme of these sugary shortcakes. What could go wrong?

Florida:  Key Lime Cookies – It’s no secret that Floridians love their key limes. So we’re not surprised they add them to their cookie dough, too!

Georgia: Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies – If there weren’t peaches in this state’s favorite cookie, it would be a crime! And the white chocolate chips? They’re just bonus flavor.

Hawaii: Hawaiian Cookie Balls – The crushed pineapple and coconut give these cookie balls the Hawaiian flair we all know and love.

Idaho: Potato Chip Cookies – Apparently in Idaho, potatoes have a place in every recipe. But don’t worry, this cookie has all of the sweet stuff, too—cocoa, peanut butter, coconut and chocolate chips.

Illinois: Date-Nut Cookies – If your family is a little nutty, these might be the perfect cookies to serve them.

Indiana: No Bake Cookies – No baking is required, just patience is as you wait for these cookies to cool. Can you resist the temptation?

Iowa: Iowa City Oatmeal Cookies – This isn’t just your any oatmeal cookie. With whole wheat flour, chocolate chips, walnuts and wheat cereal, these cookies cater to all you whole grain lovers.

Kansas: Amish Cookies – Standard sugar cookies with a twist— a hearty amount of powdered sugar.

Kentucky: Brown Butter Bourbon Cookies – Kentucky and bourbon? A perfect pair.  The rich bourbon accentuates the flavors of butter and vanilla.

Louisiana: Citrus Shortbread Cookies – These cookies are just as jazzy as the state they come from.

Maine: Cranberry and Orange Cookies – The bright red color and a sweet glaze makes these cookies perfect for any occasion, but especially so during the holidays.

Maryland: Chocolate Crab Cake Cookies – Your guests will not be eating crab meat in their cookie. We may not understand the name, but we do understand the desire for a chocolate-y, coconut-y cookie!

Massachusetts: Chocolate Chip Cookies – When you’re home of the original chocolate chip cookie, why would any other cookie be your go-to?

Michigan: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies – Chocolate and cherries? Michigan knows how to make some good cookies.

Minnesota: Brown Sugar Butter Cookies – Brown sugar, chocolate chips, and toffee bits. Yes, please!

Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Cookies – No mud in these cookies; just chocolate and yummy marshmallows.

Missouri: Missouri Cookies – Fifteen minutes is all that stands between you and a delicious dessert.

Montana: Huckleberry Cookies – You put huckleberries in salads and pancakes, so why not cookies?

Nebraska: Rubber Cookies – As it turns out, rubber is code for molasses, cinnamon, apples and all sorts of other spicy deliciousness.

Nevada: Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – In the words of chef Emeril Lagasse, “Let’s kick it up a notch!” These cookies are certainly the way to do it.

New Hampshire: Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies – When it gets too wintery to eat a creamsicle, put the flavors in a warm cookie instead.

New Jersey: Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies – Beautiful and bright, kind of like your holiday decor.

New Mexico: Bizcochitos (Biscochitos) – These state-recognized cookies have a little kick of flavor from anise seeds and brandy.

New York: Black and White Cookies – Famous in NYC, these cookies are bold and dramatic. Perfect for cookie lovers who can’t decide if they favor vanilla or chocolate icing

North Carolina: Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies – A little pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup make these sweet potatoes even sweeter. And you can eat them for breakfast.

North Dakota: Honey Whole Wheat Cookies – For the grain lovers of the world, this one’s for you.

Ohio: Cappuccino Flat Cookies – We approve of any cookie that has coffee in it.

Oklahoma: Pecan Pie Cookies – Pecan pie is a favorite in Oklahoma, but pecan pie cookies are just genius.

Oregon: Hazelnut Cookies – Hazelnut coffee is good, but hazelnut cookies? Even better!

Pennsylvania: Chocolate Chip Cookies – You share a home state with Hershey, so this choice is obvious.

Rhode Island: Espiros – With only four ingredients, you can whip these up in no time.

South Carolina: Benne Wafers – Covered in sesame seeds, these cookies have a perfect, toasty crunch.

South Dakota: Triple the Ginger Cookies – One cookie equals three gingerbread men!

Tennessee: Tennessee-Style Marshmallow Cookies – Cookies with a marshmallow center and dipped in chocolate. What’s not to love?

Texas: Fritos Cookies – Drizzle peanut butter, corn syrup, and sugar over corn chips, and you’ve got a cookie.

Utah: Squash Cookies – Put this on your kids’ plate, and they may just eat their veggies. Especially when disguised in sweet cinnamon and nutty pecans.

Vermont: Maple Syrup Cookies – Maple syrup is a state staple!

Virginia: Candied Lemon Ginger Cookies – Don’t even try to resist this combination of lemon and ginger.

Washington: Apple Peanut Butter Cookies – Our favorite fruit all wrapped up in a tasty treat.

West Virginia: Ginger and Molasses Cookies – Warm, comforting flavors for the holiday season.

Wisconsin: Cheddar Cheese Cookies – With only three ingredients, these cookies are quick and simple, not to mention savory!

Wyoming: Wyoming Whopper Cookies – These peanut butter, oats, and raisin-filled cookies are enjoyed most after a long day hiking in the woods.

Hosting a Cookie Exchange

Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange

First time hosting a cookie exchange? Let us help! At a traditional cookie exchange, friends gather to try new recipes, sample a few sweets and maybe even enjoy a some vino. It’s a great way to save time, too. In the time it takes to make one big batch of cookies (and swap treats with your friends), you have a variety of festive cookies take home and enjoy. With a little extra thought and planning, the gathering can take your holiday spirit to a whole new level.

Step 1: Pick a Theme

It’s the holiday season, of course, but not everyone celebrates the same holiday. Last year, one of our Clabber Girl bakers hosted a cookie swap with a “memories” theme. Guests came with old photos of family celebrations and went around the room, explaining the pictures, while everyone sampled cookies inspired by these treasured childhood memories. There were a lot of laughs, and a few tears, too. Other theme ideas include:

Go Nuts! Cookie Swap

Try these Chewy Butterscotch Pecan Cookies, simple Almond Crunch Cookies or elegant Chocolate Walnut Biscotti.

Cookies & Cocktails

Anything goes with this theme! We like Coffee Drop Cookies  or Chocolate Chunk and Cherry Cookies!

Mistletoe & Munchies

Celebrate the season’s flavors with Egg Nog Thumbprint Cookies, or Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.

Step 2: Invitations

A cookie exchange is about celebrating the joy of the holidays. The invitation is where you’ll let your 8-10 friends know the party details and set the tone for the event. Give them plenty of notice; about 4-6 weeks should be plenty of time. The invitation should also include:

  • Specs: The time, date, location and what you, as the host, will provide.
  • Props: Attach the invitation with a colorful ribbon to a wooden baking spoon, an ornament or a Christmas tree cookie cutter.
  • Swap rules: Let your guests know what to expect. Some rules include homemade only or nonperishable preferred cookies. Tell them how many cookies to bring (three dozen, or six?), as well as anything they’ll need to take the cookies home, such as plastic containers or sealable bags.
  • Exciting envelopes: Place your invite in an apron-shaped or a cookie sandwich envelope. You can even tie it to a mason jar filled with your favorite DIY baking mix.

Step 3: The Big Event

Be sure to set the stage by picking décor that sticks to your theme. You’ll also want plenty of colorful trays and cake stands on hand for displaying your friends’ handiwork.

  • Nice Package: A crafty packaging station with cute boxes, bright paper and festive ribbon is a great way to spark conversation and give your guests a special take away party favor. We also have these free gift tags to help decorate the bags people take come.
  • Prizes: Turn your cookie swap into a cookie contest. Offer voting and prizes for creative cookie categories like best dressed, biggest flavor, most creative, best crunch… the possibilities are endless.
  • The Art of Mingling: Some of your guests might be friends and some may be meeting for the first time. Either way, you can keep the conversation going and the laughter flowing with scavenger hunts, holiday mad-libs or other games. Guessing games always bring a good laugh, especially after the second round of cocktails!

Make this year’s cookie exchange the most memorable one yet!

DIY Mason Jar Baking Mixes

 

WebWhat could be more adorable than a sweet treat in a jar? Mason jar baking mixes are a fun, budget-friendly way to give the joy of baking as a holiday gift. The best part – it’s so easy to personalize. Get the kids involved for a fun afternoon project they can give their teachers or servicemen and women. Does your boss love chocolate chip cookies? Is your best friend a pumpkin bread fiend? These gifts show off your creativity, and your thoughtfulness. Download our mason jar gift idea graphic and full tag recipes.

Pecan Pancake Mason Jar Mix

With this recipe you’ll be dreaming about these fluffy pancakes long before you even wake up. Layer the dry ingredients in a jar, add a colorful ribbon and a thoughtful tag. Want to dress it up even more? Put wrapping paper on the removable metal disk on the lid to give the jar that extra dash of holiday spice.

Jar Ingredients:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Don’t forget to write down additional ingredients and instructions on a creative label or tag:
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook until tops of pancakes are covered with bubbles and edges appear slightly dry. Turn and continue cooking until bottom sides are browned. Yield: 12 (4-inch) pancakes.

Brownie Drop Cookies

Nothing says “I love you” like the sweet, savory explosion that comes from blending brownies and cookies. That’s right — brownies AND cookies. Just the name of this recipe is a gift in and of itself.

Jar Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
One (4-ounce) bar white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Don’t forget to write down additional ingredients and instructions!

This mason jar baking mix makes a great centerpiece to a homemade gift basket – add it to a handmade kitchen towel, a pair of oven mitts and a batch of fresh baked brownie drop cookies.

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

Cranberry and orange give this quick bread  bright flavor. Decorate it by adding a paper poinsettia to the lid or wrapping a red and black Santa belt around the jar. Add a little green glitter to the lid or tag, and you have the perfect DIY holiday gift.

Jar Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Rumford Baking Soda
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Include additional ingredients and instructions with each jar.

Remember, what’s outside is almost as important as what’s inside. You can dress up your mason jar in a number of clever, colorful holiday themes. Let your love of baking be a gift that keeps on giving. Mason jar baking mixes make gifts that are both fun to make and fun to give.

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