Friday, December 17, 2010

Flour Substitution Failure #1

With about an hour before I leave to an ornament exchange party, I decided to try one of my favorite holiday cookies as the first official "flour substitution" project: a soft molasses cookie recipe from Jeanne Quinton, in Seattle. Confidently, I scooped equal measures of my new sorghum flour mix (proportions compliments of Jennifer Cinquepalmi, author of Gluten-Free Deliciously) to match the original recipe's requirements. Based on other GF baking recipes I've read, I tossed in a teaspoon of my new friend Xanthan Gum (the origin of which is rather amusing and very Heidi-appropriate, but I'll have to share another time) and mixed the remaining ingredients as-is. With hope in my heart (and salivating mouth), I waited impatiently for the first baking sheet of rounded, puffy, sugar-coated cookies to emerge from the oven. Here's what I found, instead:

So, apparently, either an elephant tromped through my oven and flattened my cookies, or there's more to this gluten thing than just sticking ingredients together. (Yes, I already knew that, folks. But I had to see it in action to believe it. Now I believe.)

They don't taste too bad, but they look awful and they are so soft that even slightly cooled they were still oozing through the slats of the wire cooling rack. I think I'll still bring them to the ornament exchange party and see if anyone is daring enough to try them. But at least I can check one thing off my list: I have now accomplished flour substitution failure #1. Whew. I won't ever have to do that again.



  1. Hey Heidi, Sorry you had a flop. I have to make a suggestion, for while you're starting out. Look for recipes that don't involve YOU doing the substitutions. Look for recipes that just call for GF flours. Then you know someone else already fiddled around with it and found it reasonable. Once you've got more practice under your belt, THEN do the ones where you experiment yourself.

    I found that the substitution-experiments were often VERY disappointing, and when you're just starting out, you should go for as much success as possible, so you don't start feeling all sorry for yourself. :)


  2. You're absolutely right, Anna, and that was my intention. But last night I really wanted to bake something and didn't have all the ingredients for some of the "special" recipes. So I decided to just jump in and see what happens.

    I knew that it wouldn't be as easy as substituting cupful-for-cupful, but I'm so stubborn that I had to prove it to myself. Ha!

    Today I'm putting together my regular weekly shopping list and I plan to make sure I can bake a few of the tried-and-true GF recipes this next week.

    Now, off to Whole Foods (my other new best friend)...