Monday, December 12, 2011

Baking for all and being gluten free

I love to bake. I have been baking since I was young and there isn't much I enjoy more than being able to make goodies from family and friends, especially this time of year.  Needing to change my eating habits to be gluten free has put a crimp it that baking though.  There was a year I cooked nothing with regular flour and made everything gluten free, the kids and husband were miserable. Then the next year I cooked all the old recipes and I didn't get to eat anything, then I was miserable.  Trying to balance the treats that are family traditions with gluten free recipes has become an effort. I have substituted gluten free flour for regular flour, things have tasted off. I have abandoned my old recipes for new ones, changing the traditions that we have come to count on. On top of this I don't want to leave the Christmas season 10 pounds heavier because there are tons of treats for me to gorge on.  
This year I am striving for a balance of gluten free treats and yummy family traditions. The gingerbread got cooked with the old recipe, gluten free flour way didn't work. The gingerbread is really more about the kids getting to decorate with frosting and sprinkles more than anything else.  Nanny's Apple Cake Recipe was split, 3/4 made with regular flour and 1/4 gluten free, this way I still get the treat of Apple Cake, but everyone else gets to enjoy Apple Cake without a texture or taste change.  Honestly the texture and taste change is only picked up by a few people, but I prefer that people get the original, plus gluten free flour is expensive.  For the cookie exchange I made a family favorite, Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies, the cookies weren't gluten free, but are always a big hit.  At the cookies exchange I get to pick up some chocolate that is gluten free and everyone loves these festive tasty cookies. The last cookie recipe I made was a new gluten free Chocolate Peppermint Wafer Cookie Recipe.  The chocolate peppermint cookies were awesome and I feel the glee of cookies during the holiday without feeling like I am going to OD on cookies.  The gluten free cookies are a great treat for me when everyone else is gorging on gingerbread men so layered in frosting that the cookies merely becomes a vehicle to get more frosting in your mouth.  The Chocolate Peppermint Cookies were suppose to be two wafers with frosting in the middle, I did what I called 'open faced chocolate peppermint cookies'.
I think this year we may have found a great mix of holiday traditions and new ideas.  The gluten free chocolate peppermint cookies will defiantly be back next year along with all the other favorites. 
You might be assuming the kids do all this baking with me, they don't.  It isn't that they aren't interested in learning to bake, or that I don't want to teach them. This baking is for others and because of that I am not 100% comfortable that the kids have enough hygiene and cooking knowledge to participate with me quite yet. For now they will continue to bake when we aren't sharing the goodies being cooked. That way when they lick the spoon and put it back in the bowl I can laugh and not be horrified that I am going to give someone a gift my kids have licked already.    
What is your holiday baking looking like? Are you making the old standards or trying something new?
Happy Baking.

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