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Living Gluten-Free but Longing for Croissants, Cookies, and Carbs

Gluten Sensitivity or What to do when your food sensitivity is trending

My gluten sensitivity came on unexpectedly a few years ago, but I didn’t know it at the time. In my young adult life I wasn’t fond of pasta or bread. I’d eat it but I didn’t seek it out when grocery shopping. When I decided to enjoy brioche, croissants, and pastry chef creations in the form of delicious cookies I ignored the discomfort that always came after consuming the delicious treats.

At the time my life was filled with stressors and I figured it was the cause for my upset stomach. My physician figured it out before I did and ordered a battery of tests.

I was gluten sensitive.

Once the diagnosis was confirmed I needed to adapt to a gluten sensitive diet and change my weekly grocery list go to’s. But how to navigate a world when your time is limited? Or the fact baking and cooking from scratch cut into your precious free time?

How to Enjoy Creating a Gluten Sensitivity Diet 

When it comes to food I love experimenting. Though the pandemic, lockdown, an Autistic* teen suddenly thrown into distance learning while I attend college full-time to finish one of two degrees I had no time to spend hours in the kitchen.

America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) is a wonderful source to get recipes that fit your dietary needs, but they explain what testing they did, what each result was and how they tweaked things to get the recipe you are using at the moment.

…Sad dark chocolate blobs on a cookie sheet that looked like a poorly made Salvador Dali painting

There’s an ATK All-Purpose flour I make and it is wheat free and can be used as a substitute in baking and cooking including a base for your roux. Their gluten free flour uses brown rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch. The only downside is that it is not dairy free with its use of powdered non-fat milk. Any dairy free desserts you plan to make are better suited with a different GF flour, perhaps a 1:1 ratio from King Arthur Flour?

Though please note that all gluten free flours are not interchangeable. A recipe that gives a GF flour option and follows up with a baked or savory dish has specific ingredients that allow for the right outcome. Do not attempt to substitute your different gluten free flour recipes until you are confident that it will not result in an expensive and inedible mistake.

Gluten Free Baking Failures and other Hilarity

When I’ve been in a hurry and not looking at recipes I’ve either created or ones I’ve gotten from a reliable source is when my cookies or other pastry falters. I wanted to make my dark chocolate chip cookie recipe gluten free, but I decided to do such a night before an event. Long story short I had sad dark chocolate blobs on a cookie sheet that looked like a poorly made Salvador Dali painting.

Gluten free flour, whether made from scratch or a 1:1 exchange is not the only recipe adjustment needed. It’s the fat ratio that can leave your cookies without shape or hold its circular shape for delicious enjoyment.

When it comes to creating foods or snacks that cater to being allergy free you realize it takes planning because you aren’t always going to have the ability to run to the grocery store and buy an item or two. This is where meal prep becomes my favorite thing instead of loathed.

There are recipes for cookie dough that can be rolled out, cut and frozen in a freezer for up to 3 months at a time. How wonderful would it be to know that you had a sweet snack food available to thrown in an oven or air fryer to bake and eat in minutes?

When I’m feeling my best I dream of having enough energy to get up early on a Sunday morning and prepare sweet and savory items not only for the week but to load up in the freezer. As mentioned my time is limited and my energy levels aren’t consistent to keep up with such a plan so I do what I can when I can and let it be enough.

Hungry but too Lazy to Bake Solutions

It’s good to prepare items whether for freezing or refrigeration that will allow you to enjoy treats without feeling left out when eating with others. I love the dairy-free frozen dessert that is basically apple pie ‘ice cream’ with crumbles, but the crumbles are gluten. In order to not bum myself out I make a gluten-free version crumble. This insures that when I’m ready to make Apple based frozen dessert I have the right ingredients and do not have to add more steps or find free time to make something that I want to enjoy in hours.

I admit the reason why I don’t post recipes of the things I consume at home and not for the chocolate company is because I franken-recipe things. Meaning, in order to get the creations I want the recipe isn’t complete. I have my go-to from Jeni’s Ice Cream cookbooks in order to get the ratio correct for the dairy free dessert base and the apple, but the crumble is not GF friendly so I need to look elsewhere for the topping.

While I love the full fat of coconut milk and cream I don’t like the taste it gives to my homemade Apple frozen dessert. Also, my ingredients list is often not filled with things that you can pick up at the grocery store. I really love Modernist Pantry’s stabilizers for gelato, ice cream, and sorbet base in order to give your creations the right texture no matter what you decide to create.

Cream color striped background. Green Polaroid picture frame. Leaves sprouting on a tree branch

Arkansas Black Apple Tree

New England has some of the best apples and until my Arkansas Black Apples (#LaPommeNoire) comes to fruition in about five years from now I need to use what I have and I love making a pectin based apple compote/preserve. It’s great in a crepe but also swirled in either a cinnamon-based or vanilla frozen dessert.

Also, we have the ability to use different shapes to store our creations. Nothing says we must buy pint containers for our frozen desserts. What about using thick square silicone molds so you can make your own ice cream sandwiches? Or what about using your waffle cone maker to not make cones because you don’t have the dexterity, but instead making them into bowls while still warm?

 

*Autistic teen or Teen with Autism

I use the terminology my kid prefers, but am aware with the Behavioral Science, Social Workers, Therapist, and other professionals use the other phrasing

 

 

About Author

Nikki Woolfolk is the author of multiple Steampunk (Sweet & Steamy series) and Cozy Food Mystery stories and a Professional Chocolatier. Until a dozen years ago she feared all kitchens, but found inspiration from a film about a rat who longed to cook in a French kitchen and swiftly made her way to a NYC culinary school. Working as a stagiere anywhere she could Nikki received her Advanced Pastry and Chocolatier Certification and has worked with some of the top chefs in her field. Nikki enjoys taking her readers on culinary adventures in a spectacular cogged and geared world with the perfect recipe of fun and adventure with a dash of wit!

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