Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Highs and Lows of Gluten Free Baking

For the past 10 days, I have been on a high dose of Prednisolone (corticosteriods), thanks to a flare-up of Crohn's Disease.  One major side effect of these tablets is a massive increase in my appetite.  Usually combined with extreme moodiness if I can't eat IMMEDIATELY!!  As a result, I have spent a considerable amount of time in my kitchen, baking and eating.

I decided I wanted to make bread rolls, so I experimented with rice flour and chestnut flour.  The resulting dough rose beautifully and smelled divine, but was so fragile that shaping the rolls was enough to knock all the air out of them and they didn't recover after a second proving.  However, as someone who loves her crusts (my Grandmother told me they'd give me curly hair, no luck yet) I still enjoyed the rather flat bread they produced!  I decided that these were "trencher" breads, used as plates in medieval times - they were really quite good for that purpose.  I feel a medieval banquet coming on!   I am new to chestnut flour and now I'm a fan.  It is slightly sweet and nutty, so is ideal for cakes and bread.
flat, but tasty!
A slightly more successful endeavour was the coffee-chocolate cakes I whipped up yesterday.  I was in the mood for coffee, the husband wanted chocolate... it seemed obvious.  Clearly, these are two flavours that work well together.  As I read about, and play with, gluten free baking, I have learned that while you can usually substitute regular flour weight-for-weight with gluten free flour when adapting recipes, you tend to require a little more liquid.

Mocha Cupcakes - makes 12
I topped mine with melted white chocolate.  It makes them look like little frothy coffees!

90g gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm Plain White Flour)
10g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking  powder
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tsp instant coffee granules
60ml (4 tbsp) boiling water

  • Add the water into the coffee granules and stir well to dissolve, set aside to cool.
  • Cream together margarine and sugar.
  • Beat in eggs, then add cooled coffee.  If the mix starts to split, throw in a few spoonfuls of flour as you beat.
  • Combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.  Fold this into the rest.
  • Once mixed, pour into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

Mocha Cupcakes, topped with white chocolate
Oh, by the way, my new thing this week was cooking with pigs' trotters! A little daunting to prepare, and not as much meat on the bones as I was hoping. I would buy extra next time.  Next on my to-try list I will be attempting Butteries (an Aberdonian bread roll with -as the name suggests- lots of butter!)

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