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Help Refining My Gingersnap Recipe
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Hi guys!

I love gingersnaps but have never found any in stores that are to my liking. I like them very gingery, moderately spiced with a nice molasses undertone but not very sweet. I started creating my own recipe, parsing together different recipes I found online and adding my own twist. I've gotten the flavor down now but I'm still having a little trouble with the flour mixture so I'm hoping to get to some help from my online baking buddies!

I started with just Pamela's Baking Mix as my base and the cookies came out too heavy & dense.

Then I came across Gluten Free Girl's recipe that called for Featherlight Flour Mix: equal parts white rice flour, tapioca starch & cornstarch. In case these measurements are helpful, for 3 3/4 cups flour mix it called for 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp xanthan gum. This batch came out much lighter but with these problems: a chew to the crispness as if they're stale, starchy/floury aftertaste/texture, big air pockets inside.

The next batch I made with part Featherlight Flour, part Pamela's and it came out with a much better texture. Still light but with more body, with the slightly crumbly crunch I was looking for. I recently bought some new flours/starches and I would like to make the recipe out of those, instead of mixing and matching. I now have...

Sorghum

Tapioca

Cornstarch

Almond meal (not flour)

What amount of each would you use if you were making my recipe? Thanks!! And here it is...

1 c butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c Barbados + 1/4 c Blackstrap molasses

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 c fresh ginger, grated

2 3/4 c Featherlight Flour mix + 1 c Pamela's

3/4 tsp xanthan gum 

1 tsp baking soda 

1 heaping Tbl ground ginger 

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp ground cloves 

2/3 c candied ginger, minced 

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I use sorghum, potato starch, tapioca starch. I hate rice flours except sweet rice for rouxs.

Anyway, they say 1/3 of each - sorghum, potato, tapioca; however, that chalky powdery taste is from too much starch...so decrease your starch a bit and add more sorghum. It is is different in every recipe. I start with taking it down 1/4c at a time.

The other thing, and it's a pita...weigh your flours instead of using cups. You can google the weight of 1 cup of wheat flour...and then back into recipes that way. You also can google weights of tapioca, sorghum, etc. it's a pain to figure it out but it works. This is for converting recipes...

Add very little almond flour. It's heavy. It will give it body and chew.

I add 1 tbsp. of amaranth. Tastes like dirt, and that's a good thing in a mix. 1/3 in a mix is too much for me. 1 tbsp. is great.

And generally, they say to add more xanthan in cookies than in cakes, so maybe increase it to 1 tsp?

And the other secret is if you have a recipe that calls for liquid and you can sneak buttermilk, real buttermilk not powdered, in it....it will rise beautifully.

And finally, bake on parchment paper and don't move the cookies til they cool. gluten-free baked goods need to sit and cool to set and not fall apart. It does affect taste.

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For crispy cookies, I find that the best results are achieved without any gums whatsoever. Gums will only work against you. Also, if they turn out too crumbly, use less fat. I find that the amount of fat can be as little as 1/5 of what a wheat flour recipe may call for, but this will depend on the flours you choose, as well as the amount of sugar. Sorghum works well for crispy cookies, especially when the amount of fat is relatively low. But if you're looking for a buttery cookie, then sorghum might not be such a good choice. However, this can also depend on the amount of sugar, since sugar tends to hold things together, as well as add some crispness.

If I had to use the entire cup of butter you're using, then I'd choose one or more bean flours for most of the flour. But if I was restricted to the flours you've listed, then I'd probably reduce the butter, unless the sugar helps enough to hold things together. I can't be sure how much the sugar will effect texture, since I generally don't use sugar. And dairy is out for me as well, so I don't use butter either LOL. Sorry if that doesn't help much!

If you still have the rice flour, then that'd probably be what I'd suggest for the main flour, with some almond meal added. Rice flours can be a bit gritty, which may be a good thing depending upon the texture you're looking for. Otherwise the superfine rice flour might be a better one to use, if it's going to be rice flour at all. The sorghum flour will not impart such gritty texture, but again, it may not be able to hold together well enough with so much butter, especially as a main flour. Tough to say because the sugar might compensate. I don't like the texture that tapioca imparts, so I'd preferentially leave that out, or keep it to a minimum. Almond meal has a much higher fat content than most types of flour, so you might need to reduce the butter if adding almond meal/flour.

If the cookies rise too much, then reduce the leavening. That may also mean reducing the vinegar and/or other acidic ingredients such as dairy. Eggs can also act to leaven a bit, so keep that in mind. However, baking soda alone (and in a relatively small amount) can act to make a crispier texture. Too much will ruin the taste. This may be the case for your recipe, as the amount of vinegar seems rather insufficient to compensate, if I'm not mistaken.

Lastly, you can probably reduce the amount of ginger required by toasting the ground ginger in a dry pan first, which can help bring out the flavor. That's a tip I learned from Cook's Country. You might find their videos very helpful, although they don't do anything specifically gluten-free that I've ever seen. Here's the video in which I saw the ginger tip. They also talk about the baking soda in that video.

HTH

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And I don't know if featherlight has xanthan in it, but Pamela's generally does. So consider you may have been using a lot of xanthan.

And if you like the way it was mixing the two flour mixes, it will be difficult to replicate.

I've learned to make my own mix to substitute in for gluteny recipes - and it comes out how it comes out. I also use lots of coconut and almond flour recipes - recipes developed that way.

Some recipes convert easily, some don't. I've learned to recognize the ones that do and stick with those.

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I use sorghum, potato starch, tapioca starch. I hate rice flours except sweet rice for rouxs.

Anyway, they say 1/3 of each - sorghum, potato, tapioca; however, that chalky powdery taste is from too much starch...so decrease your starch a bit and add more sorghum. It is is different in every recipe. I start with taking it down 1/4c at a time.

The other thing, and it's a pita...weigh your flours instead of using cups. You can google the weight of 1 cup of wheat flour...and then back into recipes that way. You also can google weights of tapioca, sorghum, etc. it's a pain to figure it out but it works. This is for converting recipes...

Add very little almond flour. It's heavy. It will give it body and chew.

I add 1 tbsp. of amaranth. Tastes like dirt, and that's a good thing in a mix. 1/3 in a mix is too much for me. 1 tbsp. is great.

And generally, they say to add more xanthan in cookies than in cakes, so maybe increase it to 1 tsp?

And the other secret is if you have a recipe that calls for liquid and you can sneak buttermilk, real buttermilk not powdered, in it....it will rise beautifully.

And finally, bake on parchment paper and don't move the cookies til they cool. gluten-free baked goods need to sit and cool to set and not fall apart. It does affect taste.

Thanks so much for all the tips! I've heard the thing about weighing your flours from a few sources now so I went for it!! I found a digital one with good reviews for $15 on Amazon and it arrived today! Can't wait to try it.

Question for you & the group... What do you think of using cornstarch instead of potato starch? In the Featherlight Flour blend it calls for equal parts white rice, tapioca and cornstarch. I'm using sorghum instead of white rice. Do you think that's too much cornstarch? I don't know how cornstarch behaves in baked goods liked cookies.

I would love to find a great resource that thoroughly describes the properties of all the common flours & starches. So far the articles I've found just say it's used to thicken gravies & such, which of course I know. What I don't know is what it does when baked - does it make it crunchier, chewier, etc. For instance I now know, thanks to some deducing & help from this forum, that too much tapioca plus xanthan equals very rubbery cobbler topping!

Thanks so much!

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Thanks so much for all the tips! I've heard the thing about weighing your flours from a few sources now so I went for it!! I found a digital one with good reviews for $15 on Amazon and it arrived today! Can't wait to try it.

Question for you & the group... What do you think of using cornstarch instead of potato starch? In the Featherlight Flour blend it calls for equal parts white rice, tapioca and cornstarch. I'm using sorghum instead of white rice. Do you think that's too much cornstarch? I don't know how cornstarch behaves in baked goods liked cookies.

I would love to find a great resource that thoroughly describes the properties of all the common flours & starches. So far the articles I've found just say it's used to thicken gravies & such, which of course I know. What I don't know is what it does when baked - does it make it crunchier, chewier, etc. For instance I now know, thanks to some deducing & help from this forum, that too much tapioca plus xanthan equals very rubbery cobbler topping!

Thanks so much!

 

When weighing flours, keep in mind that different flours weigh differently per given amount. So 1/4 cup of brown or white rice flour does not weigh the same as 1/4 cup of sweet rice flour. Tapioca starch doesn't weigh the same as cornstarch either. But interestingly, arrowroot starch DOES weigh the same as cornstarch. But this doesn't have a lot to do with interchangeability. Going by weight may help sometimes, but it won't always work out right.

 

For a description of different flours, and how they perform in cooking and baking, perhaps this thread will help you. Incidentally, I've been gathering additional information since I last posted there, so I hope to be adding to the list soon.

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I really don't have experience baking with corn starch. I just haven't tried it.

As far as weighing flours go, I find my flour mixes turn out better (thus my baked goods) if I weigh the flours going into the mix.

Also, when converting a recipe to gluten-free grains I find weight works better. So, if I'm replacing 1c of wheat flour with gluten-free I would weigh out 4 1/4 oz. of gluten-free flour. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/measuring.html

When baking a gluten-free recipe I weigh flours if the recipe maker weighed them. If not, I try to use my best measuring technique :).

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