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WinterSong

Baking Desserts - From Scratch Or The Box?

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Hi all! (Can I just say how much I love this forum and how supportive everyone is? It's helped me out SOOOO much)

Anyway, I've always prided myself in being an excellent baker, making all of my cookies and cupcakes from scratch. But I'm very new to the gluten-free scene, and all of the different kinds of flours and ingredients look so overwhelming. So here's my question: is it worth it to bake from scratch? Or are the kinds from the box just as good?

If anyone has any favorite recipes or brands of pre-made mixes, I'd love the guidance!

Thanks!

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Hi all! (Can I just say how much I love this forum and how supportive everyone is? It's helped me out SOOOO much)

Anyway, I've always prided myself in being an excellent baker, making all of my cookies and cupcakes from scratch. But I'm very new to the gluten-free scene, and all of the different kinds of flours and ingredients look so overwhelming. So here's my question: is it worth it to bake from scratch? Or are the kinds from the box just as good?

If anyone has any favorite recipes or brands of pre-made mixes, I'd love the guidance!

Thanks!

I used to be like you. But I've had sooo many gluten-free baking flops that I have pretty much given up doing it. The zucchini bread recipe here on this website (not the forum but the recipe section) does work very well for me. I don't add nuts and I use ground flaxseed and water instead of eggs. Apple (or other fruit) crisp works well by using a regular recipe and subbing in white or brown rice flour for the wheat. I use gluten-free oats. And I use coconut oil or Nucoa in place of butter. I do add just a bit more brown sugar. It seems to need it for the crunch.

As for the mixes, Namaste and Betty Crocker have turned out well for me.

I have not found any yeast type breads that worked. But it could be because of our additional allergies that limit what I can put in the bread.

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I haven't braved buying all of the different flour and experimenting.

I bought coconut flour and almond flour and use Elana's Pantry website for most baking needs.

I do like the recipe section here and have tried a few recipes that were really good.

Like if you need a chocolate cake...and you do a search here....you can come up with all the recipes you need.

The store bought gluten free cookies are all terrible in my opinion. Homemade...pretty darn good.

Udi's is my top pick for bread, cinnamon rolls and muffins. I only make cookies at home.

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ok, it's been awhile since i baked.

as far as gluten-free brownies- ive had best luck with betty crocker's gluten-free box. in fact it's the only box that ive actually liked. most of them taste awful-

with choco chip cookies- i usually do the tollhouse recipe with gluten-free oat flour & gluten-free soy flour. its delish. i tried coconut flour- and it was awful.

ive been able to do pumpkin bread or banana choco chip bread with rice flour- always a success.

i have not been able to master the cake. so far- ive LOVED Pamela's Vanilla cake mix, and Chocolate cake mix.

and recently- my mom made this vanilla cake mix with chestnut flour- it was AMAZINGLY YUMMMMMM- im posting the link below:

http://www.dowdandrogers.com/darkvanilla.html

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I have never made a loaf of gluten-free bread that was any good, after 9 months of trying I gave up and am happy with Udi's bread and bagels.

I have had hit and miss luck with muffins, but have resolved myself to the box mixes there as well. Namaste and King Arthur have the best IMO Market basket is ok

Cookies, We use the King Arthur flour mix and make PButter cookies and CChip. These turn out pretty good. I have made the Namaste and King Arthur cookie mixes and they are about the same, Bob's red mills is so-so. Using the flour gives me control over how many.

Overall I spent a fortune on the separate flours for many many failures. Yes things were edible, but not good.

For now I will continue to use the box mixes for cakes, brownies and muffins. I will use the flour mix for ccokies and will buy the bread and bagels from now on.

FYI, NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT

I just got "The cake mix docter bakes Gluten free" It's shows how to doctor your mixes to make things different and special. ie: turn vanilla cake into gingerbread snack cake. check it out of you library and see, that's what I did first.

Give up all baked goods for at least a month , then try some box mixes, this way you can adjust your tastebuds.

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Someone mentioned using Pamela's pancake mix for Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. She said they turned out great. Haven't tried it myself yet.

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Always from scratch - I do not use any mixes (though I've tried some to give them a shot but ICK!). I make my breads, cookies, cupcakes, breads, desserts and so on all scratch. My flour count is now up to 18 kinds. I have one mix in the house and that is for pancakes which isn't bad.

I love to bake so why not continue?? Not letting gluten-free prevent me from doing what I love. The act of baking and cooking is so therapeutic, relaxing and enjoyable. It's more than a hobby with me - it's a lifestyle. Just because I have celiac does it mean I would give up what I love to do most? NO WAY!!!! :)

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Love2Travel: Would LOVE to have some of the great recipes you've managed to conjure up! I'm looking for an awesome cinnamon roll recipe. I don't know anything about baking, except to follow a recipe. I had finally found an awesome recipe, and now cannot use it. :angry: I loved making things from scratch, but without wheat, I don't even know where to start. I don't have the time, patience, or money to be able to figure it out by trial and error. Man, if I could just find replacement recipes for my favorite holiday cookies and cinnamon rolls, I'd be one happy mama.

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Love2Travel: Oh me, too! I'd LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to get some advice and recipes. I agree, baking is very therapeutic and relaxing. It's part of who I am, and I definitely don't want Celiac to prevent me from doing what I love. I've found tons of recipes via online and cook books, but I'm so weary that they won't turn out well.

Recipes on my list to find - chocolate chip cookies, vanilla/chocolate cupcakes, frosting (I know most frosting is gluten-free, but I've only made one kind before, so I'd be interested in learning a new recipe), pizza crust, and pancakes/waffles.

Question that maybe you/someone can help answer - I make some amazing chocolate chip pumpkin bread with whole wheat flour. Could I just substitute the whole wheat for AP Gluten Flour (it's 1.5 cups)? Also the same question goes for Banana Bread (2 cups whole wheat flour). Once I figure it out and test it, I'd be happy to share the recipe with anyone who'd like it!

Would VERY MUCH appreciate some advice from anyone experienced! Thanks!

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I do about 90% scratch baking.

I does take time and patience to figure it out. Dough and batter does not look or act the same. I have had a few things go from oven into the trash, but not too many.

I really enjoy gluten-free baking now, and see it as a challenge. I get many compliments from both my son (the only Celiac in the family) and all of the friends and family who help eat my cooking.

My recommendations:

Get a bunch of gluten-free cookbooks and thumb through them. Our local library has at least 10 different gluten-free cookbooks. Pick a couple of things to try. There are lots of cookbooks, and lots of flour mixes and strategies because people have different tastes. I found out, for example, pretty early on that everyone in our family hates the taste of bean flours. But they do help with texture, so for breads, etc I use just a tiny bit, like 1 tsp to a cup of other flour.

Figure out what food you miss the most, then search out different recipes, and see what works and what you like until you master it. For my son, it was pizza crust. We went through a lot of just so-so ones until we hit the jackpot (for us, Bette Hagman's recipe). Now I make pizza once a week, and everyone loves it!

Desserts and sweets are a lot easier to start with because you have all that other good stuff to add to the flavor, as opposed to bread. Chocolate chip cookies and brownies were the first things I could make well, and that gave me confidence to branch out.

Once you find things you like, you learn shortcuts - making up extra mixes to keep in the pantry, baking 2 pizza crusts so you can freeze one for later, having alternatives for the same thing that you can make in 5 minutes (microwave), 30 minutes, or 2 hours.

Happy baking (or not) and good luck to you.

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I do about 90% scratch baking.

I does take time and patience to figure it out. Dough and batter does not look or act the same. I have had a few things go from oven into the trash, but not too many.

I really enjoy gluten-free baking now, and see it as a challenge. I get many compliments from both my son (the only Celiac in the family) and all of the friends and family who help eat my cooking.

My recommendations:

Get a bunch of gluten-free cookbooks and thumb through them. Our local library has at least 10 different gluten-free cookbooks. Pick a couple of things to try. There are lots of cookbooks, and lots of flour mixes and strategies because people have different tastes. I found out, for example, pretty early on that everyone in our family hates the taste of bean flours. But they do help with texture, so for breads, etc I use just a tiny bit, like 1 tsp to a cup of other flour.

Figure out what food you miss the most, then search out different recipes, and see what works and what you like until you master it. For my son, it was pizza crust. We went through a lot of just so-so ones until we hit the jackpot (for us, Bette Hagman's recipe). Now I make pizza once a week, and everyone loves it!

Desserts and sweets are a lot easier to start with because you have all that other good stuff to add to the flavor, as opposed to bread. Chocolate chip cookies and brownies were the first things I could make well, and that gave me confidence to branch out.

Once you find things you like, you learn shortcuts - making up extra mixes to keep in the pantry, baking 2 pizza crusts so you can freeze one for later, having alternatives for the same thing that you can make in 5 minutes (microwave), 30 minutes, or 2 hours.

Happy baking (or not) and good luck to you.

I agree with starting with something easy such as brownies. Just take your regular yummy brownies and substitute gluten-free AP flour (I also add almond flour for great flavour) because the properties of the flour do not matter nearly as much as they would in yeast breads and so on.

There are lots of wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipes out there that are just as good as those that are gluten laden.

This is one of my favourites:

http://leitesculinaria.com/43464/writings-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

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I agree with starting with something easy such as brownies. Just take your regular yummy brownies and substitute gluten-free AP flour (I also add almond flour for great flavour) because the properties of the flour do not matter nearly as much as they would in yeast breads and so on.

There are lots of wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipes out there that are just as good as those that are gluten laden.

This is one of my favourites:

http://leitesculinaria.com/43464/writings-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

I'm not as worried about the chocolate chip cookies as I am about the DOUGH. I LOVE tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough and more often than not, I make them to eat the dough - the cookies are really just a by-product of my craving.

Unfortunately, I have these cookies that I absolutely adore (sandtarts). So much work goes into them that I just cannot afford to screw them up. Plus, not many people make them, so there's no gluten-free recipe that I've found. The problem I foresee with that cookie will be the rolling out and cutting process. They are supposed to be rolled out super thin, like a wheat thin. I'm not sure if gluten-free cookie dough would roll out well.

I've heard that about the bean flours (bad flavor). And I wouldn't even know what to do to replace them with since it seems each flour has it's own characteristics.

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I'm not as worried about the chocolate chip cookies as I am about the DOUGH. I LOVE tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough and more often than not, I make them to eat the dough - the cookies are really just a by-product of my craving.

Unfortunately, I have these cookies that I absolutely adore (sandtarts). So much work goes into them that I just cannot afford to screw them up. Plus, not many people make them, so there's no gluten-free recipe that I've found. The problem I foresee with that cookie will be the rolling out and cutting process. They are supposed to be rolled out super thin, like a wheat thin. I'm not sure if gluten-free cookie dough would roll out well.

I've heard that about the bean flours (bad flavor). And I wouldn't even know what to do to replace them with since it seems each flour has it's own characteristics.

I put a very small amount of bean flour into bread dough - I would never do that to cookies! A little Xanthan gum is enough to provide structure to a flat cookie, whereas a yeast bread needs a little more help to hold it together.

Here are a few of general tips for gluten-free cookies. Sorry I am not familiar with the sandtarts you mentioned.

When converting a non gluten-free recipe, I add a little more flour than it calls for; like for Tollhouse cookies, the recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups flour; I will add about 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour.

Instead of butter or margarine, I use 1/2 that and half butter-flavored Crisco.

You should refrigerate the dough before cooking to get it a little stiffer.

Both of these tips will help keep the cookies from spreading too much.

Regardless of the base gluten-free flour mix I am using, I normally add some sorghum flour when I am making cookies - it gives a subtle but excellent flavor.

My two new best friends for cookies: a baking stone and a Pampered Chef mini scoop. I have been using a baking stone for pizza for several years, then recently I got a rectangular one that I use for cookies and scones. They bake evenly and come off easily (after cooling). The scoop is a teaspoon size I think - that sounds really small, but by the time they spread it's about right. Smaller, uniform cookies look nice and they bake better.

If you don't have a cooking stone, or if you ever need to roll out dough, you should use parchment paper. gluten-free dough is so sticky, the parchment paper works miracles.

And in the off-chance that you have any dough left over, simply wrap it in plastic wrap (I usually roll it into a log) and freeze it. Then you can take it out and have fresh cookies (or dough) in just minutes. My daughter (not Celiac) is ALWAYS so helpful to taste-test my cookie dough a few times, just to be sure it is OK. We also have been known to add the cookie dough to ice cream.

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