For those of us that listen to Fresh Air on NPR, it was a joy to hear Terri Gross interview food experts about gluten-free cooking and baking.
Terri interviewed Jack Bishop and Julia Collin Davison of America’s Test Kitchen. They spent the last few years testing recipes and brands to find the best. It’s a great, informative show.
Click here to listen to the full story.
On common problems with gluten-free foods
Collin Davison: Gluten is kind of magical, and so when you take it out of the equation, you’re left with flours that can’t absorb liquid as well, they can’t absorb fat as well and they can’t trap those air bubbles that are really crucial for baked goods. So you wind up with things that are … very dense and squat; they’re often greasy and they crumble apart. They don’t have the binding structure of gluten.
On the best store-bought gluten-free flour
Collin Davison: The one that we found worked best universally — and that means in cookies, in bread dough, in biscuits, in muffins — was King Arthur Flour gluten-free blend. And it is very much like, actually, our recipe for gluten-free flour blend in that it uses two types of rice flours — white and brown — and it also uses two types of starches, which is potato and tapioca. And those four ingredients, we found, were really the magic key to finding a blend that worked almost as good as a wheat flour.
Here is one of the recipes from the book, for classic chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 8 ounces (13/4 cups) ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup packed) light brown sugar
- 2 1/3 ounces (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 7 1/2 ounces (11/4 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1. Whisk flour blend, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in large bowl until well combined and smooth. Whisk in egg, milk, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture with rubber spatula and mix until soft, homogeneous dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 30 minutes. (Dough will be sticky and soft.)
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 2 soupspoons and working with about 11/2 tablespoons of dough at a time, portion dough and space 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
3. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cookies are best eaten on day they are baked, but they can be cooled and placed immediately in airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.)