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a series of unfortunate events

3 June 2011

You know what they say about good intentions.

gluten-free muffin

A friend from the barn is gluten-free, and thus I seem to have made it my personal goal to make something that a) she can eat, and b) actually tastes good, whenever there’s a barn gathering. Something about forcing other people to accommodate my lack-of-animal-eating makes me feel compelled to cater to others’ food issues, or something. In any case, I started out with what is perhaps the simplest recipe imaginable: gluten-free girl’s almond butter cookies. Other than a vegan egg substitute, I should’ve been golden; even the whole cup of sugar didn’t faze me. But, of course, I can never leave well enough alone. So, rather than use an entire cup of almond butter, I decided to try the ol’ mixing-nut-butters-with-nut-milk trick, failing to factor in two important considerations: nut butter spread is far more, well, liquid, than nut butter alone; and the milk I used was homemade oat milk from oats that almost certainly weren’t certified gf. Plunging onward, I added the egg substitute, only to realize that the Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer I’d inexplicably chosen instead of my usual flax egg lists wheat gluten as ingredient number two. Oops.

What ensued was one of the more pathetic scenes ever (un)witnessed (good thing I live alone!), best described as me dumping my feelings into a bowl of cookie dough soup. Apparently my feelings consist of unmeasured quantities of sorghum flour, quinoa flour, flax meal, and tapioca starch. The resulting mess was still too soupy but oddly addictive — the only time I’ve ever used quinoa flour and enjoyed the taste of the uncooked dough. (Might have something to do with the aforementioned entire cup of sugar. . . .) That’s still sulking in the freezer, but I’ll bake ‘em up eventually. Or just eat the dough out of the bag with my hands when my feelings mirror their creation.

Next up were these muffins (pictured above). A few substitutions based on what I had/didn’t have: arrowroot for half the tapioca starch, flaxmeal for coconut flour, homemade oat milk for coconut milk (another thing about me is I just don’t learn), brown rice syrup for molasses, no cream of tartar. They came out too crumbly and the tops had a slightly funky aftertaste that is almost certainly the result of my substitutions and/or old baking soda. This was also the point where I spilled half my remaining bag of sorghum flour on the floor. Sigh.

almond butter cookies

third time's the charm?

Another thing about me, though, is that I don’t know when to quit. Usually this results in disaster, but every once in a while it pays off with crispy-chewy-golden-almondbuttery perfection. Like these cookies:

Almond butter cookies
(adapted from Gluten-Free Girl)

1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup natural chunky almond butter
pinch salt (omit if using salted almond butter)
1/4-1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tbsp flaxmeal + 1 1/2 tbsp warm water, wisked
1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream together sugar and almond butter; add salt; add flax egg; add baking powder. Stir to the best of your ability without any sort of fancy mixing equipment (or, you know, your fancy kitchenaid, if you’ve got one). Scoop in half-tablespoonfuls and bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. They’ll seem underdone, but they harden up considerably as they cool.

almond butter cookies

I halved the recipe, subbed flax egg for real egg, used organic cane juice, and halved the baking powder. I also added some almond meal to bring it all together (mine was homemade almond meal, or rather not-particularly-finely-ground almonds.) The baking powder bit was an accident, but a happy one: the cookies spread out a bit on the pan, achieving a beautiful florentine-esque chewy+crispy texture. The coarser-grained organic sugar resulted in little air pockets of caramelized perfection. Divine.

cookie bottom

an underbelly: check out that caramelization!

These are definitely a bring-to-events-for-others-to-eat rather than a store-in-the-freezer-for-emergencies kinda treat, what with all that sugar and almond butter, but man oh man are they delicious.

Tomorrow: the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. Seriously.

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