I made my first venture into gluten-free baking this weekend. I find the whole gluten-free craze to be largely nonsense, especially when people would ask us in the meat department if a steak was “gluten-free”. However, a friend has muscular dystrophy and prefers to avoid gluten. I had been curious on how the flours worked so this gave me a chance to do some experimenting.
I made my meat pies with a gluten free flour mix from King Arthur and modified their recipe (which also calls for xanthan gum and their clear gel product) for their pie crust by leaving out 1 tablespoon of sugar and adding a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to it. It worked better than I thought it would, with the only minor problem being a little cracking of the dough as I folded it over the meat filling. I may add a bit of water next time I make these to compensate for that. I did use my tortilla press on the flour and it worked just as well as it did with the regular dough.
I baked the pies for about 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven, 10 minutes uncovered and 15 minutes with a sheet of aluminum foil over them to prevent over browning. Some of the gravy did leak out of them but they were very good, with a nice flake to the crust. I had also made some pies with the regular crust I use and everyone said that the gluten free ones were just about as good.
I also made a gluten free version of our chocolate chip toffee cookies, and used a recipe from King Arthur. These did have a different texture, more like a shortbread, but they tasted the same. As usual, I substituted toffee chips for half of the chocolate chips. The gluten free cookies do not flatten and spread out like the regular type, so I recommend flattening the balls of cookie dough so they cook faster and more evenly.
I still prefer the regular flour versions but if you can’t eat gluten, or don’t want to, these are a very good substitute.