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Dec 13, 2008 10:16 AM

favorite gluten-free holiday baking recipes?

I'm newly gluten-free, and just learning to play with the new flours. So far I've had several duds and one blazing success. Have any of you GF folks developed new holiday traditions with your baked goods? I'm especially interesting in coming up with a GF version of my favorite ginger spice cookie (from and in mastering a pumpkin cake (my first attempt was super wet and it fell).

Thank you!

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  1. Joy of Cooking has a wheat free gingerbread recipe...who knew?( my old one don't know about recent releases)
    I picked up a magazine recently "living without" that has very solid reciipes and this issue is holiday baking and flour blends. (Mag is aimed at GF and celiacs, online version I believe without as much info)
    Without the gluten protein the flours we are using lack the structure to stay risen. Extra eggs in recipes sometimes add back some protein structure - but Xanthum gum is a must. Once you ass that in - you 'll start getting some edible results. Small amout will do you though!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: coastie

      coastie's right - Living Without is a terrific resource.

      i don't usually do cookies, but i created a new GF ginger spice cake for Thanksgiving that got raves all around, and none of the people who ate it were GF...

      and the crust from my Cranberry Chocolate recipe worked beautifully with a Pumpkin Pie last week...

      you can also search the boards for the terms GF, gluten-free and celian and see if anything pops up. there's a core group of us who tend to populate the GF posts - me, lgss, allieinbklyn, autmommy, elanaspantry, Emme, julseydesign, and mom22tots...just to name a few :) so keep your eyes open for our recipes.

      also, check out some of the GF blogs on the web, there are some really good ones.

    2. For your cookie recipe, is it this one?

      For 2 cups of flour for a relatively chewy cookie, I would use 3/4 c. gluten free flour of choice (I would use oat if you can, teff for a strong flavored cookie, sorghum or millet, but most use brown or white rice), 1/4 c. sweet rice flour, 3/4 c. starch (potato or corn), and 1/4 c. tapioca to start with. The sweet rice and tapioca give chew. Add 1-2 t. of xanthan gum for more structure and chew.

      For cake, it depends on how light I want it. I tend to reduce sweet rice or tapioca in cakes, because I prefer crumbly to chewy. I make pumpkin muffins, and my flour mix varies, but usually about 1/2 - 3/4 whole grain flours for nutrition and the rest split between potato or corn starch and tapioca.

      The other tip I got from goodhealthgourmet is to measure by weight. I now substitute using my scale, basically 4.5 oz. of gluten free flour mixture to 1 cup of flour in a recipe. I keep flour around to adjust as necessary, but it usually works. Sometimes, my first attempt bakes up a bit dry, but we work with it. I LOVE using almond meal I get at Trader Joes and sometimes coconut flour. I always measure those by volume and not weight - I get better results that way personally.

      When using rice flour, Asian rice flour (not sweet) tends to be more finely ground than other rice flour and reduces grittiness factor. I prefer not to use too much rice flour in pie crusts, because I odn't like the grit.

      A few recipes that are naturally GF - chocolate almond cakes, flourless chocolate cakes, mousses and custards, candies, orange almond cake (Nigella has one with Clementines people like), pistachio cake (Claude Roden has one you can find online), Jacque Pepin has a recipe for a chestnut torte, which is flour free and very rich . Meringues, dacquoise cakes (martha stewart has a chocolate one I believe on her website).

      Buche de Noel are very easy to make gluten-free, because the roulade uses very little flour. Same with the pumpkin roll recipes or sponge cakes in general work well.

      And brownies I think are super easy to make gluten free. Even pate choux (cream puffs) work gluten free.

      This year, I think I am going to make an old fashioned gingerbread with almond flour, and whatever GF flour I can get while traveling, baked with pears and cranberries at the bottom. Served with caramel ice cream if I can find a decent one, or find an ice cream maker to make some.

      1. Hiya, you can find a GF gingerbread cookie recipe here:

        ... and some pumpkin crunch muffins here (which I'm sure could be adapted for a cake):

        There are other recipes as well, and they add new ones a couple of times a year. Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kpzoo

          it's VERY important to note that those recipes from Cream Hill Estates require certified GF oats. regular oats are not GF and can make gluten-intolerant people pretty sick. in fact, even the GF oats can be problematic for very sensitive individuals.

          however, if you're using GF oat products and you can tolerate them, those recipes sound great!

        2. I'm GF (and vegan). I made sweet potato, cranberry, pecan bread last night for breakfast this morning as well as for extended family over Thanksgiving. I used the recipe from ExtraVeganZa, substituted gf flour and added xanthan gum. We use Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread cookbook by Bette Hagman year-round. Made the peanut butter apple muffins for extended family at Thanksgiving gathering and they were a hit.

          For the ginger spice cookies you would just need to replace the flour with GF flour. We use various combinations of millet flour, quinoa flour, garbanzo flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, amaranth flour, etc which we grind ourselves in the VitaMix or a small spice/coffee grinder. Generally best to use a combo rather than 3 cups of all the same one. Add 1 tsp of xanthan gum per up to 3 cups of GF flour.

          1. Vetter, i meant to ask you about your "blazing success." what was it? when i first went GF, i discovered that it's really beneficial to use successes as learning tools...when something works, look at other recipes to which it might potentially apply for successful modification.

            4 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              You guys are the best. This really means a lot to me.

              Goodhealthgourmet, my success was, of all things, just a cake that used Pamela's baking mix--and I didn't even realize the Pamela's mix already had leavening. I used this carrot cake recipe: and replaced the flour with the Pamela's flour mix. I doubled up the rising agents, but it didn't seem to matter, as it was absolutely delicious. I did up the cinnamon a bit and added some pumpkin pie spice mix. I also used about 3/4 cup of well drained crushed pineapple.

              It was just a gorgeous, softly textured cake, not dense at all. I'm the only sweets eater in my house, so I sliced up half of the frosted cake and put slices on waxed paper in the freezer. When the frosting was frozen, I wrapped the slices up snugly and put them in a ziploc. They defrosted beautifully.

              1. re: Vetter

                i can't attest to the packaged baking mixes as i've never used one, but i know a lot of people have had success with them. i'm glad it worked for you - makes you feel as though going GF doesn't have to mean giving up all the things you love, right?

                i will say that if you have the desire, it's really worth the effort to create your own flour blends and modify your own recipes. while you may waste some ingredients in the beginning [hey, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet], it's ultimately more economical than buying packaged mixes, and there's something very satisfying about tackling & overcoming this particular challenge.

                good luck, and feel free to post about any other questions or challenges you encounter along the way. and of course we want to hear about your successes as well!

                you know where to find us :)

                1. re: Vetter

                  Hi there. I havent been on this site in a while, so i missed all these posts on GF baking. I just did a search to see if anyone was talking about holiday baking, to get some ideas myself. Tonight I plan to make some GF rugelach, which I have never made before, and i'll let you know how they go.

                  I'm glad you has success with the carrot cake recipe. Cakes with fruit or veggies (such as carrot) tend to be really great in GF form. The moisture content of the added ingredients really helps to abate any graininess that might occur. If you want to experiment in the realm of fruit or veggie cakes/ breads, its a good place to start. Simply Recipes has a good pumpkin bread that adapts well. Then there's date/nut, zucchini, banana, apple coffee cake, etc. to start you off.

                  Also, i recently bought Trader Joe's GF brownie mix. I made cookies with it as per instructions on the side of the bag. I added a little extra cocoa powder, some chinese five spice, some ginger, and some walnuts. They were some of the best cookies i've ever eaten. Even the non GF folk liked these. I recommend them.

                  1. re: Vetter

                    Gluten Free Date Bars

                    1/4 Cup melted butter, cooled
                    1 cup granulated sugar
                    1/2 cup Wendy Wark’s Flour
                    2 cups chopped/pitted dates
                    1/4 tsp Xanthan gum
                    1 cup chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts
                    2 eggs, well beaten
                    1/8 tsp salt

                    Combine all ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a well greased 9 x 9 baking dish.
                    Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until “toothpick” moisture test proves positive and toothpick comes out almost dry. Be careful not to over-bake.
                    Cool in pan, cut into bars and place on plate of confectioner’s sugar. Roll bars in the confectioner’s sugar and enjoy ...