I often like to attack vegan recipe challenges with gusto, spearing my spatula into the air while whisking a flax egg like a crazy person. However, as much as I like to consider myself a fearless vegan baker, there is one type of baking that makes me shake in my boots: Gluten-free baking.
I was recently asked to participate in a gluten-free and vegan recipe challenge with a group of bloggers, organized by Marly. The challenge is to create a gluten-free, vegan baked good, which will be appearing on our blogs on June 30th.
Fear set in.
Questions began to swirl through my mind.
Vegan…and gluten-free?…ahhhh! Would my oven burst into flames protesting the task? Would my husband disown me if I brought home one more ingredient from the grocery store?
Naturally, I hit reply and said I would love to participate. There would be no shaking in my apron allowed!
Given that the deadline is June 30th, I thought I would use the next few weeks to ‘get my toes wet’ with gluten-free baking. The recipe that I agreed to make for the challenge is a muffin recipe, but I decided to start with a cookie because it was ‘fail-proof’.
I think you know where this is going…heh.
I picked up Bob’s Red Mill All-purpose GF flour from the Superstore. I already had some Xanthan Gum, which has been collecting dust in my cupboard for about 2 years (it was originally purchased at Bulk Barn).
I was now armed to make GF and vegan baking magic happen! whohoo.
Mistake #1: Assuming that I could play around with a gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe….
Recipe called for too much oil.
Less oil, more applesauce, duh.
Too much sugar.
Less sugar, more…something, duh.
Uh oh, the batter is too wet.
More GF flour, duh.
As you can see, I’m a scientist in the kitchen.
Well, it wasn’t pretty. The batter- for lack of a better description- was like the coating on a worm. Glossy, and elastic. Not cool.
Mistake #2: I figured the oven could fix mistake #1.
The timer started to beep and I ran into the kitchen with nervous anticipation. I opened the door and saw a sight that no cookie lover should ever witness…
Mushy & puffy chocolate chip cookies that even Eric refused to touch. And this is coming from a man who would probably eat worms if they were covered in chocolate. I wouldn’t even go as far to say that they were ‘cake-like’ or ‘muffin-like’; they did not deserve such accolades.
‘Puffy cookie mush’ is all I can tell you.
And what the heck is going on with the cookie on the right? It looks like it exploded chocolate chips!
Alas, it might take me a few days to work up my GF and vegan baking courage again!
Fortunately, there’s always a vegan recipe that never lets me down. Ok, that was a lie.
It rarely lets me down…
That would be the Green Monster of course. A delight to the taste buds. A thank-you to the body. A reason why you should always check your teeth and green moustache before going out in public!
I knew today was going to be a hot one, so I set out for a 4-mile run just after sunrise. Before leaving for a morning run, I typically have 1/2 a banana for a bit of fuel. After the run, I did a sweaty 7-minute Whittle My Middle session (KILLER!) and then I made breakfast- a Cherry Banana Green Monster made up of 1 cup non-dairy milk, 1/2 cup frozen cherries, 1 frozen banana, 2 handfuls spinach, protein powder, and 1 tbsp chia seeds.
Lately, I’ve been adding Nature’s Path Kamut puff cereal for fun. This is the good kind of puff. Those cookies were not.
[FYI- My Chilled No Bake Double Chocolate Torte is vegan and gluten-free if you are looking for a successful GF + vegan dessert recipe.]
Now, this whole challenge has me curious- do I have many gluten-free readers out there?
Have you ever tried gluten-free baking? Do you have any tips for me?
I have about 20 days to get my act together…or bust!
Coconut flour absorbs lots of moisture and chia seeds act as a binding agent. I love the gluten-free baking at www.thespunkycoconut.com
I’ve made gluten-free (though not vegan) cupcakes! I use a combination of brown rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch, works wonderfully! Also–I heard it’s best to keep xanthum gum in the fridge :)
I love your blog and have been following for months! Your photos and writing are simply inspirational. I have dabbled in both vegan and gluten free baking, and a combination of the two. Here is one recipe that I made that turned out okay http://onechicchickpea.blogspot.com/2011/04/from-basil-patch.html. It might work better with Earth Balance buttery but unfortunately that isn’t available here in Australia.
Good luck with the challenge :)
I’ve been gluten free since the beginning of the year and I’ve been experimenting a lot on my blog. I also try to avoid xantham gum. I find that a mixture of half blanched almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill works fine for me) and half GF flour mix (I love King Arthur’s Flour mix) is an easy place to start replacing the wheat flour in any given recipe. I’m particularly proud of my grain-free chocolate chip cookies, although they’re not vegan (http://thereseandross.blogspot.com/2011/05/best-grain-free-chocolate-chip-cookies.html). Even my skepitcal husband inhales them with me!
All of my baking is gluten-free and most of it is vegan. It’s a lot of fun, once you get the hang of it. Feel free to peruse my recipes – lots of cookie recipes – to see if they spark any ideas for you.
I avoid GF all purpose flours and stick with coconut and almond flour most of the time, with a bit of millet, sorghum, and amaranth. Although for muffins, I’d probably go with a mixture of 1/3 each sorghum, sweet rice flour, and arrowroot starch (by weight) – not the mostly densely nutritious combo, but generally an easy to use combo for muffins & cakes.
I’m a gluten free reader and gluten free baking even scares me! I am a chef, not a baker!
I’m gluten free! I also like the idea of eating more vegan foods, but being gluten free AND vegan scares me…what do I eat if I go out?
Luckily gluten free baking does get easier with time (I know which flours to use for which purposes now!), but I’ve made my fair share of slimy battered puff cookies too!
The San Francisco Chronicle just did a profile on a local vegan, gluten-free baker with some helpful tips that you might find interesting: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/05/FD6Q1JJR9P.DTL.
I’m currently doing a 21 day vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, caffeine-less cleanse. It’s day 8. I am DYING for a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I eagerly look forward to your success in this recipe challenge!
I should note that going into this challenge, I wasn’t vegan – or even vegetarian! It’s been an adjustment for sure, but I’m really pleasantly surprised by how good the food has been. Your website has been a huge help! Thanks so much for doing what you do! :)
Wow kudos to you Joy!
Wow, I’ve thought about going gluten free just to see if it has any effect on my body, but after reading through most of these comments, it seems like a lot of work! Will be interesting to see what you come up with!
welcome to gluten free baking ;) we have been through too many to count chocolate chip cookie recipes. We feel like scientist in the kitchen all the time, sometimes it is fun and others very frustrating. The thing we have realized with gluten free vegan baking is using different things for taste and texture. If you need any help, we are here to help :)
My niece has to watch her gluten intake so my sister in law makes bread for her. She finds that every time she makes bread it is a new adventure. Sometimes it works and sometimes there are massive holes in the bread. It is a constant experiment so have fun!
Don’t be scared, Angela! Your amazing! I made a GF version of your Rustic Banana Oat cake and it was SUPERB :)
Kudos to you for trying! I’ve recently decided to get some blood testing done to see if I have celiac. Even if the results come back negative (as is common, I hear) I’m going to attempt a gluten-free diet to see if it clears up my problems. I’m a little nervous yet excited to attempt my own gluten-free baking. I would love to see more from you! I always enjoy your recipes.
Well… they look slightly delicious. ;) I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it! I’m excited to read the success post! And that Green Monster looks DELICIOUS. Thanks for sharing that bad boy! xo
Based on the number of comments before mine, I am sure you’ve probably already heard any advice I can give you. But my first advice is: DON”T use the AP-GF flour from Bob’s! As much as I love all their other stuff, I hated the all purpose mix. Didn’t work for me, either. Find a blog you like and use THEIR all-purpose mix (of course I love the one on my own blog, but I’ve found others that are good, too, on other GF blogs). First, I’d make a few recipes that were designed gluten free, THEN begin to play with your own. GF baking is very temperamental! I reworked the choc chip cookies from Sweet Freedom as a GF version (recipe on my blog) and they worked very well. Not identical to the original, but good. Time and practise!! :)
I had a very similar experience with my first gluten free cookies! Every flour is SO different (almond flour and coconut flour are my favorite). A bit of advice: stick to a flour and work it until you’ve figured out the math behind it. Making things gluten free and vegan is SO great once you master it! It feels so good!
You can replace xanthum gum with ground flax seed or chia seed (great for people that are sensitive to the gums). I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I make loads of vegan + gluten free recipes, so if you have any questions while you go through a recipe, I’d be more than willing to help!
I live for gluten free and vegan treats! I love making them. Too bad this didn’t work for you but I’m sure the next one will
Is it sad that I would probably still eat those cookies? I’ve never attempted anything gluten free and I am super impressed that you are even trying! It intimidates me, quite frankly. Also, I have a GM every day! So delicious, so easy and so refreshing.
I have been following your blog for the past few months but this is my first time posting a comment. I’ll start by saying that I love your site. I have tried several of your recipes and they were great!
Although I am not gluten intolerant, I do try to stay away from wheat in baking for variety and to give my body access to other nutrients. There are tons of great GF sites out there. I tend to like the ones that focus on healthy GF baking with natural sweeteners and moderate amounts of fats. I highly recommend The Spunky Coconut as mentioned by another poster. Diet, Dessert, and Dogs is also great. As for GF flours and gums, check out this awesome and very informative post by Gluten Free Girl: http://glutenfreegirl.com/gluten-free-whole-grain-muffins/
Keep up the great work. I’m sure you’ll come up with a fabulous recipe!
I needed to make some vegan gluten free muffins for a friend who had been diagnosed with coeliac disease
In the Uk I found some good sites including www.allrecipes.co.uk they had fab apple and cinnammon muffins which have been such a hit they are now made regularly
Good Luck with the challenge ! :)
Hey! Just thought I’d share; I love following your blog, and will be trying your “green monster” recipes this summer! My brother shared a super simple recipe with me that I love to make after my gym sessions. All you need in frozen blueberries, unsweetened almond milk, cocoa powder, and agave!
I just dump blueberries in the blender — enough to fill about a third of it, fill about 2/3 of the blender with almond milk, add a tablespoon of cocoa powder, and agave (or some substitute) to taste.
It’s SO refreshing, and one blender lasts me about three or four workouts! (It’s also a nice boost in the mornings — filling and I feel really good!)
I recently discovered that I have a gluten intolerance. Celiac runs in my family so I guess it’s not surprising that I have a hard time digesting the good stuff (ie. bread with gluten.) While gluten free products have come a long way in taste, nothing compares to good ol’ regular bread! I mean really, there’s something wrong with going to Panera and not being able to order bread ;) I look forward to any Gluten Free recipes you may post in the future!
HAHAHA MOST of my cookies come out like that (GF or not… I have a hard time with vegan cookies.)
Try to bake something with almond or coconut flower, that’s how I do this in the Netherlands :-)
The almond flower can be used to bake great muffins!
Good luck Angela! You can do this! I am also a cookie lover and nothing makes me more upset than when a cookie recipe flops and turns out puffy. I hate puffy cookies!
GF reader here and yes, I have made many batches of FAILS. I like to look at the flour mixtures at glutenfreegirl.com because she and the chef know what they are doing!
Good luck and I cant wait to see what yumminess you come up with!
I’m so excited that your tackling gluten-free baking! I would recommend avoiding any packaged GF all-purpose flour mixtures because they typically contain bean flours, which have a really metallic taste (and ruin tasting the batter!). joyoushealth.ca has some really good ideas for gluten free baking: that’s how I got started!
I am a gluten free vegan baker. It is a challenge, but if you start with a gluten free baking book and then replace the butter and eggs as such then you will have success…I make a really good oatmeal, cranberry, raisin, and walnut cookie. Super Yum!
I’m vegan and gluten free and have had great success with a lot of your recipes. I automatically reach for gluten free flour and xanthum. The recipes may not come out as pretty as yours but they’re edible! Also, I use gluten free oats for the morning glow oatmeal which has made a huge difference in life! I know you’ll do great on this challenge. You haven’t let us down yet!!
Darn, my last blog was all about gluten-free, vegan baking! Oh well. What I will say is that you don’t really need the guar gums and xanthum gums. It’s one of those odd habits/assumptions that it’s necessary in gluten-free baking. And, i think others have mentioned, it’s best to make your own flour blend although I always use a shop-bought blend. Gluten-free Girl (.com) has loads of tips on gluten-free baking and vegan tips. What else… when following a normal vegan baking recipe the only thing I alter is the amount of flour- I tend to use slightly less (perhaps about 1/4 cup less). Also, it may be best to work with metric measurements rather than cups (if you don’t already).
Hope this helps! xxx
Oof! Gluten free! This was a college assignment for 2 weeks. I managed to break up with my long-term boyfriend (who I’m happily with again) and get a walking pneumonia during the assignment. I was strong (as I could be) and stuck with it though!!
RUN away from Bob’s GF Flour…yuck. It’s the most prevalent out there, but also one of the worst.
I think Pamela’s is very good and tasty (Great pancakes!), but I think King Arthur’s GF Flour is GREAT. I made Chocolate Chip cookies with it and my friend’s didn’t realize they were GF – it’s come closest to tasting like “normal” baked goods.
i agree to check out elana’s pantry (just bought the honeywell almound flour she recommends) for recipes and also gluten free girl and the chef. She actually advises adding the gum to her recipes and I have yet to have to purchase that pricey ingredient.
I’m not gluten free but I do like to try some recipes, when I have the time.
I have to say that I really like your photos lately, the edge looks so pretty :)
I’m not gluten free but I do like to try some recipes, when I have the time.
I have to say that I really like your photos lately, the edge looks so pretty :)
Hahahaha, I have a green monster every day and you are so right about checking your teeth!Flossing is not optional!
The Jews call it Passover! It’s not a fun holiday for baked goods. Lots of chocolate and “flourless” cakes. Good luck, but nice to see that even you don’t always get it right on the first try. :) I’m sure you know but Gluten Free Girl is mostly baked things. She works on the proportions over and over.
I’m gluten-free vegan and agree that GFV baking it is a whole new learning curve! I try to stick to the recipes as much as possible and even then they don’t come out perfect 100% of the time. Would love it if you develop a cupcake recipe — I’m always looking for cupcake recipes that I can eat along with my family.
wow I can’t wait for the updates Angela! eeekkkk. haha mushy and pushy? I think I’d still eat it though!
I seriously can not wait to see what you come up with! I know it will be so good! I was wandering though, what protein do you use? I am experimenting with different plant based ones and was wandering what you like?
I, too, avoid the pre-mixed GF flours – the bean flour has a funky texture that I don’t like. I mix my own with rice, sorghum, tapioca & a little xantham gum. Different products, different flours. (Though it seems a real mix of people that use, or don’t use the x-gum) :)
Another great resource is Averie’s Love Veggies and Yoga http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com
I went gluten free about 6 years ago. The learning curve for baking is a bit steep and daunting. Most packaged stuff tastes like cardboard. I don’t keep Guar gum or Xanthum gum in the pantry. But do stock almond meal (from Bulk Barn), rice flour, and coconut flour on hand at all times. Cookies = almond and / or rice flour
Cakes / cupcakes / muffins = almond or coconut flour
And then there are a variety of frozen desserts you can make, similar to your amazing Double Chocolate Torte (no bake version).
I bake gluten-free, vegan cookies on a weekly basis for the guys that I work with and none of them have ever been able to tell the difference between those and the regular ones that I used to make. I would even go as far as to say that they are a little better than the regular ones? Especially if you like a soft, chewy cookie that stays that way. All I do is use a regular cookie recipe and swap out the ingredients, gluten-free flour +1/4 tsp xantham gum per cup of GF flour, 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water per egg, and vegan “butter” (like Earth Balance) instead of regular butter. Of course this doesn’t make them any healthier, but hopefully it will help! Good luck, can’t wait to see how they turn out!
I have had some success using quinoa flour. Everyone LOVED the brownies I made with it for Passover. The recipe (on my blog) has eggs, but I am sure you could make them vegan.
I’m technically allergic to wheat, so I sometimes try to make things with alternate flours. I’ve found that for things with less flour, subbing rice flour or another alternate flour works, but with high-flour things like bread and cookies it’s better to look for an actual recipe from King Arthur Flour. I’ve never baked vegan cookies before. Check out my blog, Beautiful Busy Bee. Thanks!
One of my favorite components of a rich, yummy, GF cookie is definitely coconut flour. It is so fantastic. A friend of mine is GF and she actually made coconut flour bread, which was amazing also. I learned about coconut flour from this blog: http://www.cheeseslave.com/
If you go into the recipes section, I am sure you’ll be able to find a lot of inspiration. :)
I have tried many of your recipes gluten free! For example, the banana bomb muffins! I really like to use Pamela’s Baking Mix as my flour substitute, but I supposed that might count as cheating! Also, oat flour is wonderful for cookies.
Wow that is cool!
My husband has celiac, so I’ve been experimenting a lot. I’ve had some success with the Gems of Gluten Free Baking cookbook and my mother-in-law came across a good bread recipe for the bread maker. In recipes that don’t need to rise, we’ve found that substituting brown rice flour works pretty well.
Have fun experimenting!
Hi Angela, I’m allergic to dairy and my husband to gluten so all of my cooking and baking is gluten and dairy free (not necessarily vegan, though). I personally don’t like bob’s gf baking mix because of the bean flours they use. I can taste them and they don’t really sit well. I keep a mixture of 6 parts rice/2 parts potato/1 part tapioca flour on hand to substitute whenever flour is called for. It works great in cookies. To make it vegan, the ground flax and water trick works too. Good muffin recipes are found in the Babycakes cookbook. Bob’s baking mix would work well in muffins as long as you add enough other flavors (cinnamon, candied ginger?) to cover the beany taste. Good luck!
This makes me so excited! I just started a vegan, gluten-free cleanse this week (which is also sugar-free, caffeine-free, and alcohol-free). In an effort to chronicle my journey, I’ve been writing a blog and have told all my readers about you — how I have been following you religiously and using many of your recipes! Although the cleanse is only supposed to last two weeks, I love the way I’m feeling, and can see myself continuing to eat like this for a while. I would die for a gluten-free vegan feature, especially with something sweet!