we receive requests for recipes for low-fat, gluten-free baked
goods. Our intent at Glutenfreeda.com is to provide gluten-free
recipes that yield spectacular results results that
are virtually indistinguishable from gluten-containing foods.
Once diagnosed so many people are thrown into a world of unidentifiable
gluten-free foods which taste nothing like what they were
accustomed to, and often this leads to a period of depression.
After all who wants to eat sub-standard food and for the rest
of their lives? The people around them (as in their families)
certainly dont! This is the cycle we, at Glutenfreeda.com,
strive to break. After years of recipe development we discovered
how to make gluten-free food taste great again, virtually
indistinguishable from the foods we all enjoyed before diagnosis
of Celiac Disease. Glutenfreeda.coms recipes have been
tested on many people both with Celiac and without
and all are amazed that the food is gluten-free. Our
focus is, and will continue to be, on gourmet, gluten-free
foods that everyone will enjoy.
Gourmet, however, does not always mean "low-fat".
We understand this sometimes does not always meet the needs
of some people. That is why several years ago we created a
category in our recipe index for low fat recipes. Perhaps
you may have noticed that the amount of low-fat baked goods
is not as in-depth as it could be. There is a reason for this
again the recipes we offer, including our baked goods,
must pass the test before they are added to the recipe index.
The test is this: Does this taste gluten-free? If the answer
is yes, then we go back to the drawing board.
Unfortunately when it comes to baking gluten-free
there are several modifications that need to be made in order
to avoid that all-to-familiar gritty, dry or crumbly characteristic
of gluten-free baked goods. A fundamental modification is
the addition of fat. When I say fat I mean butter or oil.
It is very difficult to completely remove or drastically decrease
the fat in a baked good recipe without sacrificing the texture
or taste particularly with gluten-free foods. Its
much easier to remove the fat from entrees, pastas and so
forth. But baking is different. Even baking with "wheat",
for instance removing the fat has an impact on the
final outcome. Professional bakers quake at the thought of
attempting to change the chemistry of a cake or other baked
good. Quite right they are to quake, too, for the less-than-precise
baker can end up with a doughy mess and ultimately a huge
case of disappointment.
All is not lost, however. This month we
would like to offer some answers to the most common questions
we receive on this topic. This months class will focus
on what changes you can make and which need more careful consideration.
Below you will also find two fabulous recipes that are low
in fat and absolutely delicious! We hope you enjoy!!
Frequently asked questions on low-fat,
- What does sugar do in gluten-free baked
- Why are butter and eggs necessary in
- Why cant you replace all the eggs
in baking with an egg substitute?
- Why does Glutenfreeda.com use The Gluten-Free
Pantrys flour mix?
- What difference does the way you measure
- Why cant you use applesauce or
fruit puree to minimize the fat in a recipe?
- What difference does it make to use sugar
substitutes instead of sugar?
What does sugar do in gluten-free baked
Sugar caramelizes during the baking process,
which enriches the flavors. Substituting with even as little
as a tablespoon of corn syrup can make cookies much browner
than perhaps you desire. Some sugars, however, like honey
and brown sugar, absorb moisture from the atmosphere, which
means that things baked with them will stay moist longer
a definite bonus for gluten-free baked goods.
are butter and eggs necessary in cakes?
Butter has several essential roles in baking
- To make the cake light and delicate by
holding air bubbles produced by leaveners like baking soda
and/or baking powder
- To make the cake tender and moist
- To make the cake rich with flavor
have found that it is critical with gluten-free flours to
have the addition of butter when baking. Without it or if
you minimize it too much you end up with a gritty outcome.
Margarine and shortening can substitute
for butter. In fact, shortening is already aerated before
you buy it so it can produce a nice tender cake but
the flavor wont be quite as rich. Margarine cannot be
substituted for butter if it is soft or at room temperature.
Eggs have two parts the whites and
the yolks. Each has their own job in baking. The whites are
a drying and leavening agent and the yolks are the emulsifiers
which contribute to creamier textures. With gluten-free baking
there are times, when developing or modifying a recipe that
the addition of an egg will actually help compensate for the
lack of gluten and help the cake, muffin or quick bread rise
as it should.
cant you replace all the eggs in baking with an egg
Egg substitutes are usually made up of egg
whites and oil along with other ingredients like food coloring.
Be careful to read the labels if you are using egg substitutes
to make sure they do not contain gluten (as a filler). Because
egg substitutes dont have yolks, they cant serve
as emulsifiers. The natural lecithin in the yolks is what
helps make that emulsion.
The lack of yolks is the reason you cant
use egg substitutes to make custards either. Without yolks
custards lack that creamy characteristic that makes them a
If you want to reduce the cholesterol in
your baked goods you can use fewer yolks and more egg whites
(as in both recipes below), but do this with caution. If you
eliminate too many egg yolks your run the risk of losing out
on that emulsification that they contribute which is critical
in gluten-free baking.
Why does Glutenfreeda.com use The Gluten-Free
Pantrys flour mix?
Glutenfreeda.com several years ago discovered
that using The
Gluten Free Pantrys Country French bread mix flour
was the easy answer to gluten-free baking. When I say "easy"
I mean it was a solution to the gluten-free flour question
that didnt require playing food chemist and devising
a wheat flour substitution and in the end we feel it is actually
a lower cost solution or if nothing else, equal cost (without
having to do the work) of purchasing 3-6 bags of various gluten-free
flours, stabilizers and so forth. And it is the best gf flour
we have come across that consistently achieves the results
we are looking for (remember the indistinguishable foods I
mentioned earlier?). In addition, this product contains crystallized
honey which we feel is one of the reasons it does behave
so well. (Unfortunately crystallized honey is difficult to
find on a retail level.) In this case it is the crystallized
honey that absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and helps
contribute to a moister product and helps prevent the outcome
from being gritty and crumbly.
What difference does the way you measure
The way you measure your flour makes a tremendous
difference as much an ounce per cup of flour. When
fat is reduced in baking, the exact and precise measurement
of flour becomes critical. When measuring out your flour first
stir the flour to aerate it, then lightly spoon the flour
into a dry measuring cup and level it with the back of a knife.
It is also important to note that if you are using The Gluten-Free
Pantrys flour do not sift it. The crystallized honey
is like a small granule and if you sift it, you remove the
honey which as stated before we feel contributes to
the quality of the gf flour.
Why cant you use applesauce or
fruit puree to minimize the fat in a recipe?
From a pure standpoint of reducing fat,
often you will find that substituting applesauce or fruit
puree doesnt really work again, if you are trying
to achieve a product that is indistinguishable from the gluten-variety.
In our opinion most baked products made with fruit purees
have an inferior texture and taste. We have had better success
by either simply reducing the fat or if looking to add more
moisture to the recipe, utilizing a low-fat sour cream, buttermilk
or yogurt (again always check with the manufacture to make
sure that the product you are using is gluten-free!).
difference does it make to use sugar substitutes instead of
A big difference! Sugar is a key ingredient
in baking, providing structure and mass in many desserts.
Lets just look at a cake, for instance. If you substituted
artificial sweetener for sugar, you would lose the volume
that sugar contributes, and the cake batter would not have
enough substance to become a cake. Also the taste and texture
of sugar substitutes often change during the baking process.
Hopefully we have answered some of your
questions regarding low-fat, baking and particularly gluten-free,
low-fat baking. It is a fine balance between reducing fat
and yet still maintaining the integrity of the recipe. Perhaps
the answers to the questions above will help you understand
the chemistry which will lead to more educated decisions in
the kitchen for example when and where to cut or reduce
the fat content, sugar or eggs. This month wed like
to share two delicious low-fat, gluten-free recipes that take
into account many of the points above. We hope you enjoy:
Chocolate Turtle Cake
(Makes 1 8-inch cake)
For the cake:
- 1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon gf flour
- 1-1/2 cups boiling water
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1-2/3 cup gf flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons fat-free milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup 1% milk
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
Make the Cake:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
Prepare cake pans by coating the bottom of each cake
pan lightly with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Line the
bottoms with parchment paper. Lightly grease the tops
of the parchment paper and dust with 1 tablespoon of
|Step 2: Combine the boiling water with
the cocoa powder; stirring well with a whisk to incorporate.
Let cool completely.
|Step 3: Place the granulated
sugar, 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter and vanilla in
the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a hand-held
mixer); beat at medium speed until well blended, about
5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after
|Step 4: Place the gf flour, baking
soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir well with
|Step 5: Add the flour mixture and cocoa
mixture to the sugar mixture starting and ending with
the flour mixture, beating well after each addition.
6: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans; sharply
tapping the sides of the pan to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into
the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes
then remove and let cool completely on wire racks.
|Step 7: Prepare the frosting.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over
medium heat. Add the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of
milk. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the
sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in the vanilla.
Using a hand-held mixer beat in the sifted powdered sugar,
gradually, on medium speed until it reaches a spreading
consistency. If it gets too thick you can thin it with
a little milk.
|Step 8: Make the caramel
topping. Place the lightly beaten egg, brown sugar, butter
and milk in the top of a double boiler set over simmering
water. Stir until thickened, about 20-30 minutes. It will
thicken more as it cools. For this recipe you will only
need about 3 tablespoons of the caramel topping
so save the rest for another time (perhaps over ice cream?).
|Step 9: Frost the cake. Place 1 cake
layer on a plate; spread top with half of frosting. Place
the other cake layer over the top. Spread the remaining
frosting over the top of the cake. Transfer the caramel
topping to a zip lock bag and snip the corner to create
an impromptu pastry bag. Drizzle the caramel topping over
the top of the cake decoratively. Sprinkle with toasted
|Calories: 264 (12% from
fat); Fat 8g, Protein 2g, Carb 47g, Fiber 2g; Chol 48mg;
Iron 6%; Sodium 175mg; Calcium 4%
Chocolate Soufflé with Vanilla
- 1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup 1% milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely
- 4 large egg whites
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- gf Vanilla light ice cream