My kids’ school hold a big fundraiser each year for the school garden. This year was no exception. We all had a great time enjoying old fashioned games (bobbing for apples, scavenger hunts), arts and crafts (sewing potpourri sachets, creating art from recycled materials), a pie eating contest, raffle and bake off. In addition there’s a large bake sale. This alone raises over $1,000. I was asked this year to make gluten free desserts for the sale. I took the challenge especially since I had recently done some gluten free baking while reviewing the book, Quinoa Cuisine (see review) and I had just received another helpful cookbook entitled 150 Best Gluten Free Muffin Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury.
I was baking and testing recipe for weeks. Not only did I test the recipes as written usuing my own mix of flours, but I also decided to try Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all pupose baking flour. They make a great variety of gf offerings for baking. Herein lies all the expense and trouble when people think about gluten free baking. If you don’t have to eat gluten free it is more expensive to properly stock your pantry. For instance the Bob’s Red Mill was $8 for a 2 pound bag. However it was even costlier for me to buy the quinoa, teff and rice flours and mix them myself. Plus there is the worry if you’re buying the flours bulk that can may be contaiminated by a gluten product.
I narrowed down my two favorites and baked multiple batches for the big day.
From the 150 Best Gluten Free Muffin Recipes cookbook I made Double Chocolate Banana Muffins and Cinnamon Sugar Muffins. The double chocolate were a huge hit. The banana gave them the right amount of moisture and the chocolate, well there was both whole and cocoa (what’s not to like?). My son liked the Cinnamon Sugar however my daughter and her friend did not. I think it was a texture issue, as gluten free baked goods are denser and the flour is a bit heartier tasting. This book has helpful information about gluten and alternative ingredients. Each recipe also has tips to make it casein-free (which can be a connection for some with other health issues).
My other choice was the Lemon Glazed Pound Cake from Quinoa Cuisine. I made the pound cake as directed with the quinoa flour, but made it again with the Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour and everyone preferred that one. I would make this any occassion – for gluten free needs or not. It was very tangy and had a good dense pound cake consistency. We enjoyed it at home with a bit of vanilla bean ice cream on top during our taste testing.
Once I made all the muffins and pound cake for the bake sale, I decided to wrap each individually so someone who needed to stay away from wheat wouldn’t have to worry about cross contamination from the rest of the baked goods at the sale. My daughter and I cut and wrapped each piece of pound cake and individual muffin and then tucked them in baskets with ingredient cards on top. They looked great. However when I went over the baked goods table during the event I realized the gluten free items weren’t selling. The moms said not as many were requesting gluten free items, plus maybe it was too hard to see the items in the wrappers. I quickly unwrapped them and luckily they sold. That was an error on my part. A child who’s checking out the baked good options needs to see it and want it, for mom to buy it. Most don’t care if it’s gluten free or not. I went a little overboard with my food safety. Next time unwrap most and wrap only a few for those with celieac and gluten issues.
I took those items that didn’t sell home with me. Yes, I could’ve given them away but not with all the time and money that went into them. (Selfish mommy, I know). I froze them and served them to my son’s baseball team a few days later. It saved me some time and they loved them.