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Gluten-Free Baking Week

DECEMBER 16 – 22, 2007



It’s no secret that baking and cooking without wheat and gluten during the holidays can be challenging, particularly if you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle. Gluten-Free Baking Week (December 16 - 22) was created as an opportunity to celebrate gluten-free baking experimentation with a few remaining days on your side as well as to encourage you to carve out some time for your holiday meal planning. As you design your holiday spread this year and select specific recipes, our featured interview (see “Ask the Experts” below) provides some insight from three of the country’s leading gluten-free experts who share their different perspectives on the holiday gluten-free menu challenge.

And not surprisingly, making gluten-free recipes for the first time the day of the big meal can throw you a series of curve balls and unexpected results. So, for the more intricate items on your holiday table, whether they be pie crusts, dinner rolls, cookies, or even gravy, consider designating this week as a time to experiment and tweak your recipes to your ultimate satisfaction, particularly if you like to bake your delights from scratch. And if you’re pressed for time, the holiday recipes contributed by our panel of experts and other chefs who have presented at our previous culinary events can save you time off the clock as well as delight your family and guests. Happy Holidays and Bon Appétit!


A gluten-free cast of characters…

Play the gluten-free artisan ingredients name game. Which of the following gluten-free flour or starch personalities will be included in your holiday baking program?

Alberto Almond (Flour)
Amanda Amaranth (Flour)
Arthur Arrowroot (Starch)
Barbara Brown Rice (Flour)
Betty Buckwheat (Flour)
Bernie Black Bean (Flour)
Chester Chestnut (Flour)
Cathy Corn (Starch)
Carrie Coconut (Flour)
Garry Garbanzo Bean (Flour)
Gertrude Guar Gum (Baking Aid)
Franklin Fava Bean (Flour)
Henrietta Hazelnut (Flour)
Molly Mesquite (Flour)
Marry Millet (Flour)
Marty Montina (Flour)
Paul Potato (Flour)
Paulette Potato (Starch)
Quinlin Quinoa (Flour)
Sally Sorghum (Flour)
Samantha Soy (Flour)
Steven Sweet Rice (Flour)
Timothy Tapioca (Flour/Starch)
Tiffany Teff (Flour)
Wendy White Rice (Flour)
William White Bean (Flour)
Xavier Xanthan Gum (Baking Aid)

*Names selected are for fun only and do not represent names of actual brand name products.


The cup-for-cup substitution challenge…

In lieu of crafting your own gluten-free all purpose flour blend, you may be so inclined to take the fast track and buy a packaged flour blend from a company that has done the research and experimentation for you! Below is a sampling of some companies that produce an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend to be used as a straight cup-for-cup replacement for your recipes that originally call for wheat flour. Some can be conveniently ordered online while others may be available at your neighborhood natural foods store. Please note comments from the experts in the interview below who offer insight into this sometimes tricky replacement task.

Amazing Grains Grower Cooperative (Montina)
Authentic Foods
Gluten-Free Pantry
Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods
Gifts of Nature
Mona’s Gluten-Free
Sylvan Border Farm
Tom Sawyer Gluten-Free Products


Ask the experts…

Founder / Executive Producer
GF Culinary Productions, Inc.
Denver, CO
PANEL: RC RICHARD COPPEDGE, Jr., Certified Master Baker
Professor of Pastry and Baking
The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)
Author: Gluten-Free Baking with the CIA, Coming 2008
  CF CAROL FENSTER, Savory Palate, Inc.
Author: Gluten-Free Quick & Easy and the forthcoming 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes
Associate Dean, Kendall College
Chicago, IL

SB: When making a gluten-free pie crust, what top tips do you have for the home chef?

RC: Cut the fat [butter] into tiny pieces, keeping cool. After thoroughly mixing all dry ingredients, mix half of the dry mix with all of the fat and then, lightly mix in the remaining dry mix. This will produce a finer fat particle, before the cold liquid is added. Lastly, allow the dough to 'age' uncovered in the refrigerator for one hour after mixing.

CF: Make the dough in a food processor for the best blending, refrigerate it for at least an hour to let the ingredients meld, and then work it with your hands until it reaches your body temperature and no longer feels cool to the touch. Roll it as thinly as possible between heavy duty/premium plastic wrap. Bake the pie on the lowest rack of the oven for the first 15 minutes to brown the bottom and prevent sogginess, then finish baking it in the middle of the oven. Lay a sheet of foil over it if the edges start to brown too much.

RZ: Under normal circumstances, over-mixing traditional pie dough develops too much gluten. Gluten-free pie dough does not have that problem. But when mixing the gluten-free dough, there is a chance of over-mixing to develop too much starch.  This makes the dough sticky and difficult to handle.  Also, roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper.  This will help with some of the stickiness of a properly mixed dough. 

SB: For someone who wants to make a simple gluten-free gravy using turkey juices or broth, what would you recommend most?

RC: I would make a slurry of half tapioca starch and half soy or white bean flour by diluting with enough cold water to form the slurry using approximately 1 teaspoon of each with 1/4 cup cold water. That should be enough to thicken 1.5 cups of broth/juices. The broth/juices should be at a boil, prior to adding in the slurry. Once it is added, bring back to a boil until the gravy becomes transparent.

CF: The best thickener for gravy is either sweet rice flour or cornstarch. The advantage of sweet rice flour is that it produces a good-bodied, not-too-shiny texture and can be reheated without losing its consistency. Cornstarch also produces good gravy, though it is a bit shinier and can look somewhat artificial and loses its thickening power when it’s reheated. All of these starches/flours should be whisked into a cold liquid (either milk or water) until smooth before stirring it into the gravy. Avoid using white rice flour or brown rice flour for thickening gravies since they make very heavy, grainy gravy.

RZ: When making gravy, I would let the juices reduce in volume.  Then I would make a slurry out of potato starch or tapioca starch.  These are mild starches that cook quickly and don't get too thick.  When using arrowroot, be careful not to boil after it comes to the boil.  It will become slimy.

SB: Finding a creative way to replace dinner rolls at the holiday table can be challenging, so what do you recommend?

RC: Biscuits are quick and easy. Start with a traditional biscuit recipe, then replace the gluten-based flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour of your choice. Replace one-half cup of either water or buttermilk with one egg and two egg whites. The extra protein should help bind the dough, and provide additional structure.

CF: My favorite “bread” for holiday meals is popovers. They can be baked in popover tins OR in individual muffin cups right alongside the turkey while it’s roasting. The batter is easy to prepare ahead of time in a blender (even the day before) and then refrigerated. Bring it to room temperature before baking. Popovers (See recipe below) are big and showy and never fail to impress guests, but they need to be served immediately when they come out of the oven. If you’re cooking a roast beef, use the pan drippings to grease the muffin tins and you have Yorkshire Pudding.

RZ: I would buy a gluten-free French bread mix and prepare the rolls ahead of time then freeze them.

SB: Many pre-packaged flour blend mixes say they can be used as a gluten-free cup-for-cup replacement for wheat flour. Do you have any tips, recommendations, or even any pitfalls to watch out for when venturing into the "cup-for-cup" replacement task particularly when it comes to gluten-free baking and converting traditional recipes into gluten-free ones?

RC: I prefer to replace flour based on weight first. So, if you can determine the weight of the flour you need to replace, then weigh the equal amount of gluten-free flour. Remember, gluten-free flours tend to be more absorbent so sometimes the product will require additional liquid, around an extra 15-20%

CF: Since there are so many flour blends with different compositions, all you can do is “assume” that yours will work 1:1 with wheat flour. Assemble the ingredients for your recipe, using the same amount of GF flour blend as wheat flour. BUT, look at the dough/batter and see if it appears to be too dry (if so, add more liquid, about ¼ cup at a time) or too wet (add more flour blend, about ¼ cup at a time) until the desired consistency is reached. Write down what you did so you can repeat your success next time. Of course, be sure to use xanthan gum or guar gum.

RZ: Pay close attention to the type of flours used.  Some of the bean flours have a strong taste and may not be good replacements.  An example would be garbanzo bean flour.  It is really strong.

SB: What is your best advice for gluten-free holiday menu planning for both beginners and seasoned hosts/hostesses alike?

RC: Double-check your kitchen and dinner table to avoid contamination issues. Separation is the key. For the beginner, start with reputable recipes and test ahead of time.

CF: Plan everything very carefully so you know exactly what needs to be done. Try to get as much done beforehand as possible so you’re not overwhelmed on the big day. I plan the menu several days ahead and make a schedule so I know what to do and when. For example, I know I have to make the Jello salad the day before so it sets up and I know that I must bake the pies the day before to leave room in the oven for roasting the turkey. I know that the turkey needs to go in the oven at a certain time to be done by mealtime and I build in standing time before carving as well. I even decide which serving bowls/platters/utensils are needed and get them ready so I don’t have a frantic last minute search. I often set the table the day before so there is less to do on the big day.

RZ: Don't be too aggressive with your meal.  If you’re a gluten-free living novice, pick one new thing. Both experienced and novice cooks alike need to plan out their time. Being organized is key. Try preparing certain items ahead and freezing them. 

SB: What one piece of advice would you like to share with the home chef who is preparing a gluten-free holiday meal with GF baked goods at their home for the first time?

RC: Keep it simple. If you're unsure of gluten-free strategies, it's probably better to consider buying a pre-made product. Also, desserts such as sorbet, ice creams, and puddings tend to be gluten-free, but always read labels! Provide something gluten-free that others who don't have to eat gluten-free can enjoy. These foods can be eaten by all guests and will make the gluten-free guest feel like the other guests.

CF: Keep it simple. A well-executed, yet simple, holiday menu is far better than an elaborate meal that goes awry. 

RZ: As mentioned before, plan your meal and time.  If having family over, ask that they bring a dish.  The day of the big meal is the time to experiment.  If possible, make the gluten-free dish (particularly baked goods) once before you plan to serve it.  And always think about sanitation.  Don't prepare more food than you have refrigerator has space to hold it. 

SB: What is your favorite holiday cookie recipe and how would you make it gluten-free?

RC: A basic sugar-cookie. Remember: 1-2-3 A simple ratio that pastry chefs use when making a basic cookie dough. One cup granulated sugar, two cups unsalted butter, and three is for the flour. But consider using 3 ½ cups of a gluten-free all-purpose flour. Also, add 3-4 eggs to the mixture. Place everything into a mixing bowl. Mix with a paddle or by hand, until the mixture is smooth. It can be rolled and cut into different shapes. Top with water then coarse sugar before baking at 375-400.

CF: My favorite holiday cookie recipe is already gluten-free: Chocolate Apricot-Almond Balls. As a child, we rarely made cut-out baked cookies (and rarely decorated cookies) so I guess I never got into that habit. Instead, my mother made a variety of these no-bake cookies because they were so quick and simple and they stored very nicely. As we grew older, she began using either brandy or rum in them instead of the orange juice. If I’m serving them to adults, I always use a flavorful liqueur for extra flavor. For kids, I use orange juice.

RZ: My favorite holiday cookie recipe is Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Coconut Dried Cherry with Walnuts.  I would use Sorghum Flour with some tapioca flour as a gluten-free flour substitute, xanthan gum and pure Gluten-Free Oats.  The rest of the ingredients will work fine.

SB: What gluten-free flour or combinations of flours are you most fond of?

RC: I prefer 1/3 part white or brown rice flour, 1/3 part potato or tapioca starch, and 1/3 part soy or white bean flour

CF: Of course, I love my Sorghum Flour Blend because it is so versatile; its neutral color and flavor make it adaptable for most everything.

RZ: My favorite mix includes Sorghum flour, tapioca and rice flour with xanthan gum or guar gum.

SB: What is your favorite way to utilize turkey leftovers?

RC: For me, all piled together, re-heated with chunky cranberry sauce. Also, a simple pot pie.

CF: I strip the meat from the bones and freeze it in large plastic freezer bags so I can use it later for sandwiches and casseroles. My favorite casserole is Chicken Pot Pie or Shepherd’s Pie. I make chicken broth from the bones.

RZ: I take the turkey carcass, with carrots, celery and onion.  I add water and make a turkey broth.  I will add the leftover turkey to the broth for soup.  Or, I might make a turkey stew. 


Holiday Recipes…

By Renee Zonka, MS, RD, CEC
Associate Dean, Kendall College
Chicago, IL

*This recipe was presented by Chef Zonka at The Second Annual Gluten-Free Culinary Summit™ in Denver, August 17 – 19, 2007.

Yield: 1 - 10” Bundt Cake

1 ½ cups Sorghum Flour
½ cup Tapioca Flour
½ cup Potato Starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp xanthan gum
¾ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup sugar
3 ea eggs, large
1 ½ cup sour cream
½ cup beer, gluten free*
1 ½ tsp vanilla

Filling and Topping:
½ cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan.

2. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum in large bowls.

3. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, beer and vanilla. Mix for about 2 minutes. Add to dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are well blended.

4. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon and walnuts.

5. Spoon one-third of cake batter into greased 10-inch tube. Sprinkle on one-third of filling. Spoon on another third of cake batter and again sprinkle on a third of filling. Spoon on remaining third of batter and sprinkle remainder of cinnamon mixture on top.

6. Bake 55-65 minutes until brown and cake tester comes out clean.

*Note: If beer is not desired, then use sparkling water.


Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free Quick & Easy by Carol Fenster, Ph.D. (Avery/Penguin Group, 2007)

Popovers are one of the easiest breads to make. You just whip up the batter in a blender, pour it into a popover or muffin pan, and bake away. Popover pans are sold in kitchen and discount stores for around $20, which is a good investment for bread that is so easy. To make ahead, store the batter in the refrigerator overnight or all day until you’re ready to make dinner, then bring the batter to room temperature before baking.

3 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup 1% milk (cow’s, rice, soy, potato, or nut) at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or buttery spread, Earth Balance, Soy Garden, melted
2/3 cup potato starch
¼ cup Carol’s Flour Blend (see below)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Generously grease a 6-cup popover pan or 6-cup muffin pan. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position.

2. Process the ingredients in a blender until very smooth.

3. Place the prepared pan in the hot oven 5 minutes. Wearing hot mitts, carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and pour the batter evenly into each of the 6 cups. Return the pan to the oven.

4. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and continue baking 10 minutes to 15 more minutes or until the sides of the popover are rigid. (Do not open the oven door during the baking time.) Quickly and carefully, open the oven door and remove the pan. Pierce each popover along its firm side with a toothpick or sharp knife to release the steam; then return the pan to the oven to bake 5 more minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the popovers from the pan and serve warm. If necessary, reheat popovers in a 200°F oven 5 minutes. Makes 6 popovers.


Secrets to Successful Popovers

  • Have all the ingredients at room temperature before assembling the batter, which will be a bit thin.
  • Use popover pans, which are tall and narrow. If you don’t have a popover pan, you can use a muffin pan, which produce wider somewhat shorter popovers.
  • Heat the pan in the preheating oven before filling with batter.
  • Once the popovers start baking, don’t open the oven door.

Quick and Easy Tip: Popovers can be used in place of rolls for sandwiches. Cut them in half horizontally and fill with your favorite sandwich fillings such as chicken salad, tuna salad, or egg salad.

Carol’s Sorghum Flour Blend
1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
1 cup tapioca flour

Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl or put in a large, plastic food storage bag and shake until well blended. Store in a dark, dry place for up to 6 months.


Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free 101 by Carol Fenster, Ph.D. (Savory Palate, 2006)

This is a traditional turkey stuffing, but you can vary the spices to suit your taste. I like the stuffing to be fairly moist––more like bread pudding than stuffing––so I might increase the broth to 5 or 6 cups and bake the stuffing a bit longer until the top is crunchy and browned. I might also toast the bread cubes on a baking sheet to lightly toast them first before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

2 loaves gluten-free bread or gluten-free corn bread, cut in ½-inch cubes
1 large finely chopped onion
4 stalks finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon butter or canola oil
4 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons celery salt
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon white pepper
4 cups gluten-free chicken broth

1. Sauté onion and celery in oil until just tender and slightly translucent. In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients with cubed bread and toss lightly until just moistened.

2. Loosely stuff turkey with bread mixture—or bake in greased casserole dish at 350ºF for 30 to 40 minutes or until nicely browned. Makes about 10 to 12 cups. Serves 20 (½ cup each).


Contributed by Lee Tobin, The Gluten-Free Bakehouse, Whole Foods Market
*This recipe was presented by Chef Tobin at The Second Annual Gluten-Free Culinary Summit™ in Denver, August 17 – 19, 2007.

This is a tender, flaky pie crust that is reminiscent of a shortbread cookie.

Serves: 6 (one 9-inch pie shell)
Double recipe for both bottom and top crust


  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot
  • 6 TB tapioca starch
  • 6 TB potato starch flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter, cut into 1/2- inch pieces
  • 1/2 to 1 TB ice water
  • Egg wash:1 egg & 2 TB water

Ingredient Options: replace the butter with non-hydrogenated margarine for a dairy-free or vegan version.

Method of Preparation:

Place rice flours, arrowroot, tapioca starch, potato starch flour, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and process until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add the butter bits and process until the mixture almost gathers together. It will be a little dry. At this point, while processor is running, drizzle in the water. If the dough seems too moist, turn it out onto a board and coat it with a little potato starch. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. This dough can be rolled out using potato starch or rice flour to prevent sticking as you go along, or pressed with fingers into a pie plate. Spray pie plate with canola cooking spray first to help prevent sticking. Fill dough with filling of choice and bake as instructed.

Nutrition Information:

Per Serving (79g-wt.): 380 calories (210 from fat), 23g total fat, 15g saturated fat, 2g protein, 41g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 0g sugar), 60mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium.
Whole Foods Market, Copyright 2000-2007.


Contributed by Executive Chef John Brand of Charles Court, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
*This recipe was presented by Chef Brand at The Second Annual Gluten-Free Culinary Summit™ in Denver, August 17 – 19, 2007.

This gluten free cookie can also be used as a crust for cheese cake or as a simple wafer for fresh berries and cream.

1/8th teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
2 cups of amaranth flour (250 grams)
½ cup white sorghum flour (50 grams)
1 Tablespoon dark rum
½ cup almond flour (50 grams)
½ cup powder sugar
3 egg yolks
2 oranges zested
10 ounces or 2 ½ sticks of butter

Cream butter in mixing bowl until soft
Add eggs and remaining liquids and mix well
Add all dry ingredients and mix, rest 20 minutes in cooler
Cut into round cookies to fit the top of a panna cotta mold


Adapted from the forthcoming 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster, Ph.D. (Wiley, 2008)
*This recipe was demonstrated by Carol Fenster at The Art & Science of Gluten-Free Gastronomy™ 2007 Lecture Series in Denver on November 13, 2007.

Serve these very simple, dainty little cookie balls at the holidays or at dinner parties in little mini-cupcake papers. They are especially nice served with ice cream or sorbet or with fresh fruit. You can also roll them in cocoa, powdered sugar, coconut, or chopped nuts for added decadence.

1 cup whole almonds
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 cups (about 12 ounces) dried apricots
2 tablespoons light or dark rum or orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 bar (3.5 ounces) bittersweet or dark chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger, Tropical Source, chopped or broken into ¼-inch chunks
Additional cocoa, powdered sugar, shredded coconut, or finely chopped nuts for rolling

1. In a food processor, process the almonds and sugar until the almonds are very finely ground. Add the apricots and pulse until the apricots are very finely chopped.

2. Add the rum, orange zest, vanilla, and chocolate and pulse until the mixture is just blended. With lightly oiled hands, compress the dough into 24 balls, each 1-inch in diameter. Refrigerate. Serve in mini-muffin paper liners. Makes 24 balls.


1. You can vary the flavors by using almond extract instead of vanilla extract or different flavors of gluten-free liqueurs, if you wish.

2. Lightly butter or oil your hands before shaping the cookies so they don’t stick to your hands. If that doesn’t work, try dipping them in water.

3. Store the cookies in an airtight container until right before serving so they don’t dry out.

4. A mini-ice-cream scoop works great to portion out uniformly-shaped balls of dough.


Adapted from Whole Foods Market website ( *This recipe was presented by Chef Tobin at The Second Annual Gluten-Free Culinary Summit™ in Denver, August 17 – 19, 2007.

Serves: 6


  • 3 TB unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, well washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean, stemmed and sliced
  • 11/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 3 TB sweet rice flour
  • 2 cups leftover turkey meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 9-inch gluten free pie crust
  • 1 gluten free pie top

Method of Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the leeks, carrots and celery and cook over medium heat until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Add remaining butter to skillet and sauté mushrooms over medium high heat until they have given off their moisture and are tender, about 10 minutes. Combine with leek mixture in skillet. Over medium high heat, stir the flour into skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock slowly, while stirring, and bring to simmer. Stir until nicely thickened. Add the turkey, cream and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

With a slotted spoon, fill pie crust with filling. Pour in any remaining liquid until crust is almost filled to the top. Moisten edge of pie crust and place pie top on top, sealing the edges with a fork. Cut slits into the top of the pie and egg wash surface. Bake for 30-40 minutes until pie crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving (9.25 oz.): 300 calories (180 calories from fat), 19g total fat, 11g saturated fat, 3g dietary fiber, 5g protein, 30g carbohydrate, 45mg cholesterol, 490mg sodium.
Whole Foods Market, Copyright 2000-2007.

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