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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Wheat free test kitchen!

I have always been a huge lover of wheat, especially in deliciously soft bread and light and fluffy cakes!

But every so often I think I am eating too much, so decide to give it up/cut down for a spell.

A handy side effect of this is it forces me to experiment more with wheat free baking! (something I've always neglected.)

I decided to trial 3 gluten free recipes (two cookies, and a chocolate cupcake).

For the first batch of cookies I followed a Chocolate Covered Katie recipe here, using oat flour (which I made by blending oats).

The result was a soft oaty cookie, which was quite tasty!  One of my taste testers (Lee) said it was kind of like a hobnob!

For the second batch of cookies I wanted to try something a little different...chickpea cookies!
This is something I've seen on Pinterest a few times, and I've always been curious to try. I was reminded of them by a photo of chocolate chip chickpea muffins on Instagram (on Chocolate Covered Katie's account).
I couldn't find a cookie recipe I liked, so I adapted CCK's recipe to make cookies (by omitting the baking powder and cooking on a cookie tray!) 

I was really pleased with these cookies. They use apple sauce in place of some of the oil, and they feel like a protein packed snack when you eat them.
I gave them to a couple of people to try, and neither could guess they contained chickpeas!
They were quite soft, almost "cakey" cookies, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of them :)
(I even dipped one in my yogurt!)

Next was the cupcakes.
I've tried making gluten free cupcakes before, and have never been overly impressed with the results.

This time I thought I'd try a recipe from Ms Cupcake:The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town.
The recipe was actually for a cake rather than cupcakes, but I halved it and made into 12 cupcakes.
(my reason for not just trying one of her gluten free cupcake recipes was I didn't have any xantham gum which was called for in most of those recipes.)

I was happier with these cupcakes than I have been with my other attempts, but my taste testers had mixed views.  Two of my friends who love chocolate cake thought they were great, but my friend Carol (the harshest cake critic!) thought they were very dry.

They're definitely drier than my usual cupcakes.  More springy" and less "crumby". I think baking without eggs AND without dairy AND without wheat is always going to be a challenge.
I wonder if you have to be a true gluten free vegan to fully appreciate these kind of cakes!

I'm sharing the recipe for the chickpea cookies (with kind permission from Chocolate Covered Katie). If you make them be sure to see if people can guess the secret ingredient!

1/2 cup oats 
400g can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed 
2 tbsp apple sauce
1 and 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil 
1/2 tablespoon vanilla 
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips 
1/4 cup walnuts pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 350f (175C), and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Whizz the oats in a blender until they're pretty much powder.

Add the chickpeas and blend again until they've purée'ed down.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. 

Dollop the cookie dough evenly onto the baking tray.
Distribute the chocolate chips evenly amongst the cookies by pressing them into the tops. Add walnut pieces if using.

Bake until the cookies no longer look wet, about 10-13 mins. (check regularly for doneness!)
Once out of the oven leave on the cookie tray for 5 minutes (to help them firm up), then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.