Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When GF is a little too good for my own good.

My mom (who is also gluten-free!) and I were recently reminiscing about trips to France, and of course the memories included FOOD. I'd need a straitjacket to keep me away from French bread and fromage, despite the pain of le pain, but one thing I don't have to pine for is crèpes! I will always lovingly remember the crèpes sold by Parisian street vendors but the GF version is super tasty as well, thanks to the geniuses at Pamela's Products.

Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix is, to my knowledge, generally regarded as one of the best ready-made GF flour mixes on the market. Their recipe for crèpes is incredibly simple and cooks up very quickly. Since I generally cook for one, I halved the recipe, yielding 4 crèpes. They are a little more gummy and fragile than their wheaty counterparts, but the taste resemblance is so close that I think anyone would enjoy them. I stuffed one with sliced strawberries, one with organic wild berry preserves, and sprinkled the third with a packet of Sugar in the Raw. (The fourth didn't last long enough to make it to the plate!) Absolutely delicious and a nice treat for brunch when you've got the energy.

In other baking experiment news, I bought a box of the famous Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix a few months ago at Target (!) and was waiting for an opportunity to test it out. I had to make them with a stick of butter, since I didn't have any baking-friendly dairy-free substitute on hand. Not the best news for my stomach, but how could anything taste bad if it's got a stick of butter in it? The dough is crumbly and very stiff to work, but once the butter softens up, it gets more like regular cookie dough. I lined my baking sheets with parchment paper (I did not throw out my kitchen implements after my diagnosis, as many people do) and the cookies turned out beautifully.

I have to confess, I think they look better than they taste. The mix is so gritty, even if the cookies themselves are a perfect combination of crispy and chewy. I brought them to a get-together on Saturday night so I'd have something safe to nibble, and I gave everyone fair warning that these were not normal cookies. But to my surprise, non-GF people actually liked them - a LOT. Like most GF substitutes, once you get over your initial shock and comparison to wheat, these cookies really grew on me (literally. Hello, calories) and I like them better now than I did at first. All the same, I won't be making these often. I don't know how they'd turn out without butter, although now I belatedly see no butter instructions on the website (it would be nice if they'd printed it on the box!), and I really don't need the temptation since I'm constantly trying to lose a few pounds. (When I got diagnosed I thought, "Well, at least I'll lose weight." Yeah right. There's too much good food out there!) But thank you anyway, Ms. Crocker!

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