One of the most popular questions I get when I post a recipe is “Is the dish gluten-free?” or “Can you make a gluten-free version?” Sometimes the answers are harder than I’d like, because I’m not an authority on gluten-free foods. And you really have to pay attention to the ingredients you cook with: gluten can be hiding almost anywhere, including places you’d never suspect.
The reverse can also be true: many dishes are naturally gluten-free. It all depends on the kind of ingredients you’re using. Except for when a main ingredient is bread, which makes creating gluten-free sandwiches a challenge. Though I’m not an expert on all things gluten-free, I have a friend who is: Carlyn Berghoff. You may know Carlyn as the 4th-generation owner of The Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago’s Loop. Besides being an accomplished chef, caterer and businessperson, Carlyn is a mom to three teens – one of whom has celiac disease.
For the past few years, Carlyn has made it her mission to rid her home of gluten. She and her family have been sharing their journey to be gluten-free on GFFamilyFood.com. That’s where you’ll find this easy recipe for gluten-free sandwich bread, so you can have the foundation to create your own gluten-free sandwich masterpieces.
If you’ve not been to The Berghoff Restaurant lately, be sure to check out all the gluten-free options on the menu. One of the most festive places to be in Chicago during the holidays is inside The Berghoff Restaurant. My favorite is the giant nutcracker (he’s taller than me!) that greets you as you enter the restaurant. Stop by during the holidays, when the entire dining room is decked out, to take a photo with Santa or enjoy a slice of apple strudel (an authentic German holiday tradition).
IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS WITHOUT ‘DIE WEIHNACHTSGURKE’ (pickle in the tree)
From now until December 24 at The Berghoff Restaurant, any child (under the age of 12) who finds the pickle ornament in Berghoff’s Christmas tree, will receive a complimentary Berghoff Root Beer. Did you know that Berghoff’s makes its own orange, black cherry and root beer sodas? My favorite is the diet root beer. Yum!
As the holiday season kicks into high gear, it’s easy to “fall off the wagon” with so many butter-rich, delicious baked goods surrounding you at office parties, family gatherings and such. One of the strategies I use to combat this potential problem is to volunteer to bring baked goods from my kitchen. That way I can control the quality of ingredients, especially their nutritional value, and ensure that there will be something delicious and nutritious available for me to snack on and for others to enjoy.
Blueberry coconut muffins are a satisfying breakfast option during the holidays or a weekend brunch. Or you could easily turn it into a dessert option for the office or family party by making bite-sized blueberry coconut mini muffins.
One of the things I like about this recipe is the use of coconut flour, coconut oil and coconut milk to achieve a flavor-upon-flavor layering that is subtle enough to let the fresh blueberries be the star of the show. I had not used coconut flour a great deal in the past, but I find that I’m using it more and more because sweet baked goods just taste better and lighter with coconut flour. The coconut flour also has a mild sweetness that elevates and pairs well with the blueberries. Did you know that coconut flour is naturally gluten-free? Every ingredient in this recipe is gluten-free. Yea!
Even though winter is nearly here, it’s still easy to find fresh blueberries in local markets. My local Mariano’s always has a great variety of berry harvests throughout the year and blueberries are available right now in Chicago.
I have to admit I don’t know a lot about gluten-free baking. Every time I think I’m finally understanding what it’s all about I learn that there’s a lot more I need to learn. And I shall. This recipe was the result of finding a really cool Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Sandwich Cookie recipe at Bakers Royale – and not having the energy to make the marshmallow filling. Full disclosure, the recipe at Bakers Royal was a mash-up of a PBS recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies and Bakers Royal’s original marshmallow frosting filling recipe. It sounds and looks delicious so I vow on my next gluten-free peanut butter cookie baking frenzy to actually – finally – make the marshmallow frosting filling.
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Put all of the ingredients (yes, all four!) in a mixing bowl (either a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer will do). Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
Use a cookie dough scoop to drop small balls of dough (about 1 rounded tablespoon in volume) onto the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. You should be able to fit a dozen cookies on a standard baking sheet. Take a small fork and spray the back liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Use the fork to flatten the cookie in a criss-cross pattern.
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the parchment-lined baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies. The cookies are thin, very crunchy and about 3 inches in diameter.