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on the 2nd day of g-free christmas ...

when i decided to do 12 days of g-free christmas ... i didn't consider that there were only 20 days left until christmas! now only 17 days out w/ the tree still half decorated and only 1/4 of our presents purchased ... basically i'm a baking machine! luckily a few of my christmas favorites require minimal time in the kitchen. today's cookie included ...

but first, let me introduce you to my flour "collection":

what's the deal w/ all the different types of flours, eh? so far i haven't had luck w/ pre-made mixes. 1 // they're rather expensive. 2 // i like the flavor, dislike the texture or vice versa. so the fun begins - finding which flours you do prefer depending on what type of food your making. unfortunately, there isn't a 1:1 flour substitution for wheat flour. and unfortunately there isn't a mix that works for all recipes!

i store my flours in marked freezer bags in the refrigerator to increase their shelf life. when using flour that has been refrigerated or frozen, be sure to bring it back to room temperature before measuring. cold flour can result in a heavier, denser baked item.

a gfree baker must - xanthan gum. xanthan gum is the gfree substitute for gluten. it holds everything together. it's pricey! but you use a teeny bit at a time and luckily it has a rather long shelf life.

here are a few sites that i reference ALL THE TIME:

gluten free mommy's gluten free grains 101
karen robertson's gluten free flour alternatives via celiac.com
dummies' guide to gluten free flours (yes - they have a book for that too!)
living health mom's gluten free flours

oatmeal shortbread

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp salt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
not g-free? then substitute 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour for 1/4 cup sweet rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup sorghum flour and 1/4 tsp xanthan gum.

oh - and 1 important note: sweet rice flour is not the same as white rice flour. whole foods didn't carry it - but our international market in town did and for super cheap (they also carry tapioca flour cheaper than whole foods.) it is made from glutinous rice ... but do not worry - it does not contain the gluten fraction that is prohibited to the gluten intolerant. it's a great thickening agent for your favorite stew recipe. and combined w/ other gfree flours, smooths the grit. (i am a picky texture person!)

1 // preheat the oven to 325ยบ. spread the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 4-6 minutes until lightly brown. cool completely.

2 // in chopper, grind 1/2 cup of cooled oats until finely ground.

3 // in mixer bowl, combine sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour and xanthan gum. add 1/2 cup of ground oats, confectioners sugar, and salt. add butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of a course meal. 

4 // transfer to an 8" square baking pan and press firmly into the bottom. sprinkle w/ the remaining 2 tablespoons of oats on top and press lightly to secure.

5 // bake until firm and lightly brown about 30-35 min. using a pairing knife, score the shortbread into 16 squares. cool completely before removing. (these yummy shortbread treats are very fragile - careful careful!)



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