Gluten Free Hump Day – Peanut Butter Cookies.

I haven’t been having a great time with gluten free baking. And after various trial and error situations with recipes all over the place, I’m finding myself avoiding the whole process because it’s so inconvenient. Or it just seems inconvenient because the end result is never really like the baked products I’m used to. I love the feeling of running my hands through sticky stretchy dough, kneading it, letting it rise, etc. (and yes, I think every Wednesday gluten free post will start like this – I told you, I needed/need a lot of GF convincing, but I’m trying.) But today (well, Wednesday) I made cookies. And they were actually great. First of all, I was weirded out by the flours used: sorghum, teff (of injera/ethiopian flat bread fame) and a few others, but the result was really quite awesome. I’ll admit, I was surprised. The cookies puffed up perfectly, a little crisp at the edges, chewy on the inside, the colour was really appealing, and altogether had a rich flavour. If I didn’t have an absurd to do list today I’d ride this wave of gluten free love through a few other recipes. But that’s not going to happen today unfortunately. But on the plus side – I have cookies.

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Vegan MoFo: Gluten Free Humpday. xGFx

So, I’m not going to pretend I know what I’m doing with gluten free baking, I’ve made at most three or four gluten free baked products in my life. But I’ve been curious, and I have friends with serious gluten issues; it would be nice to be able to accommodate their needs. I also have a bit of a fear of gluten free products, and sure, that phobia has been mitigated slightly since trying amazing baked goods from at Bunner’s Bakery in Toronto, or Burlington, ON’s Kindfood, and Sweet Freedom in Philadelphia, PA, but whenever I hear those two words combined… gluten free… I still get a bit nervous. In my past food adventures I’ve had some really not so great gluten free products, with unpleasant flavours, weird textures, and a whole lot of bleh. But the same goes for some vegan items from long long ago, and things have improved! A lot! In any case, I wanted to challenge myself to start working on my gluten free baking skills. Conveniently soon after I decided to work on these skills, Laurie Sadowski (author of the Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread) had posted about needing recipe testers for a new gluten free vegan cookbook. I was sold. And I was ready, and up to facing the unknown head on. I am the recipe tester version for dummies. Today I made her Olive Oil Orange Cake. Freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade apple sauce from freshly picked apples, and mysterious flours I hadn’t worked with before. The…

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Liberty Village Farmers Market. More vegan barbecue.

I went back to the liberty Village farmers market to investigeat the possibility of vegan baked goods… and my mission was successful. The kind folks at Round Plain’s Plantation (yes they have a website) make several vegan and gluten free items. Now I’m kicking myself for not grabbing one of the cinnamon danishes I saw last week. During the course of our investigeating, we picked up an orange date muffin. It’s vegan, gluten-free and sweetened with agave. We also picked up some zucchini, and skipped buying rhubarb this time since we have too much in the freezer already (i.e., it’s about time for me to bake something with rhubarb in it! Maybe today.) I’ve decided that my favourite food type is grilled. When I was growing up we didn’t barbecue much, and generally I’ve avoided BBQ’s at other peoples houses, but these days, if the weather is even remotely hospitable, I’d rather be eating something with grill lines on it. One of my favourite recent combos was grilled marinated portobello mushroom, with tomato and a piece of grilled eggplant on a kaiser roll (with veganaise on it).

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Toronto: Bunner’s Bake Shop – Gluten Free Vegan Bakery.

I was rummaging around on the internet this weekend and noticed a posting about Bunner’s Bake Shop (3054 Dundas W, Toronto, ON) opening on Saturday. Well, I was out in the Kawartha Lakes area at the time (p.s. vegan options in Lindsay? not so much), “enjoying” the freezing rain, so I couldn’t make it. But when I got back to town, I rushed over to try them out. I have to admit, while I was researching other cities and their vegan restaurants and cafes for VeganMofo, I was dreaming that Toronto would soon have a vegan bakery of it’s very own (that I could get to with public transit; I can’t forget about the Vegan Danish Bakery in Thornhill!!!) and so it was THRILLING to hear that one had actually opened. Honestly though when I heard “vegan bakery” I was excited, but when I saw gluten free was involved I was a little disappointed. I know there are great gluten free products out there, I just haven’t had many. Well, until now. When I’m saying this place is good, it’s not just gluten-free good. It’s actually good. From the moment I walked into the place, I wished I lived closer so I could go there every morning and buy a cookie, donut, muffin, cupcake, coffee, whatever. The people working there are so damn friendly and helpful, I hope they succeed, and I hope coffee shops and cafes around the city start using them as their source of vegan baked goodness.…

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