Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 1 of gluten-free baking: Alfajores




I am now on a gluten-free diet. 


Never would I have made such a drastic (for me) lifestyle change on my own. It all happened over the course of an hour with a nutritionist: after reviewing my recent health and nutrition needs, she suggested a gluten-free diet.  I bristled at the idea: me, a bread lover, avid baker, on a gluten-free diet?  "It'll be a trial for three weeks," she said.  "Think of it as a challenge; have you ever done any gluten-free baking before?"  Try as I might, I couldn't find anything about her proposition appealing.  I continued to resist.  She then urged me to consider it.  I finally acquiesced. 

It only took overnight for me to embrace (yes, embrace!) the idea.

It might have partly been due to timing: this happened just one day after my cupcake fest with fellow food bloggers, one week after my pie-baking class, and six weeks after my Paris trip where I indulged - very heavily, I might add, and gleefully, too - in all things gluten.

So here I was, having committed to no gluten for nearly a month, on the eve of an Argentine potluck I was invited to.  Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided I would bake.  First stop, Dean and Deluca; they carry gluten-free flour that can be substituted one-for-one for all-purpose flour.  Then onto finding a recipe; I stumbled upon one for Alfajores, which is essentially an Argentinean dolce de leche sandwich cookie.  It sounded divine!

The results: the cookies were light, refreshing with the hint of lemon, and perfectly sweet.  I really don't know if using gluten-free flour made any difference in the texture or taste, never having made these cookies before. But that didn't matter; they were gobbled up by everyone.




Alfajores
Recipe from food.com


1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
Two egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon rind, grated
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (the Davis brand is gluten-free)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (I used store-bought)

Cream butter for a minute, add sugar and beat until fluffy.

Add egg and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well. Beat in vanilla and lemon rind.

In a separate bowl, sift together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to mixture and mix well.

Drop batter by small spoonfuls onto well buttered baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove immediately.

Sandwich the cookies together with dulce de leche



2 comments:

  1. wow, interesting. Glad you're up for the challenge! The first trial looks like it came out great :)

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  2. Thanks, Kelly! I have a newfound respect for people with dietary restrictions who find creative ways of baking!

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