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.
Recipe from food.com
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
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