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As my foray into gluten-free baking continues, I have been pushing the boundaries slowly. I’m not going to be making gluten-free bread or cake anytime soon – basically anything that contains flour as its main component will be tricky to perfect with gluten-free flours. I thought that an oatmeal cookie would be a decent compromise, since the oats take up considerable bulk in the cookie. I took a popular oatmeal cookie from Allrecipes and used a homemade gluten-free flour blend from the Celiac Support Organization website, specifically Carol Fenster’s General Baking Mix #1. I picked that recipe for its simplicity, and because I already had tapoica starch lying around.

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Then came the actual baking. These cookies are actually my second attempt. My first attempt came out overly spread out and lacy, and all the cookies merged into a giant lattice of baked cookie dough. It was still tasty, but it was more of a crisp and thin variety than soft and thick. Gluten-free flours without any additives generally don’t create structurally sound baked goods because the gluten protein provides a great deal of stability to a finished product. My hack was to then freeze the cookies so that they are less inclined to spread out. I then freezed the dough after shaping it into balls, and baked it at a higher temperature at a shorter duration. That worked wonderfully, and gave me cookies with a soft, almost cakey texture with a crisp caramelized rim.

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Soft Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Makes 3 dozen cookies
Adapted from Allrecipes

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup gluten-free flour (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (I eyeballed it – add to your heart’s desire!)

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in egg, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Roll the dough into teaspoon sized balls, and freeze till hard.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Place cookie balls 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet until completely cool.

Gluten-Free Flour Mix
Makes 1 cup
From Carol Fenster

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tbsps tapioca starch/flour

Blend all flours till combined. These flours are very light, so take care to avoid coating your counter in white powder. Potato starch is also different from potato flour – be cautious in your purchase.

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I’ve known in the back of my mind how simple molten lava cakes are to make, but can you believe that I’ve never actually attempted this half-baked ubiquitous restaurant concoction? Now I have. And it’s actually really easy! The small amount of flour involved also means that the quality of the cake wouldn’t suffer too much with the substitution of gluten-free flour.

I used a Paula Deen recipe, fully well knowing that it would be excessively rich, which is why I third the recipe to create two ramekins worth of molten lava cake instead of six. And even then, each portion was way too rich for me – I ate it in fits and starts, and each ramekin took approximately three tries to finish. Whew.

This is a one-bowl recipe with little clean-up, and can be modified to your liking depending on what kind of flavorings or extracts you want to include. Sub the vanilla essence with peppermint oil, and you get a melty, cakey, After Eights. Add a dash of paprika for an inexplicable tingle on the tongue. Just let your imagination guide you 🙂

Small Batch Gluten-Free Molten Lava Cake
Makes 2 6-oz ramekins
Adapted from Paula Deen

47g bittersweet chocolate
47g butter
20g all-purpose or gluten-free flour
1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease 2 (6-ounce) ramekins. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.