Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Adventures in Gluten-Free Baking - with Elizabeth Barbone

I promised a blog entry on Elizabeth Barbone's cooking demonstration at Monday's Glens Fall Celiac Support Group meeting and have had some time to "digest" it, literally. I brought home two of the moist chocolate cupcakes she brought for sampling and my husband and kids pronounced them delicious (don't tell them about the cat hair I scraped off the frosting when they fell over in the car on the ride home).

Barbone was funny, enthusiastic and knowledgable as she gently reminded everyone about baking basics, like measuring correctly and keeping your fingers out of the mixer. If only my high school home economics teacher had been as lively and practical (all I remember are the weird grape jelly omelettes and endless vats of white sauce we had to make, and worse, ingest). Her bodacious purple KitchenAid mixer was the envy of the room and it was an informative and most of all, FUN.

I bought a copy of "Easy Gluten-Free Baking', which the author was kind enough to autograph for me. I was inspired to flip through and am pleased to see lots of standards that we've been missing in our new gluten-free lifestyle: oatmeal cookies (made gluten-free by using quinoa flakes),Mexican Wedding cookies, edible pizza, onion rings and lemon bars. I decided to try the Lemon Bar recipe and it turned out great, even though I had to stop halfway through to pick up my kid from a friend's house. Barbone gave me permission to reprint this recipe from her book, which I would recommend to everyone. You can order a copy of the book for $24.95 directly from the author at her website. It's a nice large-sized softcover with wet and dry ingredients laid out separately so you have the option of pre-measuring and packing ingredients to save time if you bake in bulk. This cookbook uses fairly common ingredients and does not use those weird tasting bean flours that are in many other gluten-free recipes.

Barbone is based in Rensselaer County, so if you live in the Capital District you can attend one of her gluten-free baking classes, held in Latham and Queensbury. I am tempted by her Gluten-Free Cracker class and she also teaches a basic baking, and beginner and advanced bread-making classes. There is also a monthly gluten-free baking newsletter you can subscribe to for more recipes and instruction, as well as a blog so if you're a serious baker, you can really find some great information.

Now onto the serious business of making


Cookie base

Dry Ingredients

1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Wet Ingredients

1 stick butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. water


2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. white rice flour
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and rice flour an 8-inch square pan.

2. In a food processor, add the dry ingredients. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add butter. Pulse mixture until butter is more thoroughly incorporated. (Dough should resemble a coarse meal.)

3. Add water. Pulse a few times until a dough forms.

4. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

5. Bake crust for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Remove pan from oven. Place pan on a cooling rack. (Be sure to leave oven on.)

7. In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs, granulated sugar, white rice flour and lemon juice.

8. Pour mixture over baked crust.

9. Return pan to oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until filling is set. (Filling should be firm and not jiggle.)

10. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes one dozen bars.

**** These were terrific. Nice flaky bottom with a sweet-sour-lemony top. Dan had at least four of them last night. I wonder if they would work with lime juice instead of lemon?


Mrs. G.F. said...

I bet doing this with key limes would be great.

I am going to have to try this one! :)

Unknown said...

I want a purple Kitchen Aid mixer!!! Did she paint it herself??

Rachel said...

I believe that Kitchen Aid mixers come in a variety of wild colors straight from the company, although perhaps Elizabeth "pimped" her mixer herself. I do covet it.


Cheryl said...

I came for the lemon bars, but thoughtI'd comment on the mixer... My father told me that they are "powder" coated. The paint really a poder that they spray on and then bake it on. It is a really tough finish compared to paint. My father had his old railing for his upper hall powder coated. So if you want to re-do your mixer I would suggest cheching into having it powder coated. It could of course run you as much as a new one?? But, check listings for powder coating. Okay, you really wanted to know that right?