Thursday, February 12, 2009

Buckwheat Chocolate-Chip Cookies Recipe : Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (link to recipe). The age old classic cookie - chocolate chip cookies - with a focus on gluten-free buckwheat flour as a core ingredient, producing a crispy, crunchy, tasty treat! These are dairy-free cookies as well (though, easy variations exist that use butter if you like).

My mother created these cookies for a simple-to-make gluten-free version of the classic "Tollhouse" chocolate chip cookies. They were delightful, and had plenty of crunchy appeal, reminding me of the traditional Toll House chocolate chip cookie they were meant to mimic.

She used a lighter variety of buckwheat in these, which keeps the flavor of the buckwheat from becoming too overpowering. If you absolutely do not care for buckwheat, this probably is not the recipe for you -- the flavor is mild, but still discernible.

We all use the certified gluten-free buckwheat flour from Birkett Mills (link to their site), which is of a very nice quality. I actually find Birkett's web site a bit hard to navigate (it is not intuitively organized), so I pulled the following picture and product description from Birkett's web site, and made the image below link to the web page they sell the actual buckwheat product I am talking about (i.e., click the buckwheat picture to go there).

Pocono Buckwheat Flour
100% pure stone ground buckwheat flour. USDA Certified Organic. All natural, no additives or preservatives. Total weight: 2 lbs. ea. Shipping: UPS Ground; Cost: $3.60 + S/H [as of when I posted this -- 2/11/2009]

The cookies I had a chance to consume (that my mother baked) were also using a mix of Splenda (brand sweetener) and regular sugars for a slight reduction in carbs, and they were just fine. As simple as they are to make, these gluten-free cookies will come in handy when you need a crunchy cookie without a long wait.

Mom was quite happy to share her recipe with others, and I thank her for yet another contribution to the gluten-free recipes library (see desserts section for this particular recipe). I hope others enjoy the cookies as much as I did - they really hit the spot for me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Gluten-Free Sales Proceeds to Charity this YEAR

UPDATE: we have extended this charity-event to be what is most likely a permanent thing unless we post any further notice here. This means we will be donating ALL book sales proceeds to charity for a long time. And, new for 2010: one of our employers is now MATCHING all donations dollar-for-dollar on the first $5,000/year we donate to charity, so for ever dollar you spend on a book, charities will get two dollars.

I have been deeply concerned with the state of the economy, how quickly it is degrading, and how this is impacting people throughout the United States - especially those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a layoff or other forced unemployment.

I was watching 60 minutes last week when they were detailing the unemployment carnage in Wilmington, OH (where the Airborne Express / DHL company is closing, and leaving nearly 1/4 of the town unemployed - 3,000 workers thus far). And then there is the nearly daily nightly news report about mass layoffs somewhere, and rising unemployment. And, another sub-story to all this is the escalating demand for services from local Food Banks and other charitable organizations.

So, my wife and I have decided that we will be donating all proceeds from the sales of our Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts books (link) to charity -- either regional or local food bank(s) and/or homeless shelter(s).

Notice I am not limiting the donation to "all profits" from the books sales (since "profits" is a term subject to manipulation), but rather I am saying that we will donate the entire amount collected for each book sold throughout the month:
  • without any limit on quantity (well, up to whatever books we have printed, which should be plenty);
  • with the only exception being the shipping charge, which already goes to employ another group of people whose business is in decline: Postal Workers and shipping-products-producers (i.e., box-manufacturers, tape producers, bubble-wrap suppliers).
I could not help thinking how difficult it would be to maintain a wheat-free or gluten-free diet, should someone end up at a charitable food-bank. This is something I do not know how to address easily with charitable giving... I can only hope that some shelters or assistance organizations are able to accommodate special needs when they must, though I fear it is unlikely. Regardless, gluten-free or not, I just want to know that we have at least tried to help those less fortunate in a time of need.

Finally, to anyone that decides to purchase a book, we thank you as always, and in addition, any recipient of donations resulting from our sales would certainly thank you too if they could. And to anyone reading this Gluten-Free Blog and facing financial hardships of their own, we wish you the best and hope things work out well for you ASAP.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Recipe: Banana-Walnut Waffles

I always have enjoyed homemade waffles, even before the whole Celiac Disease thing. But, for whatever reason, after going gluten-free I enjoy waffles more than ever - perhaps just because they are one of those comfort foods that can be baked gluten-free and taste just like the "real" thing, with very similar texture and taste.

I have posted a few Gluten-Free waffle variations over on our free recipes library before, but I think this is the first dairy-free one I have posted. My wife came up with this latest variation when working on a few dairy-free formulas (she has others - a chocolate chocolate-chip one I really like too!). But, for today, the recipe is a banana walnut variation:

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Banana Walnut Waffles Recipe (link to recipe)

Now, I must admit, for full-disclosure purposes, I consumed all of the waffles before realizing I had not taken a picture of them this time! Arhghgh. So, I borrowed this picture (above) from the buttermilk/flax waffles recipe (also in our gluten-free recipes library), since they look the same essentially. All the more reason the chocolate-chocolate-chip version is not here today either... forgot the picture taking, and I have no pictures similar to those :)

These waffles use a few gluten-free grains in the ingredient list, to make them a bit more healthy (fiber / proteins / even some Omega-3's) with Buckwheat Flour, Teff Flour, and Flaxseed Meal. And, in place of the typical dairy ingredients, my wife has chosen to use Silken Tofu, which also adds a nice bit of soy protein while providing much of the texture-enhancement that dairy would otherwise add.

The result is a wonderfully light and fluffy waffle equal to any real ones - banana/nut too! Mild flavored and light bodied (wow, sounds like I am describing a beer or wine), they are delicious, and have that wonderful flavor combination of bananas and walnuts! Sure to be a hit with children as well as adults. You will need a waffle maker to make these, but it is worth the investment and you will be happy you bought one if you do not already own one (especially if you crave gluten-free waffles all the time like I do).