Coming Events: GIG Gluten-Free Fair, May Class at Bob’s Red Mill and Gluten Free Expo

Portland GIG Gluten-Free Fair

The Portland Metro GIG has announced the date and venue for this years spring Gluten-Free Fair. It will be held Saturday, May 19th, 2012 at Mittleman Jewish Community Center on Capitol Highway near Multnomah Village. More information here on Grain Damaged.

May Class at Bob’s Red Mill

The May schedule of classes at Bob’s Red Mill is out. They only have one gluten-free class this month, but it looks intriguing. Here’s the description:

Gluten Free Baking with Dr. Jean Layton! Have you been frustrated that your gluten-free goodies have been less than stellar? Using a simple way of measuring for perfect results every time join Dr. Jean Layton co-author of Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies for a tantalizing and tempting baked treats. Her recipes include: Crunchy Hazelnut Biscotti – twice baked cookies that are perfect with a cup of tea, Maple Walnut Tea Scones – using no sugar, just pure maple syrup for sweetening, Sweet Potato Biscuits that use the sweet potato puree for tenderness and flavor, allowing the biscuits to be lower in fat and higher in antioxidants, Cranberry Orange Muffins, this vegan muffin is the perfect quick breakfast treat, Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with a sweet lemon glaze, and Perfect Pancakes. Bring your gluten free baking questions, Dr. Jean loves to share her 6 years of experience with gluten-free thriving.

Supplies to Bring: enjoy the sampling! Class fee $45.00

When: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Where: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Cooking School, 5000 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
Contact: Call Bonnie at (971) 206-2208 to enroll.

Chicago Gluten-Free Expo is This Month

The Living Without Gluten Free Expo is coming in two weeks, in Chicago. A quick look at the class schedule reveals two prominent Portland folks, Kyra Bussanich of Crave Bake Shop, and Laura B. Russell, author of the Gluten Free Asian Kitchen. There’s a spot on the website where you can go and vote for them to come to Portland, here. Do it!

Fine Print: We are not affiliated with the Portland GIG, Bob’s Red Mill, or the Gluten-Free Expo.

Crave Bakery Grand Opening This Friday

Great news! Crave Bake Shop is opening a retail store in Lake Oswego. I know. I know. They should really be opening in NE Portland! That’s what I told them, too. Anyways, the grand opening is this Friday at 10:00 AM. Did we mention that Crave Bake Shop makes the best gluten-free cupcakes and cinnamon rolls ever? They do.

Here’s the press release:

You’ll Never Know These Decadent Desserts are Gluten-Free:
Nationally-Acclaimed Crave Bake Shop Opens a Store

Lake Oswego, OR— May 2, 2011

What: We are delighted to announce the grand opening of Crave Bake Shop’s gourmet gluten-free retail store, specializing in cupcakes, celebration (wedding, birthday, special occasion) cakes, cinnamon rolls, scones, cookies, tarts, doughnuts and cream puffs. Crave Bake Shop has a dedicated wheat- and gluten-free kitchen.

Where: 460 Fifth Street in Lake Oswego, OR 97034 Tel: 503.212.2979

When: Doors open to the public on Friday, May 13th at 10 am. Regular store hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10 AM to 5PM and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM.

Unique menu: Crave Bake Shop specializes in gourmet gluten-free and made-from-scratch desserts and pastries that are prepared with the premium ingredients such as sweet cream butter, pure vanilla bean extract, Callebaut French dark chocolate, passion fruit puree – and much more.

Those looking to satiate their sweet tooth can choose from a full menu of Crave Bake Shop’s popular signature desserts – like Tart Raspberry Angel Rolls, buttery Orange Currant Scones, addictive gooey Cinnamon Rolls, decadent Peanut Butter Truffle Fudge Brownies, and many other delectable treats such as Chocolate Caramel Ecstasy cupcakes—all gluten-free.

National and Local Recognition: Kyra Bussanich, pastry chef and founder of Crave Bake Shop, has been featured on the Food Network’s hit series “Cupcake Wars,” in the article “Coast to Coast Cupcakes” in Gluten-Free Living magazine, on numerous national and local gluten-free websites, several times in the Food section of “The Oregonian” (Portland), and more. They have fulfilled custom orders throughout the United States.

Bussanich is a graduate of Portland’s Le Cordon Bleu program in Patisserie and Baking. Previously, she ran Crave Bake Shop as a custom-order-only bakery.

More info: Visit CraveBakeShop.com or on Facebook, (Crave Bake Shop), or contact Jamie Hogland at CraveBakeShop@gmail.com or 503-260-7914

Restaurant Review: Dinner at Your Door

It seems strange to call Dinner at Your Door a restaurant, when in fact it is a dinner delivery service. Like many people out there, we participate in Groupon deals when they’re interesting. We heard about the Groupon for Dinner at Your Door from someone we know and went for it because they offer some gluten-free options.

Before I get into this review, I just have to say that when we go places and try things, we take notes when we do. While I’m always rooting for the home team, we have to count things as they fall.

Here is how Dinner at Your Door works. As it sounds, it is a company that delivers a meal to your door. They only deliver meals to each area of Portland once a week. The meals have to be purchased in multiples of two and you must buy meals for two weeks at a time. So really, you’re buying at least four meals. Got it? It’s really quite simple, and I think their site probably does a better job of explaining it, here. The price for a meal for two is currently $28/week. So since you have to get two weeks worth, that’s $56. For this you get two meals that will feed two people each on two consecutive weeks. (whew)

I do have to say that their website is set up really well, and while you’re ordering your meals, things get explained very clearly so that you know what is going on. When I ordered, they had three main entrees to choose from. Two were gluten-free and one of these was also vegetarian. Along with the website, they also have a system of sending emails to notify you about when a meal is coming, and also when to leave the dishes on your porch for them to pick up. I was really impressed with the automation that they have set up, and think that whoever designed and built their website deserves a bonus.

Having been impressed with the website, you can imagine my disappointment when our food didn’t show up the morning that our first delivery was scheduled. I happened to have the day off from work, and when the food didn’t show up by 10:00 AM, I called them. Someone answered the phone immediately, and they were apologetic, but they told me that they had already delivered all the food that morning and couldn’t get us anything. This is going to sound kind of goofy, maybe, but Sienna and I had planned out a whole multi-day meal schedule based on the assumption that we were going to have dinner delivered that night, so it really threw a wrench into our plans. About a half hour later, they called me back and said that they had some meals available, but they weren’t from the two choices we had picked off of the menu. The good news was that they were gluten-free. So I agreed.

Somewhere in all this, she mentioned that they were really busy because of the Groupon.

Dinner at Your Door delivered.

Dinner at Your Door delivery contents

Here’s what we got. A bag with three containers of food, some dressing in a small plastic container, and two pre-packaged cookies. The meal was Mushroom and Wild Rice Pilaf, Broccoli with Garlic, and a mixed-greens salad with a vinaigrette. The meals come in glass containers, so Dinner at Your Door gets green points for not using disposable containers.

Dinner at Your Door Keating Instructions

Twenty minutes later, we had a hot meal:

Mushroom and Wild Rice Pilaf

Neither of us were particularly impressed with the dinner. The salad struck us as being a lot like the kind they sell in bags at Trader Joes with some bell peppers mixed in. The salad dressing was a rather uninspired and generic Italian dressing. The pilaf was mostly tasteless and one-dimensional. It could have used some garlic and seasoning. We liked the broccoli. The broccoli didn’t come with instructions, so we just threw it in the oven with the pilaf and hoped for the best. Luckily, it turned out great and was tasty.

Le Cookie Monkey

As mentioned above, the meal came with cookies, which are made by Le Cookie Monkey. Unfortunately, there were no ingredients listed on the cookie package, and no markings for whether or not it was gluten-free. So I called up Dinner at Your Door to find out if it was OK to eat. It was after hours by then, so I wasn’t too surprised when nobody answered. I left a message and nobody got back to me that night. The next day was a Friday and they didn’t call me that day either. I ended up being kind of busy, so I didn’t call them. The weekend passed, and on Monday I finally got tired of looking at the cookie, so I called them again and got the same person. She informed me that while she had got my message, she hadn’t had a chance to call me yet. I got my answer: the cookies are not gluten-free. So it’s a good thing I didn’t eat mine.

Thursday rolled around again, so it was time for another delivery. On Wednesday, we had got an email confirmation that our meal would be delivered the next day, so I was waiting for them, figuring that they would get there soon and I could put the meal in the fridge. The email said that the delivery would happen between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM. By 9:15 AM I was imagining that they were going to miss us like last time. At 9:30 AM, I called again. Someone answered the phone. She was helpful and said she would check the status on our meal and call me back. She called back almost immediately, and told me that my meal was being delivered that morning, but wouldn’t be there until much later. She offered to leave extra ice packs, and reassured me that the weather was cold enough that nothing would spoil. Again, she mentioned that they had been really busy because of the Groupon.

Mexican Cassarole

Mexican Chicken Cassarole

This time we got the Layered Mexican Chicken Casserole, which came with the same broccoli and salad as last time. We enjoyed the casserole a lot more than the pilaf, and we substituted our own dressing for the lackluster Italian.

After the second meal, Dinner at Your Door sends an email where you can arrange to continue to get meals, or cancel. They also send instructions on when to leave the dirty containers out for them to pick up. We opted to cancel. For one thing, we felt that the service was unreliable. While I can relate to being over-worked because of something like a Groupon (we keep hearing restaurant Groupon horror stories), I don’t think it’s a good thing to pass the suffering on to your customers. Maybe a few months from now Dinner at Your Door will have recovered from the Groupon problems. But we still feel kind of burned by it. Last, we tend to feel that when things go awry at restaurants, they will usually make an effort to make things better. We didn’t get that experience with Dinner at Your Door.

I’m betting that our delivery and service problems were not the norm. At the same time, we were left with the feeling that this is a lot of money and trouble for something that we didn’t think was that great. We can think of any number of places to eat in Portland where better fare can be had more cheaply. If we go out to eat, we don’t have to mess with a website, no matter how well it’s put together, and we don’t have to fire up the oven for 20 minutes. We don’t have to dirty our own dishes. We like going out. So for us, it just doesn’t make sense. I could see Dinner at Your Door being a great service if you really hate going out but want to have someone else cook for you one day a week. If that describes you, then Dinner at Your Door is probably a good choice, and I would say give it a try.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.

Dinner at Your Door
www.dinneratyourdoor.com
Portland, OR / 503.701.4531

We want to know: Do you have any opinions about Dinner at Your Door? Do you have a restaurant Groupon horror story? Let us know in the comments!

New Gluten-Free Resource in Portland: Dessert Labs

We’ve featured pieces of news about Dessert Labs once or twice on Gluten Free Portland. I met with them last week and talked to them about their kitchen, gluten-free food, and what they’ve been up to lately.

Dessert Labs is Joe Kalal and Karen Goetsch. Joe is the chef, and Karen handles the business side of it. Joe found out that he had celiac while living in New York, and inspired by the horrible gluten-free food he found there, decided that he could do better. He enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City to learn how to be a pastry chef. Since he couldn’t eat a lot of the wheat-based treats that they learned to cook there, he found that he had to concentrate on using his sense of smell instead. To gauge flakiness, crumb, or moistness in baked goods, he would break them open.

Joe and Karen are relatively new to Portland. They came here from New York City by way of the San Francisco Bay Area. They had meant to start Dessert Labs in the Bay Area, but visited Portland in the summer of 2010 and were delighted when everything just kind of magically fell in place. Within days, they fell in love with the city, found a place to live, and found a kitchen space to work out of.

In late spring of this year, they created a Kickstarter project that raised over $2500. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a website that is a place for creative people to find funding for their own projects. In a nutshell, a person can come up with an idea for a project, describe it on Kickstarter, and then other people can fund the project (see here for more details on how Kickstarter works). The people who fund a project generally get something out of it. In this case, Dessert Labs funders got care packages and subscriptions of gluten-free goodies. Karen and Joe set their project goal at $1000 and it didn’t take long before they passed it. When the funding doubled, they knew that they were really on to something.

What they are doing now is providing gluten-free baked goods to local cafes and restaurants. As we mentioned before, they are supplying Food Front on NW Thurman with gluten-free pies for the holidays. They also take orders for gluten-free cookies, cupcakes, bread, cakes, and pies on their website or by phone. They also told me that they are interested in taking special orders for people who would like to get a particular baked good in gluten-free form, including people who may have family recipes that need to be converted. They are vegetarian/vegan friendly.

Fortunately, they had some gluten-free treats for me to sample when I stopped by.

What we have here are some shortbread cookies, some cupcakes, and a ball of flourless chocolate cake. These were all really good and none of them had the funny aftertaste that you sometimes get with gluten-free baked goods. The flourless chocolate cake was my favorite item. Sienna and I both thought their cupcakes were really impressive. We’re both dying to know how their pies are. We’ll let you know when we have more information!

Dessert Labs – thedessertlabs.typepad.com – 347-513-5461

News Bites on a Friday: Gluten Free Buns, Cookies, Cream Puffs, Pies

Seems like all you need to do to get MY attention these days is say the word “cookie.” My doctor has me on a no sugar, low carbohydrate diet so that I can lose some weight, and it’s been hard walking around in the grocery store when I know that there are some gluten-free goodies calling my name. On the plus side, it’s working. I’ve lost about ten pounds since I started. All this ignoring cookies and pies is starting to get on my nerves, though. On to the news!

Jensen’s Buns Now Available

A couple of months back we got a sneak preview of Jensen’s gluten-free buns and mentioned how awesome they were. At the time, they weren’t available, but we heard from them recently that they finally are. Jensen’s have announced that their buns are available at Lingonberries in Vancouver and Lambs in Lake Oswego (and some of the other Lamb’s markets – check with your local one). They are also providing buns to the Corbett and Hawthorne Fish Houses. Anybody out there tried their buns? Let us know!

Crave Bake Shop is Making Cream Puffs and Other Things

We heard from Crave Bake Shop that they are now offering gluten-free cream puffs and are working on recipes for cookies, pies, tarts and cobblers. If you haven’t checked them out yet, we think you should (see our review, here).

Sweetpea Cookies and Brownies Available at Whole Foods

Continuing with our sweet streak, I noticed recently (before I started this diet) that Sweetpea Bakery has gluten-free cookies and brownies available at Whole Foods.

Best Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Evar

The chocolate chip cookie is really amazing and is like how I remember chocolate chip cookies to be when I was a kid. They’re really delicious. (Note that these items have the “made in a facility shared with wheat” disclaimer). This makes the sweets area of Whole Foods really dangerous for me!

Petunia’s Pies and Pastries

Writes owner Lisa Clark:

Gluten free pie? You’ve found it! I have a new gluten free/vegan pastry business in N Portland called Petunia’s Pies & Pastries! I am currently selling at the Portland Farmers Markets: PSU 8:30-2 Saturdays, Sundays @ the King Market (NE 7th & Wygant)10-2, and Mondays starting June 21 @ Pioneer Square 10-2. I also take orders through my website.

Send Help!

Seeing as how I can’t eat any of these items any time real soon, I’m depending on our readers to check some of these items out and report back!!!

News Bites: NW Gluten-Free Summit and Betty Crocker Mixes

NW Gluten-Free Summit

Mark your calendars: GlutenFreeRN.com has announced a NW Gluten-Free Summit. Here is the blurb from their website:

Join us in Corvallis, Oregon as we meet for the Northwest Gluten Free Summit being held November 5-6, 2010.

Currently it is estimated that 1 out of 100 Americans has celiac disease. Of these, only 3% have been diagnosed. With over 300 associated signs and symptoms and without a clear, accurate diagnosis, celiac disease and gluten intolerance often go undiagnosed. Raising awareness of celiac disease is imperative in order to ensure optimum health for the approximately 3 million people estimated to be suffering from the disorder.

The North West Gluten Free Summit will offer an educational environment where health care professionals, patients, manufacturers, private business owners, chefs, food suppliers and families can collaborate to learn more about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance directly from the experts.

They already have an impressive list of speakers. Registration is for this event is now open at their website: www.nwglutenfreesummit.com. Click here to view the event flier.

Betty Crocker Mixes

Reader Allyson wrote in with a tip:

I was at Winco in Tigard this afternoon (Located right off 99W. I believe the cross streets are Dartmouth and 72nd.) and was surprised to see GF Betty Crocker mixes (all 4 varieties) on sale for $2.48! I asked the cashier if they were on sale because they were not going to be carrying them anymore but she said they have it at a promotional price because its a new product (to the store) and that she’s hoping people will buy them so the store continues to stock the mixes. I’ve seen them on the shelves at Winco for the past few months but they’ve always been about $4…about the same as Fred Meyer.

Hope everyone can take advantage of the great low price!

Thanks to Allyson for the heads-up.

Product Review: Gluten-Free Mama’s Cookie Mix

I’m continuing to work my way through the gluten free flour mixes that we got samples of from Gluten Free Mama. Check out our earlier review of their Gluten Free Pancake Mix. Something I really miss is cookies. It’s funny, too, because there are a lot of gluten-free cookie mixes available now. There’s even a Betty Crocker Mix. I just haven’t got around to checking any of them out.

The other day I found myself at home with some time on my hands and a hankering for some cookies, so I broke out the mix. Here are the ingredients: Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar, White Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Potato Starch, Sweet Rice Flour, Almond Meal Flour, Aluminum-Free Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Vanilla Powder (Vanilla Bean Extractives, Evaporated Cane Juice, Silica, Cellulose). It happens that these are the exact same ingredients that are used in their pancake mix, except that there is more cane sugar in this mix. There is also more salt. Mama’s figures that there are fifteen 100 calorie servings in the container, and that each serving has 100 mg of salt.

The cookies are a snap to make. Just add 1.2 cup butter, an egg, and 2-3 Tbsp of milk.

Then roll out on a surface with some rice-flour to keep the dough from sticking.

Cut out shapes and top with sprinkles, sugar, or what-have-you. I topped half of mine with sugar and half with shredded coconut. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350* for 12-14 minutes or until edges start to brown.

I sort of separated the two batches and took a photo. They look kind of scared of each other here. While I wasn’t that excited by the Mama’s Pancake Mix, I did enjoy these cookies. Sienna did not like either product. She says that they have an nasty metallic after-taste. It’s somewhat rare that Sienna and I differ so much on a product, but there it is. On the plus side, that left more cookies for me! So, our verdict is maybe you’ll like them, and maybe not.

Get Gluten Free Mama’s Sugar Cookie Mix on Amazon. Many thanks to Gluten Free Mama for sending us these mixes to review. See our disclosure policy, here.

Gluten-Free Italy: Venice! Hotel L’Alboro

We spent two weeks in Italy and I took lots of notes about our trip and all the places we ate and stayed. The good news is that I’ve got loads of information on gluten-free eating in Italy! The bad news is that I’ve got loads of information on gluten-free eating in Italy! I’ve got this huge pile of backlogged entries to do so I’m going to power through them. Here goes:

Hotel L’Albroro

The first place we stayed in Italy was Venice. I loved Venice! Our hotel there was the Hotel L’Alboro. It is a three star hotel, which in Europe means that it’s nice, clean, and has some amenities, but isn’t going to be plush or have amazing service or anything. We thought that the L’Alboro was a little run down but clean. Our room was small by American standards. The bed was how we found almost all the beds in Italy: hard with foam pillows.

Hotel L'Alboro in Venice

The staff at L’Alboro is very nice and when they found that I was gluten-free, they got me three (three!) bags of gluten-free biscotti and also told me what I could and couldn’t eat in their breakfast area. This was a huge source of relief to me because I was worried about breakfasts there. It was also very kind of them and made me feel special in a good way instead of the usual “high-maintenance” way. There was some kind of altercation over the coffee that had to do with gluten, and I never found out what the deal was, but some Google searches are making me think I had caffè d’orzo, which is a kind of substitute coffee made with roasted barley. So make sure the serving people know that you’re gluten-free.

The location is awesome! The L’Alboro is in a kind of quiet out-of-the-way spot very near St. Mark’s Square. It is also a just walk to the Rialto Bridge (where all the night-life seems to be) and The Academy and Peggy Guggenheim Museums. There is a vaporetto (water bus) stop about 50 feet away.
View Larger Map

Some other notes: Almost all the staff speaks English. Franco and his wife were very kind and Franco showed us photos of his dog and his house. Sienna was having trouble figuring out whether or not to buy a pair of boots. She asked one of the staff and he reported back what his wife thought the next day. The locks at Hotel L’Alboro are the old fashioned kind that use what look like skeleton keys. Very cool!

Venice - Gluten Free!

About Venice

We had a little trouble getting good food in Venice. I think that tourism is to blame more than anything else. When there are lots of tourists around to support bad restaurants, quality suffers. After a few unsatisfying and overly-expensive meals, we decided to stick with recommendations from the staff at our hotel and from our Rick Steves guide. We also started looking very closely at the people eating at restaurants. If the people at a restaurant are just chewing in stunned silence and/or seem unhappy, steer clear! If the people at a restaurant are eating and talking loudly and look like they’re having a good time, go for it.

Almost every waiter we encountered in Italy knew about gluten. In most cases all you have to say is “Niente glutine” and they’ll start pointing out what you can eat on the menu. In the rare instances that they don’t know what you’re talking about, you’ll need to pull out a list of offending items and then suggest things you can eat, which is basically what you have to do in the United States. I’ll post more about Italy and list some of the restaurants we visited soon.

Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-Free Friendly But Ask Questions.
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same

Hotel L’Alboro
http://www.alborohotel.it
Sestiere San Marco, 3894
30124 Venezia, Venezia (Veneto), Italy
+35 041 5229454‎
e-mail: info@alborohotel.it

News Bite: New Cascadia Grand Opening Celebration

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

New Cascadia Traditional bakery, purveyor of gluten-free baked goods with a dedicated gluten-free facility, has announced a grand opening celebration for their new location which will be on Friday, September 25. They are at 1700 SE 6th Avenue, two blocks south of Hawthorne. You might be thinking: “Haven’t they been there a while?” and you would be right. That’s OK though. Here is their announcement:

You are invited to our Grand Opening Celebration at our new location (1700 SE 6th Avenue, two blocks South of Hawthorne Blvd.) on Friday, September 25th.
We will be giving away great raffle prizes including gift certificates, t-shirts, tote bags (perfect for carrying your gluten free goodies), bread knives, and more!

There will be samples of some of our products, there will new products to showcase and there will be mini cupcakes for all (or until we run out)!

The fun will begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

Please join us in the festivities-we would love to see you.

They are also announcing new hours:

Beginning Monday, September 21st, we will be open each and every Monday at 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. for your convenience.
We will offer a more streamlined menu, featuring our most popular gluten free items.
Of course we will have our full espresso and coffee menu (enhanced by our Stumptown Coffee beans!) as well as a complimentary selection of DragonFly Chai teas for your enjoyment.
Look for our new offerings of organic loose leaf teas coming in the next few weeks-just in time for the cooler months.

AND:

Portland Pedal Power & New Cascadia Traditional TM Team Up to bring you our gluten free products via bicycle delivery…
Portland Pedal Power is a bicycle delivery service catering to the downtown Portland area and close-in NW and they will be able to deliver our goods to you once a week! For those of you who aren’t able to get over to our new location, this may be a great option!
They offer a terrific service and we are proud to be partnering with them. Place your order through their website by 4:00 p.m. every Monday for delivery the following Wednesday afternoon.
Please check out their website for more information or to place your first order:
www.portlandpedalpower.com

We have reviewed them several times in the past. Their gluten-free breads. Cinnamon Roll and Sugar Cookies. And their new location in July. (My word! Where has the Summer gone?)

Gluten-Free Flours for Scone Follow-up

A while ago we posted a delicious gluten-free scone recipe developed by Gina at Gluten Free Gourmand. In that post, since Gina didn’t post a specific flour mix, we tried it out with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour (that’s a mouthful, huh?) We enjoyed the resulting scones, although it turned out that the Bob’s Red Mill flour mix is kind of bean-flavored and we needed to use less liquid than Gina’s recipe called for. At the end of the post, I speculated whether or not it would be a good idea to try the same recipe with Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix (click the link to see our review of this product for making gluten-free pancakes.)

Gluten-free scones

In the comments, we had a bunch of people agree with us that the Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour mix was too heavy on the bean flavor. We also heard from Sea at Book of Yum, who recommended that we avoid the Trader Joe’s mix.

So a few weekends later we tried the same scone recipe with the main flour mix recipe from Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine by Annalise Roberts. Since we reviewed the book, we’ve been very happy with the flavor and quality of the gluten-free breads we’ve been able to make (although they don’t rise as much as we would like.) The scones I made with that flour mix were PERFECT and AWESOME. They tasted delicious and they stored really well. Obviously, they were at their best straight out of the oven! I would share the gluten-free flour mix recipe, but I don’t think it would be honest of me to post it here. This book can be bought from Amazon, here.

But I still had the nagging question in the back of my mind: “What would these be like with the Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Pancake and Waffle mix?” So last weekend I decided to give it a try. Although with the Annalise Roberts gluten-free flour mix batch, I did the recipe exactly the same, this time Sienna requested that I leave out the lemon zest. Also, since the Trader Joe’s mix includes salt and baking powder, I omitted those. Otherwise it was the exact same recipe.

The Trader Joe’s mix scones were a disaster. First, the Trader Joe’s mix contains xanthan gum. This isn’t normally a bad thing, but in this case it was a problem. Xanthan gum imparts elasticity to gluten-free dough, which is good because the gluten in wheat flour is what makes regular dough elastic. The problem with xanthan gum is that if you get too much in a flour mix, it will absorb a lot of liquid and make a mix too runny. Then the baked result ends up being tough. So the dough ended up being too wet from the get-go. I kept adding more of the flour mix in, but it didn’t help. I finally gave up. Here’s how the scones made with the Trader Joe’s gluten-free mix ended up looking.

Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Mix Scones

So they sagged all over and then puffed up as they baked. I also had to bake them about twice as long as the recipe called for. The bad news is that they ended up way too sweet. They also did not keep well at all. Three days later they were kind of tough.

The good news is that they taste EXACTLY like sugar cookies and have the same texture. So yeah, if you really miss traditional white sugar cookies, here is a gluten-free, vegan recipe that is an excellent facsimile. I’m posting this half-jokingly, but I’m sure someone could take this recipe and make some awesome cookies with a little bit more experimentation.

1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Pancake and Waffle Mix
1 cups of the “cream” spooned from the top of a can of coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Some lemon zest if you like it in your sugar cookies.

Mix everything. Add more coconut milk if the mixture is too dry. Form the cookies and sprinkle sugar on top. If you like them sweet, you might try upping the sugar to 1/2 cup. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

And there you have it!