For holiday baking, Pereg Natural Foods (www.pereg-gourmet.com) offers up a complete line of eight gluten-free flour varieties providing consumers on restricted diets with more and better cooking and baking options. Choose from: almond, banana, buckwheat, chickpea, quinoa, teff, plantain and coconut.
If you are planning on baking Hamantashen – the traditional Purim cookie – for friends and family, Pereg’s gluten-free flours work individually or mixed as a great substitute for traditional flour. Each variety of gluten-free flour adds its own unique flavor to baking.
Says Pereg’s Brett Fuss, “Coconut flour will give a neutral, slight coconut flavor, which goes great with chocolate and fruit fillings, while quinoa offers a slightly nutty, earthy flavor to baked goods. If you like banana, use gluten-free banana flour for a slight banana flavor. Whichever you use, you’ll find the texture and consistency are as good as it gets when it comes to gluten-free baking and cooking.”
GLUTEN FREE HAMANTASHEN, recipe courtesy of Esther Anzaroot from @glutenfree.sy
Yields 1 ½ dozen Hamantashen
2 cups water
1 cup poppy seed (or other filling of choice)
1/3 cup raisins
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup honey
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
Ingredients for Gluten Free Hamantashen cookie dough
¾ cup butter, softened (or, use Earth Balance for dairy-free)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Pereg Natural Foods Gluten-Free Coconut Flour
1 cup Pereg Natural Foods Gluten-Free Almond Flour
¼ orange juice
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 TBLSPN milk (or dairy-free milk substitute) for glaze
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine all the ingredients together, except for the filling ingredients, using a food processor.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and start adding the coconut flour while kneading the dough until you get a play-dough consistency.
Put the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and flatten the dough with a rolling-pin.
Make circles using a cookie cutter about 5 inches wide
Fill center of each cookie circle with filling mix and squeeze corners to make triangle
Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking about 20 minutes or check to see that bottom does not burn. Take out of oven to cool. Taste and enjoy.
Tips When Using Gluten-Free Flour
Buy or make a gluten-free flour mix. If you just need to coat something in flour before you saute it, you can get away with a single-grain gluten-free flour. But for baking, gluten-free flours work better when used in combination. For thickening sauces and gravies, use cornstarch or potato starch rather than gluten-free flour. Start with a gluten-free flour mix that can be substituted one-for-one for wheat flour in recipes.
Bake breads and rolls in containers with walls. Without gluten, bread loaves and rolls don’t hold their shape. Bake bread in loaf pans or Bundt pans, and use muffin tins for rolls.
Add gums to your gluten-free flour. The sticky effect created by gluten can be simulated to a certain extent by adding gums, such as guar gum or xanthan gum. These “gums” are only added to recipes in small amounts (such as 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour) and are already included in many commercial gluten-free flour mixes.
Add some protein when you use gluten-free flour. Because gluten is a protein, it can help to add some protein to baking recipes when you’re substituting gluten-free flours for wheat or white flour. For instance, try replacing half a cup of water in your recipe with egg or liquid egg whites.
Read gluten-free cookbooks and blogs for new ideas. Many great gluten-free cookbooks are available. As gluten-free cooking becomes more common, you will find new tips and innovations.
Experiment with some old favorites. Don’t be afraid to work with your favorite old recipes, adapting them to gluten-free. It may take several tries to figure out exactly what to do. Set aside time to experiment and see if you can recreate something you like in a form you can eat.
Remember to protect against cross-contamination with gluten. For example, never prepare gluten-free foods on the same surface used to prepare foods with gluten unless it’s been thoroughly cleaned. You’re much safer to have separate sets of utensils for gluten-free food preparation. Always use different sifters for gluten-free and regular flours.
Store gluten-free flour in the refrigerator or freezer. This advice is particularly important if you buy your flours in bulk. If you store your flours in the freezer, let them come to room temperature before you use them.
Be sure the flour you are substituting is gluten-free.
All eight varieties of Pereg Natural Foods Gluten-free flours are certified gluten-free, non-GMO, 100% natural, non-dairy and certified OU kosher. They are packaged in 16 oz. re-sealable stay-fresh bags, retailing for about $4.99.
Pereg Natural Foods was established in 1906, and is based in Clifton, NJ. They first became known for their vast variety of pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, ranging from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.
In addition to spices, Pereg is a leading producer of premium ancient grains, gluten-free flours and an extensive line of quinoa and couscous products. They manufacture all their products from start to finish, controlling the quality from the sourcing until the product is packed and ready for the consumer.
All Pereg products are kosher certified by both the Orthodox Union (OU) and CRC, are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many products are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO. Pereg Natural Foods products are available at select retailers throughout the US and Canada, and on their website, www.pereg-gourmet.com.