Gluten free treats aren’t always readily available in bakeries – and when they are, they tend not to boast the same freshly-baked consistency of their floury counterparts.
Also, gluten-free baked goods often go crumbly when left out on shelves
This is not because of what’s added to gluten-free bakes, but rather because of what they lack. Unlike wheat-based bakes (which contain the protein gluten combined with water to create a sticky dough which hardens into a springy texture with heat), the water leeches out of gluten-free bakes once they’ve cooled, giving them an unappealing dry texture.1
Luckily, it’s simple and fun to make your own gluten-free bakes at home – where they’re guaranteed not to last long!
This way, you can be sure that your treats will be free from artificial colours and preservatives – and you can enjoy the scent of warm baked goods wafting from your oven. Perfect to cheer up a gloomy winter weekend!
Which biscuits are gluten free?
Most biscuits contain gluten in the form of wheat flour. Wheat flour gives biscuits that soft, chewy texture and slight rise which makes them look, taste and smell so tempting.
Gluten free biscuits use alternative ingredients to flour to replicate that freshly-baked mouthfeel.
- Ground almonds
- Peanut butter
- Rice flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Rolled oats
- Tapioca flour
- Corn flour
- Potato starch
- Chickpea flour
A blend of different flours is recommended when baking with gluten-free flour, for example rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat. You may have to try a few different gluten-free cookie recipes before you find a gluten-free flour blend that you love.
It’s worth noting that if you bake with a gluten-free flour, you need to use a binding agent such as xathan gum or guar gum to stop the mixture going crumbly and falling apart. This binding agent takes the place of the sticky gluten proteins, offering a springy texture and superior structure.
Alternately, you could use a sticky nut butter which will help the mixture bind together and hold its shape after cooling.
If you haven’t got time to make your own just now, you can buy special gluten-free versions of popular teatime treats.
How do you make gluten free biscuits from scratch?
Don’t make your cookies too large, as gluten-free bakes tend to hold their shape better if they’re smaller.
This recipe for winter berry gluten free cookies makes 20 small cookies. The main ingredient is peanut butter, making the cookies moist and chewy. With the dark red pops of jam in their centres, these blond biscuits will add a pretty festive feeling to your table this season without the ubiquitous cinnamon, clove and mulled wine flavours which aren’t to everyone’s taste, especially children.
To make this recipe vegan, omit the egg and replace it with half a mashed banana. This will ensure the ingredients bind together.
We used blackberry jam for a tart flavour, but you could use any winter berry jam.
Gluten Free Winter Berry and Peanut Butter Mini Cookies
- 240g peanut butter
- 60g sugar
- 70g desiccated coconut
- 1 egg
- 60g blackberry jam (or your favourite gluten-free preserve)
- Mix together the peanut butter, sugar and coconut, add the beaten egg and thoroughly combine into a sticky dough. You can do this by hand using a wooden spoon – older kids will enjoy this task. Alternately, use a hand mixer.
- One by one, take a teaspoon of the mixture and roll into balls about the size of cherry tomatoes (or a child’s palm). This is a fun task for kids of all ages. Make sure the hands are a little wet as this helps to prevent the sticky mixture sticking to hands. If the dough seems too sticky to work with, put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool it – it’ll be easier to handle.
- Flatten the cookie dough balls slightly onto an oven tray lined with grease proof paper, then, using a thumb, or the handle end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the centre of each cookie.
- Put about one third of a teaspoonful of jam into each one then bake for 12 minutes at 180 degrees.
- Let them cool slightly before eating – the jam will be very hot.
- Store gluten-free cookies at room temperature in an airtight container. You can freeze them once completely cool.
Gluten Free Winter Berry and Peanut Butter Mini Cookies Nutrition
|Nutrition||Per cookie||Per batch of 20 cookies|
Last updated: 27 November 2020