Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cookie Cheat

I'm going to admit something I am not proud of: I used a baking mix.

I like to think of myself as a whole foods, slow foods cook, the antithesis of Sandra Lee. Until recently, there was nothing instant or pre-cooked in my cupboards. But since buying an old, demanding house and finding out I have Celiac, I've fallen off my do-it-yourself high horse a bit. I'm busy, I'm disorganized, and gluten-free baking requires more perseverance and good humor than I have at the end of most days.

I've reverted to dorm-style cooking, neglecting my ice cream maker in favor of Purely Decadent (delicious and habit-forming), and heating up Amy's Rice Crust Spinach Pizza (chalky and plastic). I've indulged in Van's Wheat-Free Homestyle Waffles more than once. They're gritty and dry, but they're an instant gluten-free vehicle for maple syrup.

Imagine my dilemma when I discovered that Cherrybrook Kitchen's gluten-free baking mixes are egg and dairy-free. Their sugar cookies call only for margarine, vanilla, and rice milk. I haven't bought a baking mix since high school, but times were desperate. Everyone knows that unless you bake sugar cookies at least once between Halloween and Christmas, Santa will not come to your house. So "bake" them, I did.

You cannot roll this dough out and cut it into adorable holiday shapes. Instead, you form pea-sized balls of dough into spheres which don't spread much in the oven, forming cute little button cookies. I rolled half the dough in cinnamon-sugar, for cheater snickerdoodles.

Once cooled, the cookies were buttery and sweet with a strong vanilla aftertaste. They were soft and chewy, though grainier than traditional sugar cookies.

Bottom line: if I could eat gluten, I wouldn't use this mix, because I'd make big, flat, conifer-shaped sugar cookies from scratch. But since I've yet to crack the code of gluten-free, egg-free baking, thank goodness for Cherrybrook Kitchen sugar cookie mix. These will tide me over until next year.

10 comments:

  1. ENJOY your cookies. It's not like you bought them at McDonalds. :) Mix or not, the photos look wonderful!

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  2. Hey, a baking mix is still easily better than flat-out store bought cookies, so the way I see it is that whatever you can manage makes a difference. Besides, they look delicious!

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  3. You go, girl! These look really yummy. You're not a cheater: The only way you can cheat is by saying you made something you didn't.

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  4. I think your GF baking efforts to date are very admirable! Some of those premade GF foods sound like they're lacking, huh?

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  5. If something tastes delicious, saves us time, and is made with wholesome ingredients, I say go for it! Those cookies look so good, I can practically taste them! And my freezer is always stocked with Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream. I love my ice cream maker, but I've never made anything with it that I tastes better than Purely Decadent.

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  6. I've heard good things about the Cherrybrook range and they look lovely.

    The more you bake and test gluten free recipes, the easier it will become but don't beat yourself up over using a vegan packet mix :)

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  7. Your cookies look amazing! It does sound so yummy, I love soft and chewy cookies. I don't think you're cheating, I use baking mix all the time:)

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  8. Cute cookies, & hey, GF baking can be tough. Don't be so hard on yourself!

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  9. I haven't ever tried any of her recipes, but Elana's Pantry has a whole section of gluten-free vegan whatnot, including a lot of baked goods:

    http://www.elanaspantry.com/tag/vegan/

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  10. My kids picked some of the chocolate chip cookies from Cherrybrook up last week. They were tickled that they have Arthur on the box and a little story on the back about how Binky can't eat wheat. I'm proud that my kids so readily picked up on the message. When I came home they excitedly told me that they made cookies that everyone can have! "Even you daddy, cuz they're vegan!" I was touched. They were tasty too. I had lunchbox treats for the next 3 days.

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