Do you know that between 6 and 7% of the population in the US suffer from gluten intolerance? Unfortunately, gluten can be found in almost any product, especially baked goods. If you or your loved one suffers from gluten sensitivity, you most likely know how hard it is to find gluten-free cookies.
But baking without gluten can be challenging. Your gluten-free cookies may be chewy or fall apart. You may swap non-gluten flours for alternatives and still not master the best gluten-free cookie recipe.
Fear no more! Keep reading to find out gluten-free baking tips to make the best gluten-free cookies!
1. Are Your Ingredients Gluten-Free?
You may be very eager to start baking, but before you do, make sure that all your products are gluten-free. You have swapped wheat flour for gluten-free flour in your gluten-free cookie recipe, but what about other products?
Flour or cookie mixes may include additional ingredients that may not be gluten-free. For example, a vanilla extract or cooking chocolate could contain gluten. Always read labels to make sure all your ingredients are gluten-free.
2. Get Your Flour Right
The main ingredient in any gluten-free cookie recipe is flour. But it is not as simple as swapping wheat flour for gluten-free flour. You need to find the right combination to receive the texture, structure, and flavor you need.
Depending on what cookies you want to make, you may opt for 1:1 gluten-free baking flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour, almond, oat, or coconut flour.
Both 1:1 gluten-free baking flour and gluten-free all-purpose flour are good for cookies, cupcakes, and muffins. 1:1 gluten-free baking flour contains xanthan gum, and gluten-free all-purpose flour doesn’t. You may also not want to use 1:1 gluten-free baking flour if you bake with yeast.
Almond flour, made from ground almonds, is a great option, and it can be combined with oat or coconut flour.
3. Add Binding Agent
In traditional baking, gluten is used as a binding agent. It makes your cookie dough stick so you can shape it. You need a binding agent in your gluten-free cookies recipe; otherwise, your cookies will fall apart.
Some flour blends may already contain a binding agent, so double-check the list of ingredients. If it doesn’t, you can add flaxseeds, xanthan gum, or guar gum.
You need to mimic the properties of gluten in your gluten-free cookie recipes. You aim to achieve the perfect combination between starches, grains, and gum. A rule of thumb is that you need around ½ teaspoon of gum to a cup of flour.
The binding agent adds elasticity to your dough, but it is important that you measure it, so your cookies don’t turn up gummy.
4. Measure it Correctly
Some may say that baking is a science. You need to get all the ingredients in the proper quantities, or you will ruin your cookies. Your store-bought gluten-free cookie or flour mix may already come measured, but if you make one yourself, measuring is key.
Unfortunately, gluten-free flours are more complex in their structure, so you need to be accurate. The best way to do it right is to use a kitchen scale, which is more precise than cups and less messy.
You want to go for weight and not the volume of your flour. So, rather than measuring in cups, use grams or ounces.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, be immaculate with measuring in cups. Use a spoon to put the flour into the cup, rather than scooping the flour from a bag or box. Don’t overpack the cup, shake any excess, and let it settle.
5. Perfect the Dough
Now that you have your gluten-free cookie mix, it’s time to make the cookie dough. There are a few gluten-free baking tips you need to know about to make the perfect cookies.
Gluten works as a binding and leavening agent. Without it, your cookie dough may be dry and hard. To make it more workable, you need to add moisture.
The best option is to add fat liquid, such as full-fat milk, cream, or coconut cream. You may also want to add applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree. They add lightness and sweetness to your gluten-free cookies recipe.
Keep in mind the measurement baking tips you have just learned. You don’t want to overdo it by adding too much liquid into your dough because your cookies will be mushy or gooey.
Many traditional cookie recipes advise not to overmix the dough. If you overmix gluten, your dough may become rubbery, and your cookies may be hard. Because you don’t work with gluten, you don’t have this problem.
But gluten also helps soften the flour by creating little pockets of air. This way mixture is soft and fluffy. To get the same effect, you need to spend more time mixing your gluten-free dough.
To further soften the dough, sift your flour before adding it.
A gluten-free dough needs more time to form, leave it to settle. The extra time helps the starches to absorb the liquid. Your dough will be softer to work with and easier to stretch.
After you rest your batter, you may want to chill it. A gluten-free batter can be sticky, so putting it in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes will help.
Once your batter is ready to transform, use a cookie scoop. Because your gluten-free dough’s texture may be crumbly, you are better off using utensils to achieve the perfect shape.
To make your gluten-free cookies prettier, you could form smaller-sized cookies. They will be easier to transform, preventing your cookies from falling apart. Remember to cool them completely before moving them from the baking sheet.
How to Get Started With Gluten-Free Cookies
Baking is a science, and it takes time to perfect the right gluten-free cookie receipt. However, your gluten-free cookies can be a winner with these gluten-free baking tips.
And if you would like to take a rest in your baking adventures, or get fresh gluten-free cookie ideas, check our shop today!