Thursday, September 16, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - Home Baked Goodies!

I have always loved baking.  When I was a child, I used to page through my mom's 1950 edition of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, drooling over the mouthwatering pies, cakes, and cookies.  

Mom's baking of sweets was usually centered around the holidays or birthdays, and her ordinary baking usually involved things like biscuits for breakfast.  I would watch intently as she'd pinch off a piece of soft dough and coax it between her palms into a round, somewhat flattened shape.  She would then place these in a circular pattern of about eight, in a round cake pan or pie plate, into the oven to bake.

The first cake I baked from scratch was when I was nine years old.  I had found a recipe for chocolate cake (I don't think it was in Betty Crocker but probably one of the other cookbooks in her library) that didn't seem too difficult.  I remember it called for a cup of boiling water, among other things, of course.  At any rate, mom let me have at it 100 percent on my own, and it turned out great!  A few weeks after that, she asked me to make that chocolate cake again and take it over to the neighbor, whose husband had passed away, for the funeral dinner.  Having my mom's endorsement on that occasion went a long way toward bolstering my baking confidence.

Fast forward almost four decades, when I found myself having to learn some new baking skills to accommodate a diagnosis of gluten intolerance.  All I can say is thank heavens the internet was invented in the meantime!  People like Karina at Gluten-Free Goddess and Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl became my new Betty Crockers.

I still love to bake, but it's now equally out of necessity as it is for the simple enjoyment of it.  If I'm craving a cookie or muffin, I can't just stop at the corner Kwik Trip and pick one up.  If I'm going to an event where there will be celebrating with a cake, I have to bring my own or sit out dessert (and who wants to do that?).

Today I baked one of my favorites, Maui Wowee bars.  (Having come of age in the 1970s, that would have had a whole different meaning then, but rest assured there is no secret herbal ingredient here.)  You can find the recipe at Gluten-Free Goddess (click the link above to be taken right there).

Here are the ingredients.  I used four different gluten-free flours blended together.  Why so many flours?  Why can't you just substitute one of them?  Well, because no single gluten-free flour can replicate the flavor and texture of wheat flour in baked goods, so you have to use a combination of them and add xanthan gum as well in order to get reasonably close.  Otherwise, you will end up with a gritty, tough, flavorless mess.

Here I'm using 1/3 cup each of tapioca flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, and buckwheat flour (which is not wheat at all, but related to the rhubarb and sorrel family of plants).

Here it is going into the oven...

And here it is coming out!

Sweet, chocolate chip and coconut goodness in an ooey, gooey bar.  I wish I could share these with you!

For more Favourite Things Friday, visit the links at Quilting In My Pyjamas.

Have a great weekend all—and remember to save room for dessert!


  1. Looks yummy! I never learned to enjoy cooking, which is probably why I don't enjoy it. It's just one of those things that needs to happen.

  2. Oh YUM! I am about to go to bed and now I have to have something sweet. I'm glad you enjoy baking so much that when it is a necessity, it's not a chore. :)

  3. Looks so delicious! Enjoyed reading about your first baking experiences. So cool you got that boost of confidence from your mom. That's a special memory.

  4. When I first started baking GF I mixed my own flours, but now for quick breads and cookies I've found that the Gluten Free Pantry All-Purpose Flour works incredibly well. It has guar gum mixed in already. I've been able to convert so many of our favorite recipes to GF.

  5. It looks delicious. It's great that there are so many good gluten-free recipes around now isn't it?

  6. oh my, your pics are making me hungry, although i'm not very good with baking. good thing you can make your own and don't have to go without.

  7. My sister went on a gluten free diet about 15 years ago and she had all sorts of trouble getting suitable food she doesn't cook either, now it is everywhere. I lvoe cooking myself, learnt in my nana's kitchen.

  8. Yum! I can see why these would be a Favourite. I love to bake too! Just whipped up several dozen Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies for my nephew yesterday. He's recovering from knee surgery. Baked goods are good comfort, aren't they? Visiting from FTF. Thanks for sharing. Happy Friday! Larri at SeamsInspired

  9. Oh! I wish I could bake!! :( Or even cook... I am going to learn it one day...
    Cheers from India

  10. I am so sending this recipe to my Mum.

    It looks sooooooooo good. I've never heard of mixing the flours but that makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately I'm not known for my baking skills.

    Keep baking and sharing these recipes with us and I'm going to find all the weight I lost this year ...

    Thanks for sharing this recipe and your early baking experiences with us for FTF. (Patty thanks you too )

  11. I will see you tomorrow morning. Feel free to bring any goodies along!!!

  12. Those look good! Too bad you have to go the gluten free route, but it's nice that you have options.

  13. Sorry about the gluten intolerance. I'm really glad you've figured out how to get around it! Those cookie bars look really yummy. I'll be over after dinner and we can chat and eat them. Sound good?

    xo -E

  14. P.S. I forgot to say how truly impressive you making a chocolate cake all by yourself at age 9 is. My LadyBug hangs out in the kitchen with me more and more often and I just love it. She helped me put dinner together the other night (a first) and wanted to do as much of it as possible herself. I'm making a mental note to do what your mom did with you and the chocolate cake. I loved hearing about how neat that was for you.

    xo -E


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