It has only been recently that we have been introduced to the world of gluten-free. One of our 6yo twin boys (ah yes, well they’re almost 7, birthday next week and we’re not being allowed to forget about it) was recently diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. We are so very fortunate that it is simply an intolerance – it causes him an uncomfortable and very itchy rash, but that’s all. I also have friends with coeliac’s disease, and that is a severely different story.
You don’t realise how reliant our society is on wheat-based products until you’re struck with something like this. Wheat and wheat flour are in SO many foods – that includes the vast majority of breads, biscuits, pasta, couscous etc, and being used as thickeners and bulkers in a huge number of other products – I check all the labels on foods these days. (And it’s all a bit ironic, considering we have a wheat farm.)
Anyway, we’ve been taking time to explore a bunch of gluten-free foods, and it seems there is a reasonable range out there. It has been difficult though to try and get a 6yo to change his eating habits. One thing we’ve discovered about GF wheat and wheat flour substitutes is that they taste different (well, duh). The texture is also different. Adults, who understand the long term ramifications on health better, are probably more inclined to accept these changes in their food. Sadly, not so with young children.
School lunches have been a challenge – gone are the sandwiches (the GF bread available in Wagga is not to his liking as bread – toast is OK), and many other things. We’ve got onto making fried rice for lunches, he’s liking that OK (at the moment)…
With its texture and taste differences I’ve not found GF flour very good for pastry. Cake for treats is also a challenge. Strongly flavoured, dense cakes have the best chance of getting past children’s detection – hence this gluten-free brownie recipe. My kids all know about it now though, and more than just accepting it, they love it!
It’s easy too. The recipe is adapted from one I found on a wonderful forum for Australian crafters on Etsy called DUST (where I met many of you good people a couple of years ago!)
Gluten-free chocolate fudge brownies
1 cup plain gluten-free flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tspn baking powder
125g softened butter
1 1/2 cups (275 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 tspn vanilla
100g extras if you wish – things such as nuts, cherries, dates, raisins…
Heat your oven to 180deg C.
Sift dry ingredients together a few times (this is especially important with gluten-free flour, as I have found there is often a bit of coarse rice husk in it).
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together for a few minutes until it becomes paler. Mix through eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Mix in the sifted dry ingredients in two batches, and ensure it is mixed thoroughly. Line a small greased tin with baking paper (I like to use one that’s about 28cm x 16cm – don’t use anything much larger, as your cake will be too thin), and then spoon the mixture in, smoothing out the top of the cake.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake is just firm in the centre.
Cool before cutting into small pieces – it’s rich!