We're lucky to work from home, albeit in a converted barn across the yard from our house. It's a thirty second commute to our office and that means that we can nearly always make it home for lunch. It also means that a few clients get some home baked treats if they happen to be having tea or coffee as a reward for trekking all the way out!
This morning, my book editor was dropping by to discuss a new project. He's very deserving, but he is also that most awkward of things. No! Not a vegetarian! A coeliac…
I had a broad understanding of the condition, but had never had to bake for one, and I really didn't want to kill him!
So, I threw it out into the Twitterspere. I wanted baked goods, preferably a biscuit/cookie that I wouldn't have to buy any 'special' ingredient for. There's really nothing worse than having a big bag of some special potato flour or strange thickening agent that you use once and watch creeping to old age in your fridge or cupboard. It reminds me of the Ben & Jerrys quote when Jerry was asked what he did with all the egg whites left over from making his egg-yolk heavy ice-cream base, he replied 'I put them in the fridge and cover them. Then after a month I throw them out'.
Help arrived in droves from the helpful, enthusiastic souls out there. A recipe was tested and found to be good! I like these cookies a lot and a big thanks to The Little Loaf who sent it to me. It's adapted from a recipe by Dan Lepard. The dates have been replaced by prunes as it's a bit early for dates in these parts as they only make a brief appearance in the shops at Christmas. I don't think the results would have been very different in any case.
Gluten Free Walnut Cookies
100g chopped, stoned prunes
100g softened unsalted butter
125g brown sugar
125g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Cover the prunes with 50ml boiling water and leave to stand for 10 mins until the prunes have softened.
Measure the unsalted butter, brown and caster sugars into a mixing bowl with the softened prunes and beat until smooth and light, and the prunes have broken down into the mixture.
Add the cocoa and vanilla extract and beat until smooth again.
Add the cornflour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder. When everything is totally incorporated, mix in the walnuts.
Heat the oven to 170 C/335 F/Gas 3. Line a tray with non-stick baking paper and roll walnut sized nuggets of dough into balls with your hands. Then press them lightly onto the tray, spaced 5cm apart. Bake for 15 mins then remove from the oven and leave on the tray to firm up slightly before carefully removing to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining mixture, or keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. The rolled balls can also be frozen raw.
(Below is a photo of a Lemon Bunt Cake as promised to my friend Magda who blogs at Magda's Cauldron - one of my favorite places to visit - enjoy and I will try harder at the apple challenge!)