The Flour Series: Buckwheat Flour

In the second installment to the Flour Series on different gluten-free flours, we are going to look into Buckwheat!

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What is it?

So… Buckwheat is a plant with grain-like seeds, sometimes referred to as buckwheat groats. It is not related to wheat, which is in the grass family, but is actually in the seed family and closely related to rhubarb! (I thought buckwheat had gluten for a long time because I assumed it was similar to wheat, but I was wrong!)

Buckwheat has been heralded, like many other foods recently, as a Superfood. I thought I had discussed previously about the dangers of Superfood labeling, because it can cause us to be less balanced in our struggle to eat the most “Superfoods” possible… but now I can’t find any reference to the topic on my blog and I decided to save you from my rants for now.

But why is it considered a Superfood by some? The major characteristic claims include ranking lower on the glycemic index than rice or corn, which means it will be less likely to cause your blood sugar to spike. Buckwheat and buckwheat flour contain high sources of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are pretty high in protein and fiber, as well as Vitamin B (for energy).

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What do you do with it?

A lot of websites I looked at had recipes combining buckwheat flour with other flours like a gluten-free all-purpose flour.  I personally do not think that is necessary.  I have been successful in cookie recipes using the flour as a one for one replacement for another nutty flour like almond flour (which I use often). So you can either replace 20% of your flour with a coconut flour or all-purpose flour or use it as a stand alone flour.

A Huffington Post article titled “20 Buckwheat Recipes You Never Even Knew You Wanted” has recipes including muffins, waffles, crepes, cakes, crackers, pitas, biscuits, pancakes, cookies, bread and more!

I only tried one recipe, from Cooking a la Mel, for buckwheat chocolate chip cookies and then I made my own recipe up and pinned them against each other in my own personal bake-off of sorts. 0729171613

As you can see the buckwheat flour gives the cookies a darker speckled look than typical flours may, almost mimicking cocoa.

Mel’s recipe (although half the size) is on the left and my recipe is on the right. Both contained the same amount of batter although mine spread out like a cookie more.  I thought mine looked better, but I will say Mel’s were pretty moist because they didn’t spread and dry out. I feel like I can’t give her the victory on my own blog, but I think I will.  Nicely done, Mel.

What does BTN do with it?

My mocha protein cookies actually utilize both coffee flour and buckwheat flour… but other than that I do nothing with buckwheat at this point. I had fun experimenting this weekend, but that’s where I’ll stay for now. Check out some more photos below, including one from the crawfish boil where I brought both sets of cookies. I’ll try to get a good buckwheat flour cookie recipe of my own out in the next few weeks for everyone to have fun trying!

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Have a cookie!

Lauren

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Giveaway TIME!

In honor of spring and everything good in life… I am going to do a giveaway now! But it’s only going to run now until midnight on April 1st! Comment on this post as to what your favorite type of cookie is and I will pick 1 lucky winner to get 4 large cookies either in that flavor (if it makes sense) or in another flavor I offer.

Ready? Set? COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!

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Have a cookie!

– Lauren

Time Off and Cakes

Hi friends! I took a bit of time off in December from my usual blogs to get some things in order and really focus on my business… but I’m back! Consistency is key and so you’ll be hearing from me a lot more if you want to.

December marked a first of a kind for Baked True North as I did my first 3 cakes for various Christmas events.  I am convinced that I am good at cookies.  I know I am good at doughnuts.  Now I am pretty sure I am going to be good at cakes.  But I have to turn my weakness of attention to detail around in the decorating area.

Here is the first cake I made for Revelation Health‘s Christmas party:

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I took my Spiced Red Wine Yum-Bread and turned it into a chocolate red wine cake with red wine frosting.

I also did 2 cakes for Redeemer North Borough‘s Christmas Eve service.

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The first was a chocolate cake with peanut butter cream frosting and the second was a white cake with buttercream frosting, dyed red and green between each layer. I have to say… my white cake with buttercream was awesome.  I begrudgingly make “desserts” that do not contain chocolate. I think I get this disdain from my dad who is known to get the chocolate syrup out and smother cakes, ice creams, pies, and anything trying to pass as a dessert that doesn’t already contain chocolate.  Don’t even get him started on carrot “cake!”

With all that said, I actually PREFERRED the white cake because it was so good. But the peanut butter cream frosting was a hit and that cake disappeared immediately.

Another recent adventure was the first week in January we spent in Arizona with Nick’s mom. Arizona in winter … meets vacationing while everyone else goes back to work … equals AMAZING. And of course I took the opportunity to bake for my mother-in-law.  I made her a batch of my signature chocolate chip cookies and as a special request for her birthday I made my first full cheesecake!

I wanted to make something elaborate like salted caramel chocolate chip cheesecake or red velvet cheesecake (ya know, something with CHOCOLATE), but seeing as it was my first ever… I decided to honor the cheesecake and go original. I think I know how to make it better next time, but it was GOOD, if you ask me.  No added chocolate either.

And we just overall had a great time in the desert, goofing off, finding cactus species and I ended the week as a red headed trail runner…

LAST, but certainly not least tomorrow (Wednesday, January 11th), Baked True North will have cookies on the shelves of Good L’Oven Cookies new shop! It’s their grand opening and the shop is gorgeous! So check it out… and support your favorite local gluten-free baker (psst, that’s me).

Stay Delicious,

Lauren

Holiday Baking is HERE!!!

I’ve been getting questions like… what are you offering for the holidays… AS IF my signature chocolate chip cookies weren’t the holiday food of choice! 🙂

SO… I decided to take requests (which I am still doing by the way).  The two things that I’ve heard back about so far was pumpkin rolls for Thanksgiving, and chocolate kiss cookies for Christmas.  So I went to work and they are HERE!!!!! And yes, they are as good as they look below. To order, click on the contact link and we’ll work this thing out.

Note – please plan on ordering by Sunday night if you want either item for Thanksgiving (locally to Pittsburgh)… and order NOW if I need to ship.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Rolls….. $10/each

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies… $12/dozen

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I can do the kiss cookies with milk chocolate or dark chocolate… for those of you that have a STRONG preference. These are definitely NOT sugar free, by the way.  Can you see them glisten? Pure sugar.  Sorry.  Some things just can’t be altered.

I will have more details on Christmas deadlines after Thanksgiving.  Let me know if you have an idea of something you would like to see and I’ll see what I can do. Thanks to everyone’s yummy feedback (and thanks for my sister and brother-in-law for the hardship they suffered tasting my kiss cookie testers last weekend).

ENJOY! and Stay Delicious!

Lauren

Growing Pains

Today was the craft boutique in Monaca. It was a lovely event and we’ll run. It was not the right place for Baked True North.

As I have a tendency to do, I over prepared for this show. I baked dozens of cookies, half dozen yum-breads, 2 dozen doughnuts, put together the most attractive table I could with samples and all! But I suppose I am still learning.

I am actually writing this from my table at the event because it has been so uneventful here. I thought the North Boroughs had a lack of gluten-free products and knowledge, but as one would expect, the further from the city you go, the greater the population who truly seem to be disgusted by the idea of gluten-free. At all my other events, people try the cookies and are buying whether they need it or not because it tastes good. Today people are just looking away like I’m selling a medication or something they don’t need.

Thankfully I stopped myself yesterday from making more. I haven’t rolled out the surprise yet and I decided last minute to scrap the paleo cookies.

But as all learning and growing experiences are, I know what I’ll do differently for next time I’m at a show… And I’ll probably stay out of Monaca for now. It was lovely to meet everyone and I’ll come back whenever you want to order! Haha

Now for the exciting part… Up to 50% off everything I have left over until midnight on Tuesday!

  • Doughnuts $3/half dozen
  • Yum-breads $3/mini loaf
  • Jars of mini chocolate chip cookies $10/jar
  • Pumpkin spice waffle cookies $4/half dozen
  • All large cookies (oktoberfest/pumpkin chocolate chip/signature chocolate chip) $3/each

Email me at bakedtruenorth@gmail.com to order!

Thanks for all of your support as I find the rhythm of business.

Stay delicious,

Lauren

The Gluten-Free Lady

Saturday was the Bellevue House Tour here in the North Boroughs, and I was blessed enough to have the right acquaintances that I could be one of the featured foods at the final reception. The house tour is set up so you travel along a map through Bellevue and visit the most beautiful homes in our area, all decorated for Halloween and fall.  Then the final house, which is actually a gorgeous mansion, hosted a reception where local fooderies brought in some hors d’oeuvres.  1029161605_hdr

I made pumpkin chocolate chip minis, Signature Chocolate Chip minis, and my newest cookie mini: The OKTOBERFEST! This was inspired by the German Chocolate Cake I wrote about at the beginning of the month. It is packed with dark chocolate and enough coconut and pecans that you will definitely remember the last German Chocolate Cake you had. These will probably only be a seasonal cookie, but I have added them to my Options until Christmas.

During the house tour I realized I was affectionately beginning to be known as The Gluten-Free Lady around our town.  That’s kind of awesome.  And you can always tell it’s someone that understands gluten-freedom when they call you that… because a lot of people have said over the past few months, “so, these are the gluten ones?” in reference to my cookies.  Um… no.  No gluten. But what that means is that I get to spread the word about something I am passionate about!

One more thing I wanted to add into this short and random post is that another event is coming up on November 6th.  I’ll be at the 2nd Annual Simply Chic Craft Boutique in Monaca, PA from 10am to 4pm.  It will be a lot of fun and I will have another 2 or 3 items I am going to be rolling out for the event.

  • Cocoa Spiced Wine YUM-Bread: It is as amazing as it sounds.  I had a bunch of friends taste test this one and I got some good feedback and decided to roll it out.  I’ll have some pictures after the event.
  • PALEO Pumpkin Waffle Cookies!!: Paleo mostly means unprocessed, natural, and accessible to primal ancestors (in lay man/Lauren terms). I tested it out at a fellow health-enthusiast’s house last week (picture below) and it was a hit, so  I have added it to my Options as well. I’ll probably write more about paleo eating in the new year, for those interested.
  • SURPRISE – you’ll have to wait and see for this one.
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Paleo Pumpkin Waffle Cookies

So check out the event if you can as I will have a basket or two in a drawing and coupons for all my visitors at the table!

Stay delicious,

Lauren

 

Expert Cookie Taster #4

This week I am going to feature and review two cookie brands since I haven’t done a review in a while. Also they are both going to have a chocolate cookie base. In my opinion I don’t prefer this type, but in their defense, they are significantly different cookies. Sometimes I crave a chocolate cookie over a traditional chocolate chip cookie (CCC, or triple C as I call it), and that is just a different craving. But I digress…

Number 1, Gluuteny Bakery’s Double Chocolate Chip Cookie. I believe I purchased both this and #2 at Soergels where I usually do my specialty shopping.

First of all, I love Gluuteny. I lived in Squirrel Hill for 2 years after college. During this time I met my husband, Nick, and subsequently was prompted to consider a gluten-free diet. Gluuteny Bakery on Murray Ave was a nice introduction for me into what gluten-free food could be (like, not gross and lifeless)!

The Double Chocolate Chip cookie was thick (a must), very chocolatey and not too dry. The size was good, big and filling. The flours used aren’t my favorite anymore (rice, corn, potato, tapioca), but they do provide a very “normal” texture.

Number 2, Nana’s No Gluten Chocolate Cookie. This isn’t actually a chocolate CHIP cookie, as it had no chips. The chips would have helped. I do like the fact that it has no refined sugar and I’m guessing the fruit juice helped it to be decently moist, although my thoughts on fruit juice are still being developed. The flours are similar (rice & tapioca), but the cookie was not as thick and slightly softer (not as sturdy). Size was similar and filled me up… But didn’t fill my CCC craving.

My overall opinion is, Gluuteny Bakery did a great job on taste and I love those chocolate chips. Health content aside, because they weren’t different enough, Gluuteny wins!

Stay delicious,

Lauren

I NEED a Pie too!

So often I hear masterpieces come about by accident. This is not going to be one of those stories… But it ends good, I promise!

I had some ladies over from our church and decided to make my Baked True North canolli pie! I truly love this pie. It is my BTN basic cookie dough recipe, complete with chocolate chips and all, smashed into a pie plate as a crust with this fantastic canolli filling on top.

The first time I made it was for Nick’s dad back on father’s day. It was a hit, even though I didn’t plan enough time to let it sit in the fridge after baking. We decided it was a delicious mucky pudding pie, of sorts, and still licked the plate, regardless that it didn’t stay together. So I planned ahead this time.

While making said deliousness, Nick asked me where HIS pie was. He knew he wasn’t invited to ladies night and there likely wouldn’t be any left. I was pretty tired but I said I would make him his own pie. No sooner had I uttered the words did I regret them. Neither did I have the ingredients or the time to make another pie, nor did Nick want or need a whole pie for himself.

As a side note, if you know Nick, he doesn’t really eat sweets because he is super healthy, but I had used only stevia in this go round of the recipe, which makes the carb content way low and the taste rocks!

He convinced me that he would be happy with just a spoonful of the pie filling that was waiting to go into the cooling crust… And it gave me an idea! 💡

I have mini spring form pans and I wondered if I could make some version of a cheesecake souffle for him. I took a spoonful of the filling (loaded with cream cheese and ricotta) and mixed it with 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of organic peanut butter, and a few more mini chocolate chips. I mixed it up, put it in the pan, and threw it in the oven along side the other pie with a prayer.

He barely waited for it to cool and ate it right off the pan plate. I can’t say it was award winning or that I’m dropping everything to add it to my menu. It was a little dry (which he fixed by eating it with coconut milk), but the nice thing about gluten free people is… They usually are more forgiving and are happy they can eat it at all.  I likely will try it again with a few more tweaks and I’ll let you know when it’s ready for the press. 🙂

The Baked True North Canolli Pie is available for purchase in regular and sugar-free and will be updated on the website soon. Shoot me a note for pricing in the mean time and let me know if there’s some other gluten free creations you’re interested in having!

Stay delicious,

Lauren Marts

Beach Baking

This week my family took a vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Seeing as I still work a full time job and don’t get a ton of time to bake for fun, I brought my almond flour and doughnut pan with me on the trip, just in case I got a moment of delicious inspiration.

A moment is sometimes hard to come by on these vacations as it is typical for us to squeeze a run, tennis, swimming, kayaking, biking, and golf in… Likely all in one day. But fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we had some various rain and high winds, caused by a hurricane hitting Florida, sending tropical storms our way.

So, I got a chance to bake 3 times! (Four if you count the savory beet pesto pizza with goat cheese, pictured below in my mouth!)

First, in honor or my mother’s birthday we had a fresh batch of my Signature Chocolate chip cookies. These did not last long, mostly thanks to my dad who could out eat anyone in a chocolate chip cookie eating contest. Second, as I mentioned, I had my doughnut pan with me, so I made an experimental batch of chocolate glazed coconut flour doughnuts. Honestly, these tasted like the traditional Enteman’s doughnuts I used to devour, but healthier. 🙂

Third, I made another batch of chocolate chip cookies, but used organic raw honey for half the sweetener (out of necessity). Surprisingly this gave the cookie a very different taste and crispped much quicker. Not specifically going to alter any recipes in the future on account of this experiment, but these cookies didn’t last long either.

Also, fixed up my website a bit, adding prices and explanations to my top 3 cookie options in response to all the excitement and inquiries I’ve been getting lately. More to come on the website, so stay tuned!

Lastly, the winner of last month’s cookie giveaway is………

Lori! I’ll be in touch with your cookie details. Thanks to everyone who followed, commented, and liked my content. Please keep sharing the gluten-freedom with your friends and loved one’s to help Baked True North grow!

Stay delicious,

Lauren Marts

Farmhand Fair!

For 3 weeks in July I was at a farmers market at the Sewickley Mount Nebo Agway.

125 McAleer Rd, Sewickley, PA 15143

I’ll be there again This coming Saturday, August 13, assuming I get time to bake!

I tried out a new recipe the first week I was there; something I came up with on accident. I was out of chocolate chips and I had purchased honey peanut butter, instead of the regular stuff, so what resulted were my mini honey nutters! They have no added sugar, just organic honey and bakeable stevia, so they are much lower carb than my chocolate chip masterpieces. And people have loved them! I think I sold out of them 2 out of the 3 weeks I had them!

They also inspired me on how to turn my chocolate chip cookies into a sugar free ones! I’m almost there! I want to have the yummiest healthiest chocolate chip cookies ever! I will likely start debuting my sugar free chocolate chip cookies this fall. I have been making so many cookies for the farmers market, friends, family, and a Pittsburgh wedding cookie table, that I haven’t had much time for some good old fashioned chemistry experiments.

Also my cookies have been featured the first weekend of every month at a wonderful local boutique in Avalon, called Reposhture!

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The shop is absolutely adorable. I’ve purchased cute stuff there like a window made into a work of art for my wall, vintage hat, handmade fabric flower magnet, and another vintage plate I’m picking up. Love Kim’s (the owner) style and really appreciate her heart. Stop in September 3 and 4 to check it out and grab a cookie while you’re there.

That’s all for now… But leave a comment and you could be picked, in my next blog post, to win one of my new sugar free cookies!

Thanks all!