Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

Everyone in the family likes cinnamon rolls, and I used to make them from scratch quite often. Since my son's diagnosis of celiac disease, though, and of course my husband's and mine need to maintain a low-fat diet, and my daughter now out in the world on her own (but not too far away) I don't make them anymore.

But occasionally it would be nice to enjoy one or two of these sweet buns. I've tried a few recipes for gluten free cinnamon rolls, and they weren't bad, but the dough is always a little too dry.

On our last trip to Sprout's market, we picked up a box of Chebe Cinnamon Roll Mix, a gluten free product, for about $3.50. A 7.5 ounce box makes 12 rolls.

I followed the directions, rolling out the dough, sprinkling on the cinnamon and sugar mix (not supplied) and then rolling it up and slicing it into 1-inch sections to get the 12 count. I then, according to the directions, baked the rolls using a muffin tin at 375 degrees.

The rolls had that cinnamon roll flavor, but were dry. I wasn't really surprised. The tiny rolls were enveloped in dry heat, trapped in the deep depressions of the muffin tin. The dough had no choice but to give up the moisture.

When rolling out the dough, I barely made it to the dimensions called for on the package - an 8 in. by 12 in. rectangle. The dough then was quite thin and cracking at the edges.

Still... I think this product has potential. As I started rolling it out, the dough held together well and was moist- unusual for a gluten free dough made primarily from tapioca flour to hold up to a rolling pin.

I think I should have stopped at, say, 6 in. by 10 in. or even a little smaller, leaving the dough a little thicker. And I think I should have baked them in a baking dish or cake pan, rather than a muffin tin. And I think a temperature of 350 degrees would have been gentler on the dough.

I would rather have a smaller yield of really tasty cinnamon rolls than a larger yield of not-as-good-as-I-hoped rolls.

I'm going to try this product again, applying the modifications in the hopes of getting a good batch of cinnamon rolls out of a box. I don't mind cooking from scratch, and I will continue on my quest for a recipe for gluten free cinnamon rolls from scratch. I thought I had one a while back, but found that recipe lacked longevity as well. The next morning, the doughy treats weren't as moist and kind of rubbery. Real problem this.

I'm also going to try the recipe for cinnamon rolls on the package of Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Mix and Flour Blend. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mad at Betty Crocker and Looking at New Ranges

Cooking and baking is a large part of my life and for that I need a good oven range. I have a freestanding electric range that has served me well for about twelve years now. But the door hinge is gone lame and so the door doesn't shut properly - which really messes with my cooking times and the consistency of the interior temperature. My cakes and cookies aren't quite right.

The coils on the cooktop are warped from age, (like so many of us) so when I put oil in a pan it all pools to one side. The pan doesn't heat evenly and so again, I am presented with uneven cooking temperatures.

Trouble is I really like this range: it has knobs for the cooktop and a digital set for the oven temps; the interior of the oven is just the right size; and it has the self-cleaning option.

But I know it only has so much time left before I have to replace it. So I've started looking and will likely get one of those new-fangled ceramic glass cooktop ranges - and will have to get a new set of pots and pans to go with it because the glass top only likes certain kinds of cookware. Geez.

So I'm going to have to spend a bunch of money on a new range and cookware. I'm wondering if there's a tax deduction in there somewhere.

And money is what brings me to my wrath against Betty Crocker. I was so utterly excited when I found that the company was producing gluten-free products I literally jumped for joy in the aisle. The cost was higher than the standard mixes, but not by much.

But now, I see in all the supermarkets and superstores the cost of Betty Crocker mixes is way up, usually $5.99 or $6.99. That may not sound like much, but when I see the standard mixes on sale at 5 for $5 - I get a little angry.

The company is well aware that gluten free products are a necessary medical treatment for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. And while brownies and cake may not be an essential food group, (or is it?) I still think it's kind of crappy that the products cost so much more than the counterparts.

It may be the retailers that are upping the price - I don't know. But I do know that when I first found Betty Crocker's gluten free baking mixes, they were less than $4 a box. That two or three dollar difference may not seem like much, but it's the principle, I think.

Anyway, I have to get a new range and I'm not buying so much of the Betty Crocker mixes now. So that's the life of this Contemporary Cook - Looking for a new range and Angry with Betty.