8 Tricks to Going Gluten-Free for the Holidays

What is your favorite family baking recipe? (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

What is your favorite family baking recipe? (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Whether you are making pie for Christmas dinner, cake for your office party, or just cookies for Santa, baking is an integral part of most people’s holiday season.  But for those who are living gluten-free, baking at the holidays, or any time throughout the year, can be a challenge.   Gluten-free Baking Week, which runs until Christmas, was created to help raise awareness of the challenges of gluten-free baking and to encourage experimentation with gluten-free holiday dishes.

To help plan your gluten-free holiday menu and get you in the mood for the holiday, here are our top eight tips, tricks, and recipes for going gluten-free for the holidays.

1.       Plan Ahead

While most people plan their holiday menu ahead of time, going gluten-free takes a little more work than usual.  If you are unfamiliar with gluten-free cooking or gluten-free alternatives, it is a good idea to take a test drive prior to your holiday meal.  This lets you work out any kinks ahead of time.

2.       Check it Twice

I don’t mean Santa’s list.  When preparing a gluten-free meal, make sure to check the labels in the grocery store.  This ensures you don’t inadvertently serve something made with gluten as part of your holiday menu.

3.       Don’t Mix and Mingle

This is especially important if you are serving a meal that has gluten-free dishes and dishes that include gluten products.  Keep ingredients, utensils, workspaces, and serving areas separate to ensure there is no cross contamination.

4.       Measure Twice Too

Measuring accurately is always important in baking, but when you are baking with gluten-free ingredients, it is even more important.  It is easy to use too much or too little which can significantly alter the results of your recipe.

5.       Reach for the Right Recipe

Until you are experienced with gluten-free baking and cooking, it’s best to use a gluten-free recipe rather than trying to alter your own recipe to use gluten-free ingredients.  This increases your likelihood of success and allows you to get the experience you need to start doing it on your own.

6.       Protect with Paper

Because gluten-free dough can be gummier and stickier than regular dough, you need to be extra vigilant about prepping cookie sheets and baking dishes.  The best way to get a non-stick batch is to cover your pan with parchment paper prior to baking.

7.       Gluten-Free Can Be Great

With the right recipe and the right ingredients, you can pull off a holiday menu that will leave your guests in awe that it was gluten free.  Here are some great recipes to try:

8.       Look Local

Here in Arizona, there are many options for finding the gluten-free ingredients you need to create the holiday menu of your dreams.  From your grocery store to the farmer’s market, you are sure to find exactly what you need all year round.  Looking for a local farm the offers gluten-free options?  The following Arizona Farm Bureau Members offer gluten-free products.

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