I love baking things and then giving them to my family; watching them eating something I've created gives me great pleasure- that is if they enjoy it! But unfortunately that's not always possible for me because my mum is intolerant to gluten :( Since she was diagnosed I've been trying to find recipes that she can enjoy that don't taste powdery, fake or just downright awful- which is quite often the case with the 'wheat free cakes' you can find in supermarkets. The substitute flour that is often used results in a dry and sawdust-like texture which quite frankly is very unpleasant and has put my mum right off the idea. As a general rule of thumb, I would say you can afford to substitute wheat flour for gluten free flour if the recipe contains less than 100g of wheat flour. Chocolate fondants work particularly well, I might even go as far as saying that they are improved by gluten free flour! However for maximum tastiness, look for recipes that don't originally contain wheat flour, then you know they were intended to be made without it and you don't need the unnecessary experimentation to decide whether you can substitute ingredients and what you should use.
You wouldn't believe some of the awful stuff me and mum have tasted over the years. Unfortunately we've had enough MDF bread and structurally challenged cake to put us off trying any more! The closest to actually acceptable cake I've tried is Crimbles Ginger Cake- unfortunately it turns out that this isn't actually suitable for coeliacs, despite being wheat free. As for bread, well it could certainly be better. 'Genius' breads are tolerable, if you toast them. Straight out of the packet it's just bready cardboard. Sandwich anyone?
So as a treat to my mum I did a bit of searching, rummaging through recipe books and the Internet, and came to a decision; Italian biscuits! Ricciarelli to be precise! It was a no-brainer; they are often made without that troublesome wheaty ingredient, meaning no experimentation needed. And they have a distinctly almondy flavour which my mum is quite partial to! I also chucked in some Florentines for good measure, both of which go very well with a cup of strong black coffee- ooh sophisticated! ;)
Not long into the process of making these I realised that letting my brother help was a big mistake... lets just say that hands were burned and pans were ruined. I never thought it was possible to burn your hands on Florentines. Apparently I was wrong. Nevertheless we (somehow) managed to make a plate of tasty nibbles and my mum liked them! It makes me happy to see my mum eating sweet things because she does like them, but she seldom gets the opportunity to eat anything cakey- she isn't the sort to make a point of saying she cant eat certain things, she just goes without. To me its a shame really.
Expect more gluten-free goodies in future!