November 16, 2009

The best breakfast bread ever!

It's official. I found the secret to gluten free baking.

I finally watched the movie Julie and Julia. I felt both amazed and inspired after the movie! I was amazed that Julia had such an easy time fitting into and most importantly living within the French culture! It was like she really was French! Obviously she has not tried living with three French Canadians, or things may have gone a bit differently for her. She probably would have written a book entitled the key to shepards pie instead of 500+delicious French recipes......No, no I am kidding! The movie also inspired me to embrace the culture here and start cooking with a passion again!

Everyone for the most part is very cautious about their gluten in this house, but at times they lack quite a bit. It is mostly from the fact that they all seem to have the need to eat french bread all the time. Now I loved french bread with serious intensity in my gluten eating days, so I understand the temptation to eat it all the time...and well because we obviously live in France where french bread is made!! So the french bread has become my nemesis. Not only does it throw bread crumbs all over the counter, it secretly places them in grocery sacks, on my fruit, and quite honestly it just leaves a trail of crumbs to follow wherever it goes. I started to hate it with serious rage. Finally after hiding the french bread wrapped in 3 sacks in the back of the pantry, I think everyone got the hint. I have not seen my enemy in this house for one week, but I am sure that I will see it again soon.

OK enough about the vile french bread. I took over the kitchen about a week ago and have never been more happy. I have cooked Indian food complete with homemade mango chutney (which I will write about later), stuffed peppers and apple crumble, etc. The roommate has seemed a bit standoffish when I announce that I am making dinner yet again, but too bad, if he had celiac disease as well, maybe I would be more sympathetic! Although I do allow him a couple days a week of cooking just so I don't create too much tension in this house.

Ok on to baking. Before FP and I went on vacation in Italy a week ago. I made some scones from a box I brought with me. My original plan had been to make cranberry scones, but for some reason the French do not enjoy eating dried cranberries. So I was forced to choose another fruit. After much deliberation at the dried fruit section, I decided on the dates. However it was a huge box of dates. Needless to say I had masses of dates left over. So yesterday I decided to make some bread. I have not made any bread yet since my diagnosis. In fact I have always been a bit afraid when baking, as we all know how disgusting some gluten free baked good are. Well I went against the odds and decided to make some date nut bread. As a child I remember my mom buying these boxed breads that I loved. My favorite kind was date nut bread and I honestly can not tell you the last time I ate that bread until yesterday. I spent quite a bit of time googling for recipes, until I combined the knowledge of a gluten free breakfast bread recipe together with a non gluten free recipe of date nut bread. With a deep breath I undertook the impossible, trying to create a moist gluten free bread. And yes I did it. My not massive amounts of french butter, but sour cream......yes that is right, deliciously rich sour cream. I swear by it now and have used it also in cookies and scones. When my bread had cooled I cut two big slices and spread cream cheese all over one and left the other plain. I took the steaming, sweet smelling pieces of heaven into the bedroom and handed them to my boyfriend who was still in bed. He took a bite and looked at me with astonishment and stated ``oh my god Katherine, this is really really good!`` And trust me, I know when he is lying about my gf food. So we hunkered into bed together and ate the most delicious bread I have tasted in the past year and a half. So please make this bread and pass on the recipe to all those celiacs out there so they too can enjoy a cold morning in bed devouring slice after slice of heaven.

Gluten Free Date Nut Bread

-3/4 cup chopped dates
-3/4 cup liquid (half sour cream, half hot water)
-2 T butter
-1 1/8 cup all purpose gf flour, I used arrowhead blend
-3/4 cup sugar (half white, half raw)
-1/4 cup walnuts for topping
-3/4 tsp. gf baking soda
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp. xantham gum
-1 egg
-3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
-touch of nutmeg
-touch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chopped dates, sour cream, hot water, and butter together in bowl. Let this mixture sit for 5 min. Combine flour, baking soda, xantham gum, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. Combine egg and sugar together and beat with a fork for a couple minutes. Add vanilla extract to egg mixture. Combine flour mixture and date mixture together. Stir and carefully add egg mixture. Slowing stir until just combined. Place mixture into greased loaf pan. Sprinkle chopped walnuts onto bread. Bake for 45-50 min. Check occasionally and cover loosely with foil if top is browning too much. Remove from oven once a toothpick comes out clean when placed in bread. Let cool in the loaf pan.

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