Contrary to what many of our posts may lead you to believe, the San Francisco Bay Area is a place where people really care and put thought into their diets. In addition to promoting our general health and well-being, you will commonly see and hear words like vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, and paleo while dining out or during a trip to the local grocery. Luckily for the folks that fall into any of those categories, most restaurants and grocery stores in the area are now catering to an array of diets and food allergies.
We have both family and friends that fall into the gluten-free category and while many still consider it to be a fad diet, rest assured these individuals are making the choice based on legitimate health concerns. Do you have to think carefully about the ingredients in your recipes when these folks are coming over for dinner? Yes! Does it require a little more consideration when choosing a restaurant to eat at? Of course! The good news here is that many restaurants are making gluten free options, not just substituting their menu. Check out the gluten-free mac-n-cheese at Oakland’s Homeroom or the delicious gluten-free pizza at Paxti’s in San Francisco.
Now that you know gluten-free food is easy to find while out and about, what about making it at home? Many meals that you would ordinarily prepare at home are probably gluten-free to begin with, unless you’re carbo-loading for an upcoming marathon. Baking is the area where gluten-free cooking has had to push the boundaries to get the consistency of your tried-and-true, Joy of Cooking, grandma’s recipes tasting just right. With some experimenting you will find that many of your recipes are easily modified to become gluten-free. We have found that Cup4Cup, an all-purpose gluten-free flour developed by Chef Lena Kwak of The French Laundry in Yountville, CA is consistently the best for making your old favorites.
When a colleague brought homemade apricot jam to share with the office, we decided to turn it into a baked treat that our gluten-free friends could enjoy. The result – chewy, soft, and sweet apricot thumbprints that even the gluten lovers among us couldn’t resist.
Gluten Free Apricot Thumb Prints
Makes about 25 cookies, adapted from Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
- 3/4lb (3 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 1/2 Cups Gluten Free Flour (We used Bob’s Red Mill but our go to for GF is Cup 4 Cup)
- 1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Cup Jam (We used an Apricot Jam given to us by a colleague but you can use your favorite kind)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Roll dough together, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1/2 inch balls and space onto a baking sheet (we put a silpat down just to make sure there was no sticking). Press your finger into the middle of the ball to create the thumb-print shape and fill the hole with a heaping quarter teaspoon of jam. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cookies start to brown. Cool and enjoy!