Going gluten-free

As I type this I’ve got a batch of biscotti in the oven enveloping the house in a magical aroma. Initially, I thought of posting something savoury today but the aroma in the house just wouldn’t let me focus on it. So I saved what I’d written in drafts and started again.

This recipe is a little different from what I usually write about or even make, so let me tell you a little about how these cookies came into being. I’ve a nephew who is allergic to gluten and to nuts, every time the folks at home made something delicious that he couldn’t eat, there would be a slight shrug but also a question in his eyes about why he couldn’t eat something that smells so yummy? Thankfully, in the US of A it isn’t really a big deal if you eat only gluten-free or nut-free products so the young man does get his share of goodies. But when my cousin rang me up and said that the nephew in question wanted to know why I don’t have anything on my blog which he can eat, I was a little surprised. Until then I hadn’t really thought about experimenting with gluten-free products and was only into egg-free goodies but this was like a good wake-up call that told me I needed to push myself a little more. So I set to work on something gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free and yes, the young man doesn’t like chocolate so my idea of gluten-free chocolate & orange cookies were canned. Phew!

Oh so lemony! 

I’ve always believed that to be a good cook you need to eat well, and I don’t mean portion-wise but more on the lines of having an open mind and trying new things, something that even Nigella Lawson advocates. So before I embarked on this gluten-free mission, I wanted to taste some of these products so I bought some cookies, bread and a slice of cake from a deli. As my friend and I nibbled on them and washed them down with some iced tea, we realised that they weren’t radically different in taste from what we usually eat. I learnt that these were made using a gluten-free all-purpose flour but I settled on using jowar flour because another vegan, gluten-allergic friend highly recommended this. I knew I was taking a risk by not using any kind of gum to bind the dough but two blogger friends who often bake gluten-free told me that the gum doesn’t help much so I just went by their advice. For these cookies, I wanted to keep the flavours fresh and light so  I used lemon zest and a touch of cardamom which gave it a real zing! And was I pleased with the results? Of course! And I am going to be baking more gluten-free often because of that lovely, nutty flavour that flours like jowar and ragi have.

Lemon & cardamom cookies (gluten-free, nut-free and egg-free)
(Adapted from some recipes here)

1 1/3 cups of jowar flour
1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats, slightly roasted
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1 heaped tsp of Flax seeds, powdered and mixed in 1tbsp of warm water
1/2 cup  of butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of cardamom powder
Zest of one lemon
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup (approx.) of milk

Sift the jowar flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Add the flax seed mixture, sugar, butter, cardamom powder and oats to this and mix well. Gradually add the milk to the dough to make it more pliable. Finally add the lemon zest and knead for 2 minutes. You will notice that the dough tends to crumble, but that’s okay it’s because of the absence of gluten. Shape the dough into a log and wrap it in cling film. Allow it to rest in the fridge for about an hour or more, maximum for 3 hours.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into slices. Place these slices on a greased, lined baking tray and sprinkle some watermelon seeds on them. Brush with some milk and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for about 5-7 minutes until they turn a light golden on the sides. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool down completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container. The cookies can last upto a week if they are stored properly.


*Make sure that the jowar flour is finely ground otherwise it tends to break a lot.
*You can use a teaspoon or two of rice flour to add some crunch to the cookies.
*The more you let the dough rest in case of gluten-free cookies, the easier it is to slice them without them falling apart. But you need to be really quick so have everything ready before you take the dough out of the fridge.

A closer look

I’m sending this recipe to Vardhini’s Bake Fest #11 at The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen

No Comments

  • Priya September 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Thats really wonderful,interesting.

  • Priya R September 28, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Interesting combination and i am sure the cardamom aroma filled your house… love it

    Cook like Priya

  • timepasshobbies September 28, 2012 at 12:50 am

    This is so creative! Have a friend's son who is gluten and nut allergic too! Tks for sharing the recipe! Will def give this a try! šŸ™‚
    Came here from HBG šŸ™‚

  • Archana Potdar September 28, 2012 at 1:16 am

    This is yum. Thanks for linking. Now I will alo try gluten free.

  • Renuka September 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Awesome! I hope the little boy likes it šŸ™‚

  • runnergirlinthekitchen.blogspot.com September 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Wow.. jowar flour.. so interesting and innovative!

  • Meg's Delicious Adventures October 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    that's certainly healthy…looks yum.
    Meg's Delicious Adventures

  • Unknown May 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Renuka, I have gluten allergy so I always keep experimenting. I have also made a orange cake made from Jowar and Rajgira flour and it was awesum. try it some time.


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