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The Very Best Gluten Free Recipes of 2013 (Says You!)

The Very Best Gluten Free Recipes of 2013 (Says You!)

Were your holidays merry & bright? Mine were, baby! As we come to the end of 2013, I look back … and I see you! You were here with me every single step of the way. A new cookbook (a revolution, even!), and a blog growing by leaps and bounds marked 2013 for me, and I’m jumping headlong right into the blogger cliché: I couldn’t do it without you. But even when I read that phrase on other blogs, I know it’s true. Whether the blogger writing it realizes the truth of it or not, it’s true as true could be. A blog is a partnership. A compact. You trust me to test and retest my recipes, to answer your questions (as best I can!), and to choose the right recipes to develop. To bring back the foods you miss the most, the ones you long to provide for your family and (hopefully) for yourself (you gotta take care of #1, no matter how many kids you have!). You take the recipes, and you run with them. You win contests with them (its own special satisfaction when gluten free beats gluten-y, hands down). You might fail sometimes, but you climb the learning curve, still, and wake up and climb it again. 

These are the recipes and the pages on the blog that were the most-loved this year. Some of them surprised me (you still love the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that much?), but most of them didn’t, really. I might not have been able to predict their popularity when I first posted them (ask any food blogger worth his or her salt, and they’ll tell you the same–you just can’t really predict what will catch fire), but looking back, I get it. I learn from what you love, and what makes you just shrug your shoulders.

I will be back next week with all new recipes (gluten free champagne cake to ring in the New Year! make it alcohol free with ginger ale or sparkling apple cider). But for now? Let’s settle in and look back at 2013: A Year To Remember. LOVE YOU! *mwah*

[If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know the drill with the clickable collage, but just in case—hover over each photo for the recipe title, then click the picture to open a new window with that post and the entire recipe]The Very Best Gluten Free Recipes of 2013 (Says You!)

Here’s my 10¢ tour of these 12 gluten free recipes, why I love them, and why I think you loved them in 2013, too:

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread: I think that you and I both love this recipe for all the same reasons. You pin it all over Pinterest, too, and sometimes you leave comments like, “BEST cornbread ever, gluten free or not!” It’s that simple. Make it in a cast iron skillet, if you can, but just make it.

Soft Gluten Free Tapioca Wraps: Inspired by the Against the Grain copycat recipes, these soft gluten free wraps are made of just a few basic ingredients. Just be sure not to use poor quality tapioca starch/flour (the recipe won’t work!), and if your dough seems thin, let it cool! And please don’t yell at me about it?

Gluten Free Won Ton Wrappers: A perennial blog favorite, this recipe from my first cookbook is so versatile, no wonder it keeps coming up again and again. Use it to make gluten free egg rolls, gluten free crab rangoon, or even won ton soup (a personal favorite of mine). And for those of you who have written to me and asked if you could roll it thinner in a pasta machine, I say: go for it!

Gluten Free Cookies Recipes: This page of my blog’s visual recipe index is one of the most popular on the blog (alongside the gluten free bread recipes page). ‘Cause, well, who doesn’t love cookies?? And now that I have some Paleo recipes on there, too, there’s something for everyone.

Top Ten Secrets To Baking the Best Gluten Free Bread: Especially with the New Gluten Free Bread Book just coming out, you want to know the secrets to making the best gluten free bread! The first thing I baked from scratch when I started baking gluten free in 2004 was a carrot cake (it was *meh*). The second? Bread. It wasn’t delicious, but it was bread, and I’ve been steadily working on improving it ever since. Understanding the chemistry, and just rolling up my sleeves and failing failing failing and learning something each time. Looks like we have bread in common. :)

Gluten Free Red Cherry Licorice: Fun, right? One of the most gluten-heavy candies around, licorice is something we all miss when we go gluten free. Not any more! And even though you need a candy thermometer, I promise it’s super easy. Don’t like cherry? Try chocolate licorice.

Thick & Chewy Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: You love this recipe. You have good taste.

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Recipes: Since this is mostly a gluten free baking blog, these all purpose gluten free flour recipes form the foundation of nearly every recipe on it. And since reader Ryan Hunt graciously agreed to let me post his Excel spreadsheet, you don’t even have to do any math any more! (Although, for the record, the math really is easy!) You can always use a commercial blend in my recipes that call for an all purpose gluten free flour (Cup4Cup and Better Batter are my fave commercial blends), but my Better Than Cup4Cup Blend is my hands-down favorite for most recipes, if you’re interested.

Gluten Free Puff Pastry: Most people, even professional food people, don’t make their own puff pastry very often. That’s only because it’s so easy to find ready-made puff pastry sheets in the freezer section of most grocery stores. But for us, we have to make our own. The good news? It freezes incredibly well, and it’s actually quite easy to make (that’s why this recipe is so popular – lots of step-by-step photos). I always have at least a half-recipe in my freezer. Just defrost it overnight in the refrigerator, and you’re minutes away from gluten free puff pastry cheese straws. Simply put, nothing beats the light and flaky crunch of puff pastry with pretty much anything on it. Guaranteed to impress.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipes: And, finally, the Cadillac of cookies. The chocolate chipper. It never, ever ceases to fascinate me, this most versatile of baked goods. From thin and chewy to thick and crunchy, and everything in between, the many recipes on this blog for the humble but proud chocolate chip cookie is worth the price of admission alone (it’s free – this blog is free, but still).

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Was your copy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread under the tree? If you’re looking for Expandex, I’ve got you covered right here (even if you’re outside the U.S.!)!

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  • Jennifer S.

    I’m not going to lie – I was at the flour page and the wonton wrappers page just last week!!! I NEED to make some crab Rangoon – like now or I’m going to cheat and then I’ll be in trouble.
    Today – I am mixing my first bread starter today from the new book, now that I can breathe after the holidays. Can’t wait to make something yummy!

    • No cheating, Jennifer! Catch your breath, first, though. I know you were so busy through Christmas!

  • my2cents

    I had more fun baking this year than any other using your recipes! What a difference a scale makes! I made the Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies (which far surpassed any batch of Toll House I made before needing to go FG); Milanos; Snicker Doodles (OMG); and the Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies (I made 2 batches of those and for the second batch, I substituted Peppermint extract for the vanilla and topped them with crushed peppermint candies….GONE!!!). I made the Cranberry Bread for Thanksgiving (which everyone loved….not a slice left) but this time I had to make a last minute substitute and use dark chocolate chips instead of Cranberries (they weren’t looking too healthy.) It was unbelievable! NO ONE could believe this was all GF!! Now we’ll move onto more of the bread making. We love Tom’s Bread recipe, which I can use in the machine (I know how you feel about that….but it works well). I use it for bread crumbs and cube it for stuffing. My son is excited about the Won Ton wrappers, so we’ll be busy making those this weekend. AND now that you have a recipe for Cherry licorice, I won’t be crying every time we watch a movie (since that’s my favorite thing to eat, along with popcorn.) Thank you Nicole, I will be baking my way through the New Year! You are fabulous and I love you!! ;) Jen F.

    • Oh, no, Jen! Crying through the movies is just no good! That cranberry bread sounds amazing with dark chocolate chips! It’s a great mix-in quickbread, as you can see for yourself. Thank you so, so much for the low-down on what you made and what you loved. You really sound like you’re having fun, and what could be better than that?!

  • Bethany

    There is a big debate in my house between the Paleo Chocolate Breakfast cookie and the Thick and Chewy Oatmeal (we put dried cherries and walnuts in them instead of chocolate chips) – right now the breakfast cookies are winning – because you can eat them for breakfast. We have made 4 loaves of bread and the tiger rolls from the new book – English Muffin bread has been the favorite so far – so quick and easy! Most favorite from 2013 – having OPTIONS! Thank you so much for all you do for us, Nicole :) Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • English Muffin Bread is so quick and easy, Bethany! And so soft and squishy. But you’re 100% right. It’s about the options. Cheers to more spreading of your gluten free wings in 2014!

  • Mare Masterson

    My most favorite of 2013 – Nicole Hunn! You truly are my saving grace! I am so new to you and your blog–I had no idea you did won ton wrappers or the tapioca wraps! Oh there is so much to explore on this blog and in your books and so little time! Recent hits in my home – your pie crust recipe, banana pancake muffins (served to company and adored by all), crunchy fried onions which I made onion rings and onion straws with (not allowed to buy pre-made frozen stuff anymore) Yorkshire Pudding (your popover recipe with beef drippings added to make it Yorkshire Pudding), and Nutella stuffed brownie cookies. Hubby just found out you have a pizza crust recipe – he is drooling.

    Question, do you use real linen tea towels or cotton ones?

    • Hi, Mare! The tapioca wraps are pretty dairy-filled, I’m afraid, and I’m not sure how you’d replace the cheese so those might be a no-go for you, I’m afraid. But there are some discussions in the comments of that post that might be useful to you! Any sort of tea towels will do, Mare. All tea towels (linen or cotton) won’t leave lint behind like nubby cotton towels do, and that’s all you need!

      • Mare Masterson

        I try to not eat dairy but cheese is my most favorite food on the planet, so I do not do well with staying away from it for too long!

  • Lynn A. Decker

    I haven’t been home enough to actually bake bread, but I did make the simple pound cake you posted about a week or so ago. It was loved by ALL — not just the GF folks! Even the folks who are “bah-humbug — Gluten-Free food isn’t yummy” liked it! Thanks for all you do!

    (And I made it BEFORE WORK. The biggest fuss was getting my ancient oven to exactly 325º — it didn’t want to go over 275º that morning!)

    • Oh wow, Lynn, that is a fussy oven, not wanting to go above 275°F! Actually, baking a pound cake low and slow works great. It just takes a looooong time! ;)

  • wendyintexas

    Thank you for this list of favorites. I have made the wonton wrappers and the tapioca wraps with great success (LOVE the Against the Grain clones!), as well as many other recipes from your blog and your 3 books (I have them all—yea for me!) I was so excited when my bread cookbook arrived and the first thing I made was the cinnamon rolls AND the sticky caramelly rolls for Christmas morning. I was so careful to follow all the directions (except the baking time :( ),and I always weigh all my ingredients. I used the wet-towel-in-the-microwave way of raising the dough—it was beautiful! BUT—sadly, I baked them too long and the beautiful rolls were as dry as toast, although they looked perfect. I was afraid of undertaking (and I had not had my oven calibrated for over a year, and I think it is baking at too low a temperature), so they stayed in there till they were hopelessly dry. Boo. I will try again soon, because the fault was all mine, (and I have been cooking and baking for over 50 years!) But this GF stuff will test your mettle, for sure!

    I will be baking the sandwich bread from the new cookbook this week and I am really looking forward to that! Before I had to become gluten-free, I was constantly baking (and eating!) the artisan bread from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes books, and had almost perfected it—it was heaven, but I didn’t know then it was making me sick. I think it always has, and since my 82-year-old mother just found out last month that she actually has Celiac, I imagine I do as well. This realization of what gluten was doing to me has taken me through a 2-year journey of discovery, and not a small amount of grief, over having to completely alter how I prepare food. I would bet there are others who have felt the same kind of despair and frustration over a diagnosis of Celiac or gluten-intolerance, especially if they love to cook (as I do). I’m trying to help my mom adjust to this and it certainly isn’t easy, especially at her age….

    Thanks for all your hard work—you really helped me get over the hump and decide to soldier on with this “GF life”. I have sent a young lady to your blog (who has a fledgling cupcake business) because she really wants to offer GF cupcakes to her customers–love her! We need more people like her who take this seriously (but still have fun!)

    I have a request for something that I’m sure you can duplicate—Bisquick and Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. I have tried the recipes on the Better Batter website and because her flour weights are different than the 140-grams-per-cup you use (and I now use as well), the mixes did not turn out well for me, (and I’m sure it was my fault! I actually asked her if her weights were incorrect on the posted recipes, and she kindly emailed me back and forth with her suggestions.) I really trust your testing methods and these are 2 things I used to use a lot that I’d love to have ready-mixed again!

  • Bethany S.

    For the flour used in Gluten Free English Muffin Bread, here is what she suggests for a dairy-free substitute of Whey protein isolate: NOW Foods Pea Protein OR Growing Naturals Rice Protein Isolate (original flavor); increase liquid content of recipe to 150% (dough stage) and bake 25% longer

  • Melinda F

    Hi there!
    I’m about to take the plunge, having received your new book for Christmas (yay!!!). But now that I see that YOUR favourite GF blend is the mock cup4cup blend, I wonder if I should be using this one instead of the Better Batter mock in the book?? Is one easier to use than the other? Or maybe the Better Batter blend is one the one in the cookbook simply because it’s dairy free? I just want to get it right :). Thanks!!!

    • Jennifer

      Melinda, I would never presume to speak for Nicole but I tried one of the bread recipes using real cup4cup as the base and (to me) it was awful (compared to using her simple blend found in the bread book). I’m a huge cup4cup girl (just got a new stash of 30 lbs) but I think the high corn starch in it makes for a crumbly bread. The blend(s) she suggests in the book make a gorgeous bread the doesn’t crumble all over the place when you cut (or bite into them). :)

      • Melinda F

        Thank you, Jennifer :). I’ll take this as a great place to start :). Thanks for writing!!

      • Melinda F

        Thank you, Jennifer :). I’ll take this as a great place to start :). Thanks for writing!!

  • Seante

    well looks like I am going to have to badger my husband for another book :) And your new ones too!
    I use the gluten free on a shoe string one so much that the binding cracked and pages keep falling out LOL!
    Its my go to book for everything!
    You are a life saver!
    Thank you for all that you have done.

  • Seante

    well looks like I am going to have to badger my husband for another book :) And your new ones too!
    I use the gluten free on a shoe string one so much that the binding cracked and pages keep falling out LOL!
    Its my go to book for everything!
    You are a life saver!
    Thank you for all that you have done.

  • jswwrites

    I just found your blog and love it! I am newly gluten free (about 2 1/2 weeks) – I’ve gone from daily migraines to almost none. Baking is the biggest thing for me, so love your recipes. I wish I’d found the puff pastry one before Christmas – I make beef Wellington for Christmas Eve every year. I just made it with commercial puff pastry and ate the middle of the beef! Next year, I’ll be using this one. And I think I’ll make some New Years Day cookies today, too! (PS I’ve purchased 2 of your cookbooks this morning!)

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