Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bake with Price Chopper

Last night I had the privelege to attend a holiday baking course hosted by Price Chopper at the Century House. Two chefs, Gail Sokol (professor at SCCC's culinary department) and Elizabeth Barbone (of East Gluten Free Baking fame) presented recipes. It was a wonderful time and I was so glad that Lisa from Price Chopper contacted me to tell me about it! 

Gail presented two (non-gluten free recipes) for a chocolate cranberry walnut babka and an espresso almond biscotti.

Elizabeth (whom I was delighted to meet in person for the first time!) presented a rustic apple pie (otherwise known as a galette) with my favorite granny smith apples, pumpkin whoopee pies with a wonderfully gooey marshmallow filling, and an easy-but-delicious chocolate bark that I am planning to use for my annual cookie swap with the girls! Of course, we got to try samples, which were delicious! (Confession, I brought my samples of Elizabeth's recipe home so that I could share them with my celiac husband - while everything was delish, we were both especially impressed by the pumpkin whoopee pie - I must try this recipe at home).

We did find out some good tips - at least, tips that I hadn't really known about beforehand. I was Tweeting a few of them during the event with the hashtag #BakeWithPC but here are some of the tips for you in blog form:

  • Dough scrapers are a useful little gadget - used both for molding dough if you don't want to use your hands or cleaning off surfaces. I must pick one up.
  • Whisks are recommended to thoroughly mix blended flours before processing (SN: I already do this, but I use the whisk attachment of my stand mixer rather than a hand whisk).
  • Never, ever use liquid measuring cups (with a spout) for measuring solids!
  • Sugar gets clumpy because it's hydroscopic - that means that is absorbs water from the air. Is that a Words with Friends word or what?
  • The Niskayuna Price Chopper recently had a grand re-opening and have expanded their line of gluten free products.
  • The crumbs at the bottom of the stand mixer are NOT to be ignored (what I usually do). Make sure to mix them in by hand, halfway through the stand mixing process, for better baked goods.
  • Gluten free all-purpose flour is NOT recommended for high quality gluten free baked goods (That said, some mixes are better than others. Betty Crocker/Bisquick mixes and King Arthur Flour are higher quality than many others).
  • Food processors can be used to mix all flours, etc. before baking. Interesting!
  • Never replace butter or other solid fats with oils when making pie crust or other doughs.
  • Tapioca starch, potato starch, and corn starch are pretty interchangeable in recipes.
  • While tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the exact same thing, potato flour and potato starch are notably different!
  • Many gluten free recipes are over-aggressive in their use of xanthan gum. Too much gum can make food gummy - and cause gluten free bread not to toast!
  • "Imitation" flavorings are legally required to be gluten free since they're derived from a synthetic rather than organic source. (Organic in the chemistry sense here...)
  • Don't ever use a wet sponge or paper towel to clean up spilled xanthan gum, as the moisture will result in a slimy mess.
  • Corn starch will not thicken sauces or other goods unless it comes to a full boil. 
Some of the bloggers I met throughout the evening (I'm sorry if I left your link off, if I did please let me know and I will add it!):


Shelby said...

It was nice meeting you last night Kat! I really enjoyed the Whoopie Pie too and plan to try the recipe out for my friend who is going to visit me next weekend and is gluten free! I learnt a lot last evening too and am very appreciative to have had the opportunity to attend :)

Elizabeth Barbone said...

I LOVED meeting you! Thank you so much for coming out last night. We need to see each other again!