Holiday treats, gluten-free

Local baker shares her tips on changing-up holiday favorites

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Recipe provided by Kimberly Koch of Truly Scrumptious

1 cup brown sugar

4 cups oat flour

1 cup tapioca flour/starch *

1 cup corn starch

1 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup all vegetable shortening (Spectrum brand)

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups cranberry jam

In a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, then cut in the coconut oil and vegetable shortening, until the mixture becomes pea sized bits. Then, combine applesauce and coconut milk. Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. Press 2/3 of the mix into a 1/2 sheet jelly roll pan. Spread jam over the dough and crumble remaining dough over the top. Bake for 30 minutes on 350, chill in the refrigerator and then cut into bars. The bars also freeze well, according to Koch.

*Tapioca flour is 2 parts oat flour, 1 part brown rice flour and 1 part tapioca starch

Kimberly Koch can be reached at kimberly.koch@comcast.net or 909-9841, for those wanting to order gluten-free pastries. A selection is available at Cafe Piccolo Paradiso, 309 N.E. Birch St., Camas. She also sells gluten-free treats at the Camas Farmers Market, held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Fourth Avenue in front of the library, May through October.

Recipe provided by Kimberly Koch of Truly Scrumptious

1 cup brown sugar

4 cups oat flour

1 cup tapioca flour/starch *

1 cup corn starch

1 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup all vegetable shortening (Spectrum brand)

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups cranberry jam

In a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, then cut in the coconut oil and vegetable shortening, until the mixture becomes pea sized bits. Then, combine applesauce and coconut milk. Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. Press 2/3 of the mix into a 1/2 sheet jelly roll pan. Spread jam over the dough and crumble remaining dough over the top. Bake for 30 minutes on 350, chill in the refrigerator and then cut into bars. The bars also freeze well, according to Koch.

*Tapioca flour is 2 parts oat flour, 1 part brown rice flour and 1 part tapioca starch

Kimberly Koch can be reached at kimberly.koch@comcast.net or 909-9841, for those wanting to order gluten-free pastries. A selection is available at Cafe Piccolo Paradiso, 309 N.E. Birch St., Camas. She also sells gluten-free treats at the Camas Farmers Market, held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Fourth Avenue in front of the library, May through October.

Those who live a gluten-free lifestyle, whether by choice or necessity, sometimes find it challenging to find treats that they can enjoy without worrying about the after affects.

Celiac disease sufferers, in particular, must be extremely careful that no gluten is in their food or they risk having a severe allergic reaction. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by gluten intolerance. Gliadin, a protein in wheat, causes afflicted persons’ immune system to attack its own bowel tissue.

Kimberly Koch first realized there was a need for gluten-free baking seven years ago.

The owner of Truly Scrumptious had recently launched her business and was serving treats to schoolchildren who had taken a tour of a local restaurant where she rented kitchen space.

“This little girl’s mom told me she was gluten-free and couldn’t eat the cookies,” Koch said. “Thankfully, I had fruity pebbles rice crispy treats, which she could have. I never forgot the look on her face. Treats are so important when you are little.”

She began experimenting with her recipes and now makes gluten-free versions of most of her baked goods. Truly Scrumptious does not have a storefront location, but sells items at the Camas Farmer’s Market, Caffe Piccolo and to individual customers.

“My job is to feed the people of Camas,” Koch said. “Vancouver has plenty of options. My work is here. People sometimes get focused on what they can’t have, but it is pretty easy to translate traditional treats into gluten-free ones, especially cakes, cookies and quick bread.”

However, Koch doesn’t make gluten-free bread.

“I don’t have the proficiency but there are lots of things I can make,” she said. “Life is better when you can have the things you want.”

On a recent rainy fall morning, the delicious aroma of baked goods wafted through the air at her home. Tables were laden with holiday cookies, pumpkin bread, apple cake, brownies, tarts, cupcakes and scones. All of these were made from gluten-free recipes.

“Almond flour and coconut flour are great,” Koch said. “I also avoid eggs and (most) nuts with these recipes, as folks who are gluten-free tend to have other allergies as well.”

After some experimenting, Koch began making her own gluten-free flour using two parts oat flour, one part brown rice flour and one part tapioca starch.

“I always tell people to get a really good gluten free cookbook,” Koch said. “My favorite one is ‘Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America’. It is a great resource and has five different flour blends.

“There are some great recipes in there, and the items are very doable. I love the Brazilian cheese rolls.”

Koch, a mother of twin boys, has been baking her whole life.

Her mother disliked baking and cooking, according to Koch, so as a young girl, she picked up a cookbook one day and decided to try out recipes, something that she continues to do now.

Koch also experiments with vegan, gluten-free pastries. The result is her cranberry walnut streusel bar, which is sold at Cafe Piccolo. Since it is vegan, the treat is free of eggs, milk and butter.

“My job is to feed the people here, and that means everyone,” she said. “You just have to have the attitude that most anything is doable in a gluten-free version.”

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