You called for it: more on gluten-free

The growing gluten-free trend wasn’t news to me when The Associated Press distributed a lengthy story with tips and recipes a month or so ago. But seeing the perfect opportunity to focus on locally produced gluten-free products, I interviewed Central Point baker Betty Lake for the June 4 story in A la Carte.

I knew an interested readership was out there, but little did I imagine the flood of phone calls that would overwhelm the newsroom in response to the story. Callers wanted to know how they could reach Lake, in part because I neglected to include her phone number, believing customers would catch up with her at the twice-weekly Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market or pick up her goods at Medford’s Food 4 Less. In case you still needed it, Lake’s phone number is 646-1088 or e-mail her at sweetaromabakery@hotmail.com.

But Lake is hardly the only local, gluten-free baker out there. While she and a couple of others specialize in bread, 38-year-old Jen Parrish of Talent makes crackers, baking mixes and pre-baked pizza and pie crusts, sold at Food 4 Less, Ashland Food Co-op and Health Food Mart. She also bakes custom birthday and wedding cakes to order. Like Lake, she works out of a certified commercial kitchen and does not have her own retail site.

Parrish has felt first-hand the difficulty of eliminating gluten from one’s diet since hearing from doctors more than a year ago that her son, now 4, shouldn’t eat wheat, soy or peanuts.

“Gluten’s in everything,” she says, adding that she believes the prevalence of over-processed wheat in packaged food has led to so many people’s diagnosis of celiac disease.

“It was shocking, actually.”

Talking with other parents, Parrish knew gluten-free was a niche market that wasn’t by any means filled. To cater to her son, she baked graham crackers and cheesy animal-shaped crackers, which remain among the core products of her business, Gluten-free Goodies. She also eschews corn syrup or hydrogenated oils in her baking. She can be contacted for special orders at 840-7526.  

Understandably, gluten-free bakers like Lake and Parrish aren’t giving up their recipes. So here’s another to complement the three included with the June 4 story. Portland-area Bob’s Red Mill produces oat flour and hazelnut and almond meals. The brand is well stocked in health-food sections of several local stores. Or buy online.

Nutty Oatmeal Cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups oat flour

1/2 cup hazelnut meal/flour

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Combine the butter and sugars in bowl of a food processor or stand mixer; process for 20 to 30 seconds, until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract; process until well combined. Stop motor to add the flours and baking powder; process to mix well. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add the chocolate morsels; stir to combine. Drop by teaspoonfuls or tablespoonfuls on baking sheet; bake 1 sheet at a time for 15 minutes, until lightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 to 30 cookies.

— Recipe adapted from “Cookies for Breakfast: A Teen’s Not So Bad Guide to Wheat and Gluten-Free Baking,” by Michael H. Perlman.

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  • Blog Author

    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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