Substitute for sweet rice flour?
December 24, 2011 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I have a recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies that calls for rice flour, sweet rice flour and cornstarch. I can not find sweet rice flour at this late date. What is it for and what could I substitute?

The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups rice flour, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch. I was able to get rice flour last night but all the stores I called today (Fresh and Easy, Trader Joes and Whole Foods) do not have sweet rice flour in stock.

I work until 5 pm today so those were the closest stores that I thought might carry it and are open after 5.

I've never done gluten-free baking before and some searching says the sweet rice flour gives moistness. Is there anything I could substitute? Bonus points for something easy to get like applesauce.
posted by amapolaroja to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could you not just substitute regular gluten-free flour? I'd imagine if you add sugar, then that would make it sweet enough. Try this recipe maybe?
posted by Scottie_Bob at 11:40 AM on December 24, 2011

I wanted to do this particular recipe because it is in the cookbook I am giving as a gift but I guess that is kind of moot if I can't find what might be a key ingredient. :-)
I think the "gluten free flour" is created by mixing the rice flours and the cornstarch. The recipe already calls for 1/4 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar so I don't think sweetness will be an issue.
The recipe you linked also calls for things I probably can't get right now (gluten free baking powder) but thank you anyway.
posted by amapolaroja at 11:48 AM on December 24, 2011

Asian supermarkets -- Ranch 99 etc -- carry it under the name "glutinous rice flour".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:49 AM on December 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

I believe sweet rice flour is just pulverized glutinous/sticky rice, which is also called sweet rice (I don't think sugar has anything to do with it). Maybe you could find some sticky rice and just pulverize it in your blender. I have no idea if you could make it fine enough, but maybe?
posted by elizeh at 11:49 AM on December 24, 2011

I was under the impression that rice flour can be created by pulverizing rice into a fine powder. I think there is something else added to it, but I can't recall.
posted by handbanana at 11:52 AM on December 24, 2011

Looks like Ranch 99 is open until 9 tonight so I will try them but other substitutions are welcome in case they are out of stock.
posted by amapolaroja at 12:03 PM on December 24, 2011

The sweet rice flour will make the cookies chewy. I don't have experience with gf baking, but I have baked with sweet rice flour. I've noticed that a lot of gf baked goods tend to have a sandy or crumbly kind of texture, and I think the sweet rice flour would help a lot. Asian supermarkets will have rice flour in both little boxes and plastic vacuum sealed packages (here), and sometimes the plastic packages are with the whole grains (rice aisle).
posted by ilk at 12:13 PM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to recommend (maybe in the future, since it seems like this was more of an urgent matter for today?) that you try some almond flour recipes too, which generally turn out fluffy and moist when combined with egg and butter, and almond flour is super easy to find (I get it at Sprouts, $4.99/lb, but it's a little coarse--but you can make it in a food processor from just plain almonds and get it to a finer grind that way). That's my own gluten-free cookie base of choice, and I just made several batches this week that turned out nicely.
posted by so_gracefully at 1:45 PM on December 24, 2011

Ok if you're near a 99 Ranch Market you're probably not near me - but I have a bag of glutinous rice flour in Goleta that I would love to give to someone who needs it. Probably will be my newly gluten-free kid. Also am envious you're near a 99 Ranch
posted by zomg at 4:13 PM on December 24, 2011

Sweet rice flour (confusingly, a.k.a. glutinous rice flour) is widely available in any asian market, including ones specializing in chinese, japanese, thai, or indian. Also commonly findable in health food stores (and a fair percentage of ordinary grocery stores these days, including Safeway), for several times the unit cost. Look in the Bob's Red Mill section and adjacent brands).

GF flours are composed of one or more "flour" (typically a grass, nut, or bean) components plus one or more "starch" (i.e. thickening) components. The sweet rice flour belongs to the starch category. You can swap in an equal weight (NOT volume) of any other starch.

Note that each starch or flour brings its own unique characteristic, which is why GF flour mixes often combine half a dozen different stuff.

If the gift recipient likes a chewy cookie, tapioca flour (a.k.a "tapioca starch", a.k.a "cassava flour") is a great choice. A quick weigh of mine says 1/2 c volume of tapioca and 1/2 c of sweet rice starch are both 50g/1.75oz by weight. So you can do a 1:1 substitute.

50g/1.75 oz weight of potato starch (not potato flour), arrowroot, or cornstarch would also work. Cornstarch makes for very delicate cookie with smooth mouth feel. Perfect for a shortbread, poor choice for anything that needs to hold together heavier bits like nuts or chocolate chips. Potato starch slurps up water really efficiently, making batter look overly dry; don't be tempted to add extra liquid.

I agree with so_gracefully on the tastiness of almond flour-based recipes. Though do want to clarify that as an ingredient it's a flour, so would not substitute well for the sweet rice flour. For future reference, Trader Joe's sells almond flour hella cheap.

(FWIW, gluten-free baking powder is really easy to find in any grocery store. Though rarely labeled as such, a brunch of major brands of baking powder are GF.)

GF baking is always an adventure in experimentation and substitution. Rather than being disappointed to not match the book exactly, consider it a fun opportunity to contribute one more recipe. :-)
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:14 PM on December 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thank you all for your advice and offers of flour :-) I did find the glutinous rice flour at Ranch 99 and the cookies turned out well. I haven't given them to the recipients yet as our "Christmas" has been delayed due to illness but my official food taster liked them better than my usual Tollhouse cookies.
posted by amapolaroja at 1:46 AM on December 27, 2011

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