what does it take to make cookies celiac safe?
February 16, 2017 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I want to make cookies that will be safe for a kid with celiac to eat. The recipe ingredients are simple: flour, eggs, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate chips; and optional baking powder. Can I use what I have or does every ingredient need GF certification to be safe?

I have Bob's cup-for-cup gluten free flour; and guittard chocolate chips which have a gluten-free label on them.

The question is, do I need to go find special brown sugar, vanilla, and baking powder? As far as I can tell these are not foods that should have any gluten in them anyway; but some are produced in facilities that process gluten. Can I use what I have?

The vanilla contains alcohol + vanilla bean. I have fancy brown sugar from Trader Joe's and some cheaper store brand. I have Trader Joe's baking powder (which contains monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, and cornstarch.) I ordinarily would just use what I have, but I don't want to screw around with celiac. What needs to be done?
posted by fingersandtoes to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have Celiac -- if they say they've been processed in a factory that also processes gluten then NO, do not use them. Additionally you need to be aware of cross-contamination in your own kitchen, so if you're using utensils that may have had flour on them, or cooking where there may be flour residue, you may be better off buying pre-made cookies.

Like, if you dipped a measuring spoon into the flour THEN the baking soda, please do not use the same baking soda in these cookies. Or if you did a batch of regular flour baking, then the GF cookies, chances are there's flour residue that could get on the GF cookies. That's how people with Celiac get sick.

Trader Joe's makes AMAZING gluten-free cookies that kids like. AND cupcakes that are delicious. On behalf of people with Celiac, thank you for taking this seriously!
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 11:51 AM on February 16, 2017 [17 favorites]

I would consider going and buying pre-made! I know that Whole Foods often has celiac-safe baked goods (packaged, not the ones in the bakery, I think cross-contamination is too big of an issue for bakeries because flour gets everywhere). Baking for people with celiac is really, really hard and I'm not sure that I would attempt it in a kitchen where you've baked with flour! Basically what yes I said yes I will Yes said.

And yes, thanks for taking this seriously!
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:45 PM on February 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Save yourself the hassle and avoid the possibility of harming someone and go to a bakery that specializes in gluten free, or buy packaged.
posted by peterpete at 12:53 PM on February 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Your baking sheets are likely an issue as well, especially if they are well used. If you choose to bake these cookies, use either disposable or brand spanking new ones. I'd suggest the Trader Joe's cookies as well. The chocolate chip taste almost homemade!
posted by BlueBear at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nthing consider buying pre-made. Your other supplies may be cross-contaminated, as well as your tools like spatulas, cookie sheets, mixer (think of all those little crevices where flour might be hiding, waiting to be fluffed into the air), etc. Cooking a meal is actually easier to do celiac-safe than baking anything.

This blog post elaborates pretty well, imo. Some of the brand info is probably outdated.
posted by purple_bird at 1:06 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm not celiac but my partner is and I'm going to have to chime in on the "your kitchen is the most likely source of cross-contamination" point. We don't keep a gluten-free home but I don't bake with wheat flour (it gets everywhere) and when I do eat something with gluten in it at home I am careful about what utensils/plates/cutlery I use. If you do decide to bake something yourself use new containers of everything and be really careful about anything with grooves, creases, scratches. Like, your mixer can have flour up where the beater goes in, and your plastic bowls probably have gluten in the scratches, and your silicone spatula has that groove where it joins onto the handle...

FWIW, my fella is just generally distrustful of stuff made by people he doesn't know well/hasn't discussed his condition with and he would generally rather have a GF cookie/cupcake from a sealed package than one made under unknown conditions. When someone makes him something but he doesn't know the details it makes him anxious because he feels obligated to eat it since the person went out of their way for him but also fearful that it will be contaminated and make him sick.

And yes those TJs chocolate chip cookies are wonderful.
posted by mskyle at 1:11 PM on February 16, 2017 [10 favorites]

Kanata makes a good point -- as a person with Celiac, I would prefer if well-meaning people did NOT cook for me and understand I am FAR HAPPIER seeing a closed package of GF food. Putting the gf cookies on a plate and telling me they're safe -- I'm probably not going to risk eating those.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 1:25 PM on February 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Gotcha, sounds like anything made on equipment that also gets used for wheat flour is not going to be reliably safe for celiac no matter what the ingredients are. I hadn't thought about the mixer but that makes sense. Ok. I'll check with the family re contributing something purchased. Thanks all.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:37 PM on February 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

By the way after this was done I asked the parent of the celiac kid and she said that her own kitchen isn't all wheat-free, she bakes both ways and exercises normal caution, and she encouraged me to do the same. I cleaned my mixer very thoroughly (so many little crevices!) and used new packets of everything and it was fine.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:29 AM on March 15, 2017

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