If you’re ever in Chicago, give serious consideration to stopping by Beatrix, a River North (really, downtown to me) restaurant that’s so many things: coffee bar, real bar, bakery and breakfast/lunch/dinner place.
A lot of the food has a modern, healthy spin and all the trends are here, including a delicious crispy kale salad.
But here’s the yummiest thing of all:
This gluten-free, triple chocolate chunk cookie is seriously to die for.
I split one with two friends when I was in Chicago last month, and when I had a quick return trip to give a talk last week, I had to swing by for another. Except this time, that cookie was all mine.
I’d love to find the recipe. (Correction: I’d love to live next door to Beatrix and go there every day for one of these babies. My legendary hatred of all domestic chores persists).
My good friend Google found this version that looks like the same thing, except there is no way in the universe I would bake something that requires all of the following:
- Potato Starch – 0.55 Cups
- Sugar Castor – 0.37 Cups
- Cocoa Powder – 1.75 Tablespoons
- Dark Treacle – 2 Tablespoons
- Glucose – 2 Tablespoons
- Glycerine – 1.75 Tablespoons
- Egg – 1.37 oz.
- Ammonium Bicarbonate – 0.66 Teaspoon
- Sodium Bicarbonate – 0.42 Teaspoon
- Salt – 0.42 Teaspoon
- Maize starch cornflour – 0.39 Cup
- Rice flour – 0.30 Cup
- Soy Flour – 0.22 cup
I don’t even know what dark treacle is.
This version from gluten-free guru Bob’s Red Mill seems much easier by comparison, but it still involves baking and this is me we’re talking about here.
I’ll probably be content to dream about that cookie (and book a return ticket to Chicago for next month).
We found out the hard way that Trixie had the World’s Worst Case of Celiac Disease when she was 1 year old (Doctor: “If there is a pyramid of people affected, she’s at the top.” Ugh.)
I know it’s trendy to go gluten-free now, but this wasn’t fad, it was necessity. And so nearly four years ago, our family made a radical shift on how we lived and ate.
We still need to be careful: Accidental gluten ingestion leads to predictable yet forceful (and copious!) projectile vomiting a few hours later and general misery for all included.
The end result has been the following:
- We mostly eat at home. More restaurants have gluten-free options now, but we’re selective on where we go. (Tip: For a national chain, Chipotle actually comes through quite well).
- We rarely eat bread. Eating a hunk of delicious, crusty baguette is one of my culinary pleasures in life, but I’ve mostly given it up. It doesn’t seem fair to nosh on fresh bread while Trixie sits on the sidelines. I know I could bake my own gluten-free bread, but this is me we’re talking about. Sometimes I still sneak and order delivery pizza when she’s asleep. Yes, I’m horrible but you already knew that.
- For sandwiches, we buy Udi’s bread, which we usually store in the freezer and take out a few pieces at a time. They also make hamburger and hot dog buns, plus pizza crusts. This is a really good company for GF food.
- We have two separate toasters, one for gluten and one without.
- Similarly, there are two separate jars of peanut butter, jam, etc. Avoid cross-contamination.
- We’ve taken the same vacation three years in a row (Number 4 coming up in May! I’ll post about that some other time), mostly because the staff bends over backwards to accommodate gluten-free diets.
- Like most areas of my life, I pick my battles. While there are some nutritious cereals that are gluten-free, there are also some that are not. Like Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles. We eat a lot of Pebbles. Sigh.
- Speaking of cereals, the real winner in the GF department is Chex. They have seven varieties of cereal without gluten.
- And because Trixie’s a kid, she often gets invited to birthday parties, where she needs to bring her own treats. This was one of the saddest things to me when she was first diagnosed, imagining her having to tote some weird cupcake to eat at the party when the other kids had cake and ice cream. But she doesn’t seem to mind at all! Ideally, I would whip up a batch of GF cupcakes (Betty Crocker has a decent cake mix since I’m waaaay too lazy to bake from scratch) and keep them in the freezer, pulling out one or two for her to frost and decorate to her suiting before any event, but I usually forget and scramble, paying an exorbitant amount for frozen gluten-free cupcakes from our local food co-op.
For fun, we’ve also made a few recipes from the Chex website, including this cute fruit sushi. This picture is from the site, but with a little help from our older cousins, ours didn’t turn out much worse:
Chex Fruit Sushi
Today, we’re going to try one of their recipes for peanut butter blossoms Chex mix. Since my domestic skills are weak, I’m recruiting the kiddos to help me. Hopefully with their assistance, I won’t ruin it.