Double Post: Seitan is Evil?!  /  Moon Cookies

Double Post: Seitan is Evil?! / Moon Cookies

gluten free mexican wedding cookies

Seitan is Evil?!

This is a slightly different type of post- and I apologize in advance for the lack of redundancy.  But, there will be a few changes with Manifest Vegan.  Nothing huge, but I thought I should let everyone know.  My intention for the site will still be the same: to show people that their old favorite foods will not be compromised when switching to a vegan diet… and to share a few good recipes with fellow vegans.

But you may notice a few differences in my posts.  Earlier this week, I found out that one of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure in life –gluten– apparently is my worst enemy.  Turns out that I, a dedicated and truly avid baker, am a celiac.

Which totally sucks. Because now,  I have to get used to baking gluten-free.  Also, I will never again enjoy the incredible sensation of eating seitan, or drinking a hefeweizen, or anxiously awaiting my bread dough to rise into smooth, glowing perfection.  Or most importantly- enjoying all those things at the same damn time… which is how most of my days went.

On the bright side… I guess I will feel better.

I kinda owe a humongous thank you to Gena of Choosing Raw.  Her site inspired me to try out a “high raw” diet.  I wanted to give it a shot just because I was getting very little in the way of raw veggie intake, and I was desperately needing an upgrade in my diet.  In fact, my husband went “high raw”  too… and we both loved it.  But the best thing about it, aside from raw kale twice a day, all the dates I can stomach, and zucchini noodles… is that it has literally saved my life.

By trying out a high raw diet, I was actually eliminating the reason I have been chronically ill: I was eating gluten at alarming rates, and it was simply poisoning me.  I and my doctor had a major realization that gluten and I were in a very abusive relationship.  I loved it desperately, and I would run to it all times of the day and night.  And it, in turn, would beat the crap out of me.  This apparently has been going on for five years or so.  But, I was too smitten by gluten’s charms and just didn’t see it.  Incidentally, by following a “high raw” diet, I eliminated all gluten I was consuming… and sure enough, I felt normal again when I went gluten-free.  Looking back on it… VeganMofo almost killed me.   Next year I will know better.

So, from now on, you will see posts that will be arranged a little differently.  And, there will be a lot less wheat flour around here.  Some of my recipes originally made with all-purpose flour will now have a gluten-free version, which will be shown in the photo.  But, I will also share my “gluten-full”  or regular vegan version if there happens to be one (for those of you still on good terms with wheat flour).  And, since I am currently mourning the loss of my gluten dependent lifestyle… we will have to wait and see where it goes from there.

For now, please enjoy this Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe.

Moon Cookies (Mexican Wedding Cookies)

My gluten free version of a vegan version of my favorite cookie as a kid: Moon Cookies.  Since this is my first time baking gluten-free cookies… I bought one of those “Bob’s Red-Mill”  mixes and subbed it and some xantham gum where my trusty old all-purpose flour would go.

The version with all-purpose flour is incredible.  I highly recommend trying it out if you can do gluten.

The gluten-free mix produced okay-ish results.  They were good, pretty much the same,  but there was definitely an aftertaste.  So I have some work ahead of me to figure out my own perfect all-purpose flour substitute… or however that works.  But these are pretty good for a first attempt.

Gluten Free Option: substitute 2 1/2 cups “Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free all purpose baking flour” and 1/4 tsp xanthan gum, for “all-purpose flour” in recipe ingredients below.  Make sure you mix these ingredients together before adding.  Also, be sure your vanilla extract is gluten free.  Prepare and bake the same way as described below.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all- purpose flour
  • 1 cup Earth Balance margarine, cold
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds, roasted or raw

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together sugar, vanilla and margarine.  Add chopped almonds to the sugar and margarine mixture, then gradually mix in flour.  Your dough will be crumbly, but easily formed into a ball when worked slightly with hands.

gluten free cookie dough

Form into balls, about walnut sized.  You then can go on to shape them into moons with your hands, or leave them as spheres.  To retain the crescent shape… keep them kinda on the slim side, because they spread a little bit.

gluten free cookie dough

Bake on un-greased cookie sheet  in preheated oven for about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet about 15 minutes.  Roll generously in confectioner’s sugar until very well coated.  Let cool an additional 20 minutes on wire rack.

gluten free mexican wedding cookies

26 Responses to Double Post: Seitan is Evil?! / Moon Cookies

  1. Gena says:

    My god, thank you so much!!! I cannot tell you what these words mean to me. Raw foods can be the start of so many incredible changes and improvements. I’m glad that they’ve helped catapult you to such a good place.

    • allyson says:

      Gena,
      Well, you are so welcome!! I am sharing with everyone I know, the abundance of really great info on your site. I’m still eating “high raw” and it seriously has created changes I never thought possible! Now I know that the foods I “treat” myself with just have to be gluten-free… easy enough! Thanks so much again–truly life changing…

  2. Jess says:

    How “sick” does gluten make you? What sort of “sick” is it? Do you get stomach cramps, nausea, gas pains, reflux? I’ve never actually figured out what celiacs go through, but then, I’ve never asked. Sorry if I’m prying. :)

  3. Mihl says:

    I am really sorry to hear this. I hope you will adjust to and enjoy your new diet. I have celiac friends who can still have their occasional beer. Maybe, once you’ve sorted everything out, this will be an option for you, too?

    Those cookies look stellar by the way!

    • allyson says:

      Thanks Mihl–
      It’s a bit of a shock to my system…but I know it will all work itself out. I’ll have to see about that beer… that would be really nice! Thanks for the compliment on the cookies too! :D

  4. Jes says:

    I’m really glad to hear that MoFo *didn’t* kill you, although suffering through the symptoms for so long with no idea why must have been awful. The great thing about gf is that it’s just like when you first went vegan: everything’s a challenge and hopefully there are some delicious surprises along the way. I don’t need to be gf, but I’ve started making a lot of my recipes gf because there are so many folks out there. You’ll be able to get up an running with gf baking in no time! (making your own gf flour mixes is key, I’ve found, with a good mix of starch and whole grains like quinoa or millet.)

    • allyson says:

      Jes–
      Thank you dearly for your support! I have been scouring through your site all day for re-assurance!!! You are totally right, I just need to get used to it… and figure out a good mix! Thanks so much for everything… I can’t wait to be a baking fool again!! :)

  5. Crystal says:

    I’ve been silently following your blog for a while now and have to admit that I’m rather selfishly excited to see another GF vegan blog. I’ve recently switched to a gluten free diet myself and have been very intimidated by GF baking. I have good news though! There is gluten free (and vegan) beer out there! It’s just a matter of finding it in your area. Here are two that I’ve tried recently: Green’s http://www.glutenfreebeers.co.uk/ and New Grist http://www.newgrist.com/

    • allyson says:

      Crystal- Your comment means soooo much to me! Both with the beer and the excitement about gluten free baking posts! Yay! I can’t wait to share my new recipes with everyone- and learn a lot of great things along the way.;)

  6. Lindsey says:

    Sorry to hear you’re having to go gf. It seems like there are more and more recipes out there now, like a cookbook using almond flour, and even Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar has a suggestion on a flour mix for gf baking. At least ideas to help ease you in as you find your own mix.

    At least tofu and wine, etc. aren’t evil, right? :)

    Good luck!

  7. SugarBear says:

    Glad to know you’re feeling better, even if it means giving up the gluten. If it helps at all, my favorite cornbread recipe is gluten free and you can get it right here: http://www.veganfusion.com/newsletter/cornbread.html

    It’s not a traditional southern cornbread, but everyone who tastes it becomes a convert. I always do the double cornbread variation, although one of these days I gotta try the cranberry walnut. I have no doubt you’ll find a hundred other tasty variations of your own.

  8. GFjem says:

    Hi Allyson,

    I don’t wish celiac on anybody, but I love the analogy! That was me 4 years ago! There are some good mixes out there, but BRM brand uses bean flour which has an aftertaste. Better BAtter Flour is very like all purpose white flour, but like white flour, does not have much nutrition in it. I have made knishes and pie crust and challah with great results. They use agar powder as a structuring agent for the flour. (Some mixes out there use gelatin.) There is a vegan gluten free group on yahoo that is very supportive and can help with transition from whaet to gluten free! I am cheering for you and know we will love reading your GF recipes!
    Hugs, Julie

    • allyson says:

      GFjem- Thank you soooooooo much. I just placed an order for some of the better batter flour. I am definitely seeking a flour mix that is devoid of nutrients (at least sometimes)…. I can’t wait to try it out! And, most importantly, thank you dearly for the super awesome support! :)

  9. Laura says:

    After two and a half years of awful stomach problems (and a negative test result for celiac), I gave up glutan experimentally about 4 months ago and it has made such a dramatic difference. I forgot what it’s like to feel good, and to be able to eat like a normal person! I no longer have to worry about getting sick and had the best Thanksgiving in a long time; no worrying!

    On the other hand, I am also an avid baker and it has been REALLY hard. I had really gotten good at vegan baking and was making major bread-baking progress when I realized I had a gluten intolerance. Experiments baking with rice flour and potato starch have been gritty and unsharable (I’ll eat it but wouldn’t give it to someone else!). Not until I bought a BRM mix did I enjoy a vegan cookie. So it will definitely take practice but other than that, I have found the transition to be pretty easy overall.

    Unfortunately my roommate has a soy allergy and comparing what the two of us CAN’T eat, i’d rather be a vegan with a gluten intolerance than a vegan with a soy allergy.

    I’m looking forward to trying out your gluten free recipes!

    • allyson says:

      Laura,
      It is so nice to hear such a familiar story!! Isn’t it crazy when the thing you really love is so bad for you?! I am really glad you found out the culprit.. it’s good to just know.. ya know? I am also so glad to hear you found the transition to GF easy. :) I am finding it easier day by day… just finished my first gluten free vegan beer… hooray!

      I cannot imagine having a soy allergy… knock on wood… I don’t eat tooo tooo much of it.. but in the little amounts i have it, it is in everything! Crazy…

      Thank you so much for the nice words!

      Best wishes to you and all your GF days ahead…
      Allyson

      • Laura says:

        I completely forgot I made this post…and was reading and saw it and thought “hey, that was me!” Duh.

        Anyway, since I last posted, I have discovered something truly incredible…”gluten free gluten.”

        I originally bought it at veganessentials but they no longer carry it. It’s also available on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/OrgraN-Gluten-Substitute-7-Ounce-Boxes/dp/B000EHW0VQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1277752927&sr=8-6

        Unfortunately it’s EXPENSIVE. But it really does make your baked goods taste and feel like they are made with wheat flour. It’s incredible.

        If you’ve posted about this already, my apologies, but it really is amazing.

        • allyson says:

          That is crazy. Thank you so much for letting me know about this.. maybe it wouldn’t be too terribly expensive if the package would yield a lot of servings?

          Xanthan gum seems to be pretty pricey too (where I am able to purchase it easily), but my teeny little package has lasted a while. Now that you have gotten my curiousty going, I just may have to invest!

          If it can help with the elasticity of dough… I will be stoked!!

          Thank you so much, Laura!!!

  10. Mary says:

    We are in a very similar boat. I found out in September that I have Celiac, and it turned my world upside down. I loved to bake, and all my experiments were miserable failures. I’ve had a couple of successes, but I have so much to learn.

    About beer: most of the gluten-free stuff is horrible. Red Bridge and St. Thomas’s Sorghum Beer are tolerable, but they taste like Bud and Bud Light. If you’re used to good beer, they will be a let down. The best GF beer I’ve had was a Green’s Triple Blond–it tasted completely normal. The other styles of Green’s GF beer are way too sweet. Real beer is definitely the thing I miss most. I’m not that into wine, and I’m not about to start drinking liquor every evening. I’m drinking more tea, which is good, but it’s no Scottish ale.

    You seem to have a remarkably positive outlook about your new way of eating. I was (am still) seriously bummed out. But I’m not having migraines and stomach problems, and I’m not tired and sore everyday. Is it worth it? I don’t know. Bread is so good. It’s the increased risk of digestive cancer that scares me off of gluten–I don’t want to mess with that.

    All the recipes on my blog since mid-September are gluten-free. I can’t wait to learn from your experiments and successes!

    • allyson says:

      Hi Mary,

      We certainly are in the same boat…. which is extra comforting! As “professionally” as I try and present my transition to GF, it still is majorly traumatic for me- not so much the eating part, just the baking. Before the diagnosis, you would never catch me without a humongous bag of flour… it’s a hard thing to lose. I seriously feel like I was just robbed of one of my true passions.

      For years, I knew that celiac was a possibility. But, I was not even considering living without flour! I thought that any other auto-immune disorder diagnosis would be better- but I am glad (and my husband is relieved), at least, that celiac disease is easy (relatively) to control.

      I try and stay positive, thinking that this all happened for a reason. There are many wonderful vegan blogs out there…and many wonderful GF blogs- but still just a few which cater to both. I’m so glad to discover yours!!! Thank you for sharing your info– I feel you on the “is it worth it?”…. I don’t wanna mess with the outcomes either, too too scary. Feeling like crap all the time was no fun either (for me or my poor family), and the migraines… good riddance!!!

      I will have to make a special trip to try out some Green’s triple blonde- mmmmm. :)

      Looking forward to sharing and learning GF baking experiences with you as well!! You are already many steps ahead… thank you.

  11. Sarah says:

    Hey there, I’ve just found your lovely blog! Welcome to the world of gluten-free! I too am coeliac and vegan, and try to eat high raw. It’s a great journey, and doesn’t feel limiting once you’re used to it (although I do get the very occasional bread cravings). Good luck x

  12. I just made a non-vegan/GF version of these cookies using your recipe…but mine kind of melted all over the place. Is there a secret to getting the cookies to keep their shape?? (Mine were balls, not moons).

    • allyson says:

      Hi Becca!

      So sorry to hear your cookies didn’t turn out. These were one of the very first cookies I made gluten free… and I had used the prepackaged flour mix, and thought that it was pretty replaceable with AP flour at the time. Without knowing exactly what went into your cookies (I’m guessing just butter?), it’s hard to determine why they made have spread as they did… but I can assure you that this happened to me very frequently when I used prepackaged gf baking mixes in the past (not with this recipe though). Since then I pretty much abandoned using them and create my own depending on what type of recipe I am making. All I can assume is that the ingredients may not have jived well with whatever non-vegan ingredient you may have used? I know that the Bob’s Red Mill mix has proven to be be finicky with me… making somethings perfectly and others large melted disasters. Not too much of a special technique or secret with these, but I think ingredients and proportions are pretty important with these types of cookies which have a lot of fat and sugar in them. The dough should be pretty dry… and you should have to pack them together to make balls… if the dough is slightly wetter than this, they definitely could spread.

  13. michelle says:

    thank you sooo much for this site and recipes, I look frequently but never comment

    I just made these with peanut flour (from trader joes) but others make it

    and they were superb and perfect and gluten free!!!

    happy holidays and thanks again!!!

  14. Caitlin says:

    it’s so bizarre to read this post now. you were so horrified..and now gluten-free is your trademark in the vegan community! you have really embraced it ;)

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