Monday, December 21, 2009

What is Arrowroot and how does it figure into Gluten-Free Baking?

I was looking up some gluten-free gingerbread cookie recipes (yes, yes, I will pass one on after I have tested it with my granddaughters) and came across a few references to arrowroot. I am passingly familiar with arrowroot through an old TV cooking show called Wok with Yan (he used arrowroot as a thickener) and the arrowroot cookies I ate through my own and my children's babyhoods. (loved them) (after my little arrowroot spiel is a funny comedy piece to watch about the arrowroot cookie)
What is Arrowroot?
West Indian Arrowroot is a perennial that produces a starch from its rootstock that was very popular in English cuisine during the Napoleonic era.  Today, arrowroot often refers to several different starches, such as tapioca or kudzu, or arrowroot powder adulterated with potato starch.   When hot water is added to "pure" arrowroot powder, a perfect jelly results.  This jelly is a great boon to vegan cooking.
The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour in baking. Like other pure starches, however, arrowroot is almost pure carbohydrate and devoid of protein, thus it does not equal wheat flour nutritionally.   
2 teaspoons of arrowroot = 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of arrowroot    = 1 tablespoon of wheat flour
Pass along your recipes and comments about arrowroot!
Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.

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