The Baker’s Spotlight is on Jana Patton RD, LD, CBE, a Women, Infant and Children (WIC) dietitian educator from Topeka, Kansas. Jana’s been baking since she was small, at home, in 4-H and now it’s a part of her work and personal health and wellness.
“I grew up learning to bake with my family and making memories with my mother, father, 3 sisters or grandparents. Cooking and baking are “for sure” family events and I adore sharing the fun with my young nieces and nephews. My favorite recipes are by far family recipes that have been passed down over the generations. Some I love most my great grandmother brought from Czechoslovakia. Growing the collection is now a passion of mine. With family still in the Czech Republic, and both her mom, Charlene and grandmother to bake with, I still can get firsthand recipes connected with our heritage.’’
The recipe Jana’s sharing—Gluten-free Cornmeal Lemon Cookies—is a product of necessity since being diagnosed with Celiac disease a few years ago. Learning how to adapt recipes that were not already gluten-free to something that was safe to eat is major challenge for anyone who must avoid gluten. Jana’s strong baking skills is a major benefit for both her health and to save money.
“It’s not easy buying ready-baked goods since gluten can be present in ways you don’t think of, or present due to the mixing environment. Reading ingredient labels is especially important and researching companies can be as well to make sure they are celiac safe. Being a dietitian also helps make special dietary changes and adaptations. Above all, I’m really blessed with a supportive, talented family of cooks and bakers with a long history of cooking, baking and nutrition.
The original cookie recipe is a Cornmeal Sugar Cookie from Gourmet Magazine (2007) I’ve since adapted. Modifications included substituting
- all-purpose gluten free flour blend for all-purpose wheat flour
- gluten-free cornbread mix instead of cornmeal (certified gluten-free cornmeal was difficult to find)
- adding extra lemon (a personal favorite)
(A) combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon zest; sprinkle on each cookie before baking
(B) mix lemon zest plus fresh lemon juice in a lemon sugar glaze
(C) add 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract in addition to the fresh lemon juice when creaming the butter mixture
TIP: Use a cookie dipper to form even sized balls for baking sheet.
Cookies can be an easy treat to bake and then take to someone to show you care about them–great for Bake and Take Month! Who can turn down a lemon cookie?! Whether or not you have celiac you will love these cookies.