Gluten-Free Sopaipillas. Fluffy “pillows” of fried dough, drizzled with sweet honey…oh, how I never thought this day would come!!
Why is this such a big deal to me, you ask? Well, I live in New Mexico, the birthplace of sopaipillas and they are as commonplace in New Mexican restaurants as bread baskets are in Italian restaurants! Sopapillas are typically served sweet with with honey; or savory, by stuffing them with various enchilada-type fillings.
I have spent the past several months trying to make my own gluten-free sopaipillas and I have tried numerous recipes and different flour blends, only to be disappointed with the end result: flat, hard “Tempur-Pedic pillows” of fried dough!
Is it just me, or do you ever feel like some gluten-free flour blends may as well just “hit you over the head with a rolling pin?”
I had to do some research on sopaipillas and I learned that the temperature of the oil plays a very important role in the desired “pillowy-ness” of the fried dough. If the oil is too cool or too hot there will be no “poof.” Of all the flour blends I’ve tried, the taste test winner belonged to my personal favorite: Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour. **Just to be clear, I am not affiliated with Better Batter in anyway, nor do they pay me to promote their product, nor do I earn a commission if someone buys their products because of my blog. I just really love it!
If you haven’t heard of or tried Better Batter yet, let me tell you a little bit about it. The following is from the Better Batter website (my emphasis added):
Approved for use in diet: GFCF, Kosher [OU-Pareve], Vegetarian/Vegan, Feingold Stages I and II
Ingredients: Rice and Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Potato Flour, Pectin*, Xanthan Gum
Shared Equipment with: tree nuts (but they are working hard to find a solution to this)
Better Batter Products are Free of: gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, sesame, seafood (fish and shellfish), GMO
**ELISA Tested (batch AND third party lab) Free of : Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy**
I have been doing a little bit of math over the past couple of days to add to Tia’s (of Glügle Gluten Free) recent post on Gluten-Free Bisquick. I thought this was a great post and Tia made some very good points that personally hit home with me, and I will add my two cents in a moment. But first, let’s make some gluten-free sopaipillas!
I adapted the following recipe from one I found on allrecipes.com (I cut the recipe in half):
2 cups Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder (I did not cut this amount in half, the extra baking powder can be quite helpful with gluten-free flours at times).
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. Shortening (I used Spectrum)
3/4 cup Very Warm Water
Oil for Frying
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt then cut in the shortening.
- Stir in warm water; mix until dough is smooth.
- Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. This is a good time to start heating the oil.
- Roll out on floured board until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut into 3 inch squares.
- Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). (Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature is EXACT. If the oil is too cool, the sopapillas will not puff up and they will turn out soggy. If the oil is too hot, they won’t puff up and they will turn out hard as a rock).
- Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
Sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
Cut in Shortening.
Add warm water.
Cover the dough with a towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough to 1/8 – 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut dough into 3″ x 3″ squares.
Add dough to 375° F. oil.
Fry until golden brown on each side. It is SO COOL to watch them puff up!!
Serve warm, drizzled with honey for a traditional New Mexican treat or add some flare with a dusting of powdered sugar, hot fudge sauce or make these a main meal and stuff them with your favorite fillings! Check out this video with Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives, for some inspiration!
Okay, so back to the topic that Tia at Glügle Gluten Free recently blogged on. Tia posed the following question:
With all of the talk about how expensive gluten-free products are, why are people choosing a more expensive one because of the name?
Tia was referring to the cost of Gluten-Free Bisquick. I mentioned something about the cost in my recent review, and while I paid less than Tia did for the GF Bisquick at my local Super Walmart ($3.98 for a 16-oz. box), I had to modify if it to make it more like the yellow box Bisquick (wanting to put the “quick” in the GF Bisquick, LOL!). While adding the shortening to the mix worked great for the products I tested it on (for my review), shortly thereafter I made biscuits and they came out flat and hard as a rock. I re-made the biscuits with the Better Batter Pancake and Baking mix, and just like I’ve always thought, they remind me much more of the Bisquick biscuits I grew up on (see my Better Batter Gluten-Free Biscuits post from February 2009).
So, I decided to do a little cost analysis of my own and here are my calculations per ounce of gluten-free flour (store cost) to add to Tia’s list:
Gluten Free Bisquick (at $3.98 per 16-oz. box): $0.25/oz
Better Batter Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix (at $6.37 per 20-oz. box): $0.31/oz BUT Better Batter is ready to use, no need to add shortening (which adds more to the cost of the GF Bisquick).
Here is another comparison:
King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour ($7.95 per 24-oz. box): $0.33/oz (FYI: The King Arthur GF Flour DOES NOT contain Xanthan Gum, so you will need to figure in the added cost for that.
I have to admit that I was a bit miffed at the cost of the King Arthur GF Flour the second I read the ingredient list: Specialty Flour Blend (Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour), Potato Starch, Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour.
Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch and Potato Starch.
I don’t know about you, but in my experience those are the least expensive gluten-free flours out there and with no Xanthan Gum added (which is not cheap mind you), why are they charging $7.95 for a 1lb. 8 oz box of flour? I will make an assumption here, but I think we are paying for the name brand King Arthur Flour. Doing the math, I figured out that 5 lbs. of King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour would cost $26.50, and you would still need to buy the xanthan gum!
Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour ($18.50 per 5-lb. bag [80 ounces] + $7.50 for shipping on Amazon): $0.32/oz AND it includes the Xanthan Gum.
**I personally buy Better Batter directly from them (by the 25-lb. bag) and it reduces my cost even more: $0.18/oz. (and that includes the flat shipping rate of $7.50 per order).
While I understand (and feel) the excitement about all the new gluten-free products coming to market (and I can’t ignore that there’s a sentimental factor for the name brands I grew up on); I think it is very important to remember the smaller companies that have been making safe gluten-free products out of sheer love and passion (and quite often because the entrepreneur has celiac disease or knows a close friend or relative with it), long before the gluten-free diet went mainstream.
These are the companies that were here before the bigger companies wanted a piece of the “gluten-free pie,” and these are the companies that will be hit hardest by the current economy.
Large companies can get loans from the bank, can raise money in the stock market, or even get a government bailout; but it is the small companies (who can’t do any of this right now), who need the most help (trust me, I know lots of small business owners in this very boat right now). In many instances, these folks have put their entire net worth on the line to develop these products for us and our families; and as far as I’m concerned, as long as the product works for me and the price is not much higher (if at all), I think I will be sticking with the products from companies that took the biggest risk early on. They were there when I needed them, and now I want to return the favor.
Okay, I will step down off my own soap box now, but I would love to hear your personal thoughts about this too!
Thank you to all who entered the “Summer Of Easy Gourmet Entertaining With Chavrie Goat Cheese” Giveaway!
I used the Random Number Generator to pick the lucky winner and that person is:
Shirley said, “Now that’s a great giveaway! Can you believe I’ve only had homemade chevre? Our friends have goats and always bring goat cheese, yogurt, etc. to support group meetings. Lucky me, for sure, but at first, I thought you’d spelled the name wrong when I read the title. LOL I didn’t even know this product existed. Silly me. I’d go for the souffle I think … such a classic.”
Congratulations Shirley! I will email you for your shipping address and get your prize out to you.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, tomorrow is my sweet husband’s 37th birthday, so we are going to go have some fun!
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