Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gluten Free Croutons

In my early days of being gluten free, I found replacement products for a lot of stuff, but never did find croutons. As far as I'm concerned, a salad isn't a salad without croutons. This was the first thing I ever figured out and made on my own. This was also the first gluten free recipe that my husband really liked. It was the beginning of hope for a truly delicious gluten free future.

These croutons are very popular around here. Not just with us, but with our gluten eating friends. I just put these out in a bowl and people eat them like snack food.

If you live near a Whole Foods, most of the work that goes into making these croutons is done for you. In the Gluten Free freezer section, with the breads, scones, etc, you should see Gluten Free Stuffing cubes.


I usually get two containers of them so there's plenty for first night snacking and then some left over for the next few days. They come frozen so make sure you set them out to thaw before making them into croutons.

In my early gluten free days, Whole Foods didn't have these, so I was just using my favorite gluten free bread. Just bake a loaf, let it cool and cut it into crouton-sized cubes.

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Dump the two containers of stuffing cubes in a bowl. Melt a whole stick of real butter, or your favorite butter substitute. Add garlic powder to taste. We like our's really garlicky, so we add quite a bit.

You can also use real garlic instead of garlic powder. But I'm all about making cooking as easy as possible. I figure I'm already making croutons from scratch so I'll just use the garlic powder.

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Pour the butter and garlic powder mixture over the stuffing cubes. Even that goo at the bottom. Especially the goo at the bottom. It's not pretty, but it's going to be yummy. Trust me on this.

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Stir it all up and wait about five minutes to let the butter and garlic soak in a bit. Then stir it again to make sure you're not leaving any of that garlicky butter at the bottom of the bowl.
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Pour the croutons onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Put them in a 250 degree oven and just keep an eye on them. I use a big plastic spoon to turn the croutons over so they cook evenly. They'll turn a deeper golden brown when they're done.

If you're using fresh gluten free bread rather than Whole Foods' stuffing cubes, which are already crunchy, you'll want to reduce the oven temp down to 200 or as low as it will go. With fresh bread you not only need to bake the butter and garlic into it, you need to get them dried out and crispy. Just keep an eye on them, taste occasionally to test the crunchiness and be patient with it. It's worth the wait.


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