In my experience, one of the hardest aspects of moving away to college was no more of my mom's homemade cooking and baking, especially when your mom is as talented as mine. So, I've had to work really hard over the last two years to come even remotely close to baking anything as delicious as she can make, and finally, I feel like I'm getting close to making my very own recipes gluten-free.

Spoon University

The tough thing about being gluten-free is that not every recipe (especially the super trendy, fun ones you find online) is naturally gluten-free, or comes with instructions on how to adapt it using gluten-free ingredients. And, take it from me and the many failures I have endured, you can't just stick gluten-free flour in and hope for the best either. So, I've put together these five tips that I hope will start you off on your quest to make every recipe gluten-free friendly. Happy baking!  

1. Be Careful with Butter 

butter, cheese, dairy, dairy product, milk
Caroline Ingalls

Usually, I'm a big proponent of the idea that more butter is ALWAYS better, but when it comes to gluten-free baking you have to be careful. My mom always says, when making drop cookies (not ones that you roll or cut out using cookie cutters), be sure to cut back on the butter by a little bit. It might take a few tries to get it just right, but if you use too much butter, your cookies will spread all over the place becoming super thin and crunchy instead of being compact and gooey.  

2. Extra eggs, please!

rice, cereal, egg, meat
Spoon Csu

When baking gluten-free cakes and muffins, it is really important to add an extra egg or two to help the pastry rise.  Because gluten-free flour is heavier than normal flour, if you go without the extra eggs, your product may come out very dense instead of light and fluffy.  Moral of the story is an extra egg can go a very long way! 

3. Weight > Volume

milk, dairy product, cream, flour, sweet, dairy, dough
Katherine O'Malley

Many recipes call for measuring flour cup by cup, and for the most part, that is pretty effective. However, when it comes to baking gluten-free, if you're using a recipe that calls for a large amount of flour, be sure to weigh it instead of just measuring by volume. This tip is tried and true and comes straight from my mom–it's an easy way to ensure that you're going to end up with a good product.

4. Don't Forget the Xantham Gum

Ellen Gibbs

If you have any experience eating gluten-free baked goods, the big complaint is that many products are crumbly and dry. This is where the need for xantham gum comes in. If you don't know what xantham gum is, it's a thickener and stabilizer that helps ingredients stay together when you bake. So, if you're converting a recipe, you should always remember to add it in, or, if you want to be like my mom, add it to your flour ahead of time so you never forget it. 

5. Trial and Error Is Key

Judy Chen

Especially when it comes to gluten-free baking, trial and error is a MUST.  Even though you can try to plan out your recipes ahead of time and figure out what you are going to tweak, it's impossible to know exactly how it is going to come out. So, if you're trying something for the first time, I would suggest not making it for the big house warming party you'll be hosting or your best friend's birthday. Instead, hold off until you can find a time when it's just you, so if it's not just right, you can modify and try again another time.  

Amanda Wahlstedt

All things considered, baking gluten-free can be just as easy and satisfying as baking gluten-filled recipes as long as you give it a little bit of thought ahead of time.  Just remember, don't get discouraged if it doesn't come out just right the very first time you make it! The best recipes are a product of trying time and time again.