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Gluten Free Calzones - Easy Enough for a Kid to Make

Posted May 07 2009 9:23pm

I have talked before about one of the Silver Linings of Celiac Disease being the quality time that I spend with the Gluten Free Teen in the kitchen. You can live GF without cooking as much as we do, but cooking is a very creative process and we have so much fun together in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes and ingredients.

As I mentioned before, it is also the time when the "walls come down" and while the GFT is stirring some flour together I hear about "who likes who" at school, who has cell phones and who doesn’t, what subjects are hard and what are easy. Almost without her noticing, I get the chance to enter into the life of GFT and find out what’s going on. What a blessing!

Recently, I have discovered a new silver lining – my Gluten Free Teen can prepare a complete meal from scratch all by herself!

And she loves it!

And it taste wonderful!

It was Thursday afternoon at 4:00; I needed to take my Six Year Old to karate (a sport I highly recommend for energetic focused kids). As we were getting ready to go, I pondered out loud "what’s for dinner tonight." Seeing as though nothing was defrosted and this was the first time that day I had considered the evening meal, I was about to resort to scrambled eggs and orange slices when the GFT said "Don’t worry Mom, I will cook dinner."

We spend a lot of time together in the kitchen, but I was leaving and the dinner menu was a blank slate, and we were getting low on provisions, so I asked "Are you sure?"

"Yes, Mom.   I will do it all," she answered as she started to leaf through our latest issue of Living Without to find a new recipe. Coming up empty, she started pulling various cook books off the shelves and then finally, located my file with recipes I am working on.

She found a Calzone recipe I have been testing and refining from Tiffany's Healing Foods, and said she wanted to make it. Mind you, this was a hodge podge recipe of notes written on sticky tabs and stuck to a piece of paper.

As I was hustling my six year old out the door, she asked "do we have all of the ingredients." Again, with the overly protective "are you sure honey," I answered yes and with that I left the house.

The Gluten Free Teen is a really good cook for a Thirteen Year Old, but my expectations were still low.

What a treat and yet, another Silver Lining of Celiac Disease.

The Treat?

Dinner that night.

The calzones were wonderful, delicious, and scrumptious. She personalized each calzone just the way we like (mine dairy free of course) and then carved our names on the top so we could tell them apart.

And I did not have to do a thing – I came home just in time to take them out of the oven(the GFT may cook, but has a healthy fear of hot ovens), pulled a salad out of the refrigerator and we all set down to a great dinner. (I just may have to buy her that cell phone she wants)!

The Silver Lining??

The GFT can cook a wonderful meal all by herself! That may sound so simple but . . . well actually that is it. You see, in this crazy world we live in these days, kids go to space camp and write programming software, but they cannot make their own beds, much less prepare a meal. And I am not sure that is good. So yes, the Silver Lining is just simply that, my GFT can cook.

If she can make it, so can you. So here is the recipe!!

Gluten Free Calzones


1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

2 T sugar

1 pack active yeast

1 1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

2 cups tapioca flour

1 t xanthan gum

1 t guar gum (if you only have xanthan gum then just use 2 t of it)

2 T rice bran (this is optional, but I like the brown flakes and the additional fiber)

2 t salt, plus additional sea salt for sprinkling on top

3 T olive oil (plus additional olive oil for sprinkling on top)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. This is a yeasted calzone, but you do not need to let the dough rise.

First you want to proof your yeast - The most important part is getting the water to the right temperature. I have found that the easiest way to do this is fill a two cup glass measuring cup with 1 1/2 cups water and microwave. After experimenting with my microwave a few times, I have found that 55 seconds gets me the perfect temperature of 110 degrees F.  Once you figure this out, you never have to worry about checking the water temp again.

Warm up the water, add in the sugar and yeast.  Give it a quick stir and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. If it is working properly, you will get a tannish foam on top of the water.

While your yeast is proofing, mix together all of the dry ingredients. The idea is to get all of the different gluten free flours to mix together in such a way that they become one flour. Adding all of the dry ingredients to a gallon size zipper bag works well or you can add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk them together well.

Once the dry ingredients are well mixed, add to bowl on your stand mixer. Add the proofed water-yeast mixture and olive oil. Then mix until a firm dough ball is formed. This will not take too long. I mix until the point that my mixer cannot handle the dough anymore. If the dough is not holding together add more olive oil as needed.

You are probably thinking, now we let it rise. This recipe is actually adapted from one I got from Tiffany Pollard, and you do not let it rise. The yeast adds a more bread-like flavor and texture, but you do not need to let it rise before you proceed.

Next roll out the dough – again if it is too dry add more olive oil – until it is about 1/8 inch thick.

I try not to buy too many kitchen tools, but there are two tools that make every baking project easier. The first is myWorld Cuisine 25.37-Inch x 17.5-Inch Non-Stick Pastry Mat (03505) Dough rows out wonderfully on this mat.  Using it, you do not have to sprinkle the surface with flour. The second isOxo Good Grips Pastry Scraper.  You can use it to cut bread sticks, wipe veggies off a cutting board, but it is excellent at transferring cut out items to the cookie sheet.

Cut out the calzones – the easiest way to do this is with a medium round mixing bowl. Simply use it like a cookie cutter.

  Cutting out calzones   Cuttingoutcalzones2

Now the fun part, fill the lower third of the circle with your choice of fillings. Some favorites:

Pizza or pasta sauce,

cheese of course - cheddar, mozzarella, goat cheese or are favorite non-dairy cheese alternative,

olives, onions, red pepper, mushrooms,

pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon,

salt, fresh basil, parsley.


Once the toppings have been added, simply fold the calzone in half bringing the exposed edges together. Press to seal and move to a cookie sheet.

Give them a brush of good olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Caution – the insides will be extremely hot, so let cool before you dig in.

Happy gluten free eating!

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