Holiday treats – gluten free!

Photo: Martin Ng. Wendy Wight, member of Sons of Norway Bothell Lodge #2-106, has developed delicious adaptations for gluten-free Norwegian recipes!

Wendy Wight offers delicious gluten-free adaptations for favorite Norwegian recipes

By Christy Olsen Field
Managing Editor


Happy November! As we head into the holiday season, baked goods are an important part of the celebrations, especially when it comes to Norwegian family favorites such as lefse and krumkake. But those who are gluten-free can often feel left out in these traditions.

Wendy Wight, member of Sons of Norway Bothell Lodge #2-106 in Bothell, Wash., has developed Norwegian recipes that are gluten-free and delicious at the same time!

Wight’s journey to gluten-free lifestyle was started by her recovery from a serious health challenge a few years ago. She tried an elimination diet by removing wheat, corn, dairy and other food groups from her diet. After adding wheat back to her diet, Wight developed a raw, sore throat. She decided to go gluten-free as a lifestyle, and she sees it more of a creative challenge than a stumbling block to enjoying her favorite Norwegian baked goods.

“I have always been an adventurous cook and decided that I could come up with a good lefse recipe,” said Wight.

“My first attempt didn’t go so well, I used rice and oat flours. It broke easily when trying to roll and bake it, and it was less than inspiring in its taste. The next recipe worked pretty well. The flour blend I used had coconut flour in it – the taste was good, but did have a definite flavor of coconut. Not exactly a traditional Norwegian flavor! So I kept working on it, and third time was a charm, so to speak. I found a great all-purpose flour blend recipe on the internet, and other gluten-free lefse recipes. I took what I learned from them and blended it with the recipe we use at our Sons of Norway lodge and came up with what I and many others feel is a really good gluten-free lefse.”

The biggest challenge of baking with many gluten-free flours – such as rice, sorghum, potato, amaranth, etc. – is finding the right balance of taste, texture and the way it holds together.

“Try things. It may not always turn out, but if you keep working with it, you will eventually create something that tastes really good. Also, the internet is your friend! There are so many great websites, ideas and recipes, so take advantage of that,” added Wight. “Happy baking and I hope you all have wonderful, gluten-free lefse-filled holidays!”


Gluten-free potato lefse

5 lbs of potatoes

3/4 cup of butter

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 cups gluten-free flour blend

1 Tbsp. Xanthum gum

2 Tsp. Knox unflavored gelatin

Tapioca starch

Coconut flour

First Day: Peel and cut into large chunks 5 lbs. of potatoes.  Cook in heavily salted water until tender.  Drain off water, remove lid and return to burner to dry out any excess moisture in the bottom of the pot.  To avoid scorching the potatoes shake the kettle back and forth over the burner. Rice the potatoes into a large mixing bowl. While still hot add the room temperature butter and 1 Tbsp sugar and blend well. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and put in a cool place overnight.  Refrigeration is not recommended.

Second Day: Bring potato mixture to room temperature.  Measure out 8 cups of potatoes (this should be all or almost all of the potatoes). In a small bowl, using a wire whisk, blend the Gluten Free flour blend, Xanthum gum, and Knox unflavored gelatin.

Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, break up the potatoes – then sprinkle the flour mixture over the top and work it into the potatoes with the pastry cutter.  Finally using your hands finish mixing until it sticks together and leaves the sides of the bowl, kneading somewhat to form a smooth dough – similar to mixing a pie crust. Divide into balls for the size lefse you want (a 1/3 cup measure is pretty good).

To flour the board and rolling pin mix equal parts Tapioca starch and Coconut flour. Then roll out the lefse (thin) on the floured board. Bake on a griddle at approximately 450°- 475° (both sides). Remember that gluten-free lefse needs to be baked at a higher temperature and will only get light golden in color – if you leave it on the griddle too long it will get dry and crispy. Place baked lefse on a towel and cover with another dish towel to cool. Allow lefse to cool completely before packaging or storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Note: GF lefse does become a bit brittle after freezing.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 2, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.