Cocoa powder, as long as it is pure, should contain nothing from any type of cereal grain. Cocoa is simply the chocolate solids from which most of the cocoa butter (the fat portion of the cacao) has been removed. Since there is no gluten in the cacao pods from which chocolate is derived, there is no gluten in cocoa powder or other chocolate products, unless a gluten containing ingredient is added. So, pure cocoa powder is gluten-free and perfectly safe for celiacs to use in baking and any other cooking.
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Soba noodles are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat. In fact the word soba means buckwheat, which is, despite the name, not a grain.
Buckwheat is not related to cereal grasses at all, in fact, and instead comes from the seed of a plant in the dock family.
However, since buckwheat does not contain gluten, doughs made from it lack the elasticity and springiness that make it easy to stretch into noodles. Therefore, although some soba noodles may be made from one hundred percent buckwheat, many will have varying amounts of wheat or other gluten containing grains flours added to improve the texture.
Also, buckwheat flour is more expensive than other flours, so starchy flours may be used to offset the cost.
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Various types of misinformation exist about brown sugar. One such piece of info is that the brown color in brown sugar is from added caramel coloring. The idea is that brown sugar is nothing more than colored white sugar. This is absolutely untrue. Brown sugar is refined cane sugar (white table sugar) to which molasses has been added back.
Therefore, brown sugar does not normally contain gluten containing grain ingredients and no coloring additives that could contain gluten. It is possible, however, that some brown sugars may have had caramel coloring added to darken the color.
Most brands of brown sugar do not, however, and you can easily check the ingredient listing on your brown sugar product to determine whether coloring has been used.
The existence of coloring does not automatically mean that a significant amount of gluten is in the brown sugar, or any at all, but it should be easy to keep to brands with no added coloring other than the color from the molasses. Whether the brown sugar is light or dark is determined by the amount of molasses added back to the sugar.
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The term we use to describe the energy derived from foods is Calorie. In other words, the terms energy and Calorie, when applied to foods, are synonymous. One calorie is defined as the quantity of heat necessary to raise one kg (1 liter) of water 1°C. What we call a calorie, therefore, is actually a kilogram calorie or kilocalorie, which is abbreviated kcal. If a food contained 100 kcal, then the energy the food contained would increase the temperature of 100 liters of water by 1°C. A capital C is used here, in the word Calorie, to indicate the kilocalorie since one calorie would actually be the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C. For more on the calorie and its problems, see Calorie Confusion.
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It makes sense that someone with Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity might see glutinous rice on a menu and wonder whether this has something to do with gluten. But you don't need to worry. Glutinous rice is just a kind of rice, and like all rice, it does not contain any gluten. The word glutinous refers to the rice being sticky and gummy. It is also sometimes called waxy rice, sticky rice, or since it has a natural sweetness, sweet rice. This is the kind of rice used in the classic Thai dessert Sticky Rice with Mangoes and, if you've never tried it, you should. The two together are a perfect combo.
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