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Xanthan gum in gluten-free baking?

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I want to make gluten-free Christmas cookies. Lots of the recipes call for xanthan gum. Is it truly necessary? What will happen if I don't use it?


I made pumpkin muffins using buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour. And I made cornbread using gluten free flour (Bob's Red Mill brand) instead of wheat flour. I didn't use xanthan gum and these recipes turned out perfectly. Is it different with cookies? Do they misbehave unless I use xanthan gum?

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Generally things are more crumbly without the xantham or related gum type to add the "glue" missing from gluten. The taste shouldn't be affected. I generally made things without xantham. Some held together fine for me and other were sort of piles of crumbs. It's possible the other ingredients made the muffins and cornbread work and the cookies will be more crumbly or they might do just as well.

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