Baking with gluten-free flours

When it comes to baking, there used to be a time when flour was just flour--white, chalky, full of gluten and ready to make your favorite baked dish taste like a million bucks.

But now all that has changed and you've got lots of options: coconut, rice, and even chickpea flour. But how do you know where to begin and are these gluten-free flours all interchangeable?

So many questions, so little time. The perfect place to get answers was Vegan Divas in Manhattan. Our flour power guide was Fernanda Capobianco, the owner.

Gluten gives a baked item that ooey-gooey texture. So if you choose gluten-free flour, you may want to add applesauce or banana to create a creamier texture. Remember that any flavored flour will seep into the flavor of what you're cooking. For this reason, Fernanda doesn't like garbanzo bean (or chickpea) flour in anything sweet.

Also think about consistency. Rice flour is thin and grainy. Coconut flour is coarser, like sea salt, and will make your baked goods dense. Coconut flour works well for crusts.

Don't be afraid to mix flours. In the end, practice makes perfect. If you make a mistake, start over from scratch.