Arrowroot has a long history of being used for many different applications, but in recent years it's mostly used as a healthier alternative to cornstarch, and it's most recognizable in its powdered form. When it comes to food, its application becomes more prominent in baking goods every day.
Bit of trivia before we start, arrowroot earned its name because the Aruac Indians of South America believed it was the answer to an encounter with a poison-tipped arrow. Other theory is that the common name is a misspelling of the name given to the root used extensively by the Aruac people, “Aru-root.”
Arrowroot has been around for thousands of years, 7000 years to be more specific. It is gluten free and a valuable ingredient in gluten free baked products, infant foods and as a gluten free thickening agent in sauces. However, ensure that you check the packaging. Commercially sold arrowroot biscuits may have wheat flour added to it, thus making it a gluten laden product. Arrowroot is very low in calories, a hundred fresh roots provide only 65 calories, less than that of one single potato.
Health benefits come from the fact that arrowroot is rich in several B vitamins including thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine and in minerals including iron. It can be used in cookies and crackers as a substitute for part of the flour, and you can find “arrowroot biscuits” in stores that are often said to sooth the stomach. Even its manufacturing is more natural than manufacturing of corn-starch.
The use of arrowroot in baking is not new because the British and early Americans made cookies with it long before its current popularity. 19th century cookie-type health products often contained arrowroot and Graham's flour (whole wheat). They were not generally marketed in fancy shapes.
Flour made from arrowroot starch is the perfect alternative for wheat flour when making baked goods. Its great advantage over cornflour is that it’s completely tasteless and it gives a clear finish.
To some people, arrowroot biscuits seem plain and/or too crispy for their taste, but there's something about them that makes you want another one, and another one. Don’t forget you can always have it with butter or jam, which makes it more moist and sweet. Have you tried baked goods made with arrowroot? What are your thoughts?