Gluten-Free Cookbook Review: Gluten-Free Baking Classics
Gluten-Free Baking Classics, Annalise G. Roberts (Surrey Books, 2008)
Review by Bageshree Blasius
This recently updated book proves that gluten-free baked goods, such as quick breads, cookies and even doughnuts, can be delicious! Roberts clearly explains the science behind combining different gluten-free flours to mimic the structure and texture of baked goods made with wheat. The book also includes tips on egg, dairy and sugar substitutes for those with other food allergies. Some recipes in the book are a bit decadent, but worth the occasional splurge. We tested the fudgy, chocolaty Brownies and the rich Sour Cream Coffee Cake and found that both could fool a wheat aficionado!
Once you make this recipe, it will surely become a part of your gluten-free baking repertoire. My simple-to-make brownie is slightly chewy, slightly cake-like, and has a rich chocolate flavor. It keeps well in the refrigerator and freezes exceptionally well. It is perfect à la mode for dessert or by itself for school lunches and afternoon snacks. (Recipe excerpted with permission from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts; 2nd ed.; Agate Surrey, 2008.)
Makes 16 brownies.
2/3 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix (see below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 ozs. unsweetened chocolate
4 ozs. semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts, optional*
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Position rack in lower-middle oven. Line bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with foil and grease with cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, and continue to whisk until mixture is completely smooth and glossy. Add flour mixture and whisk until just incorporated. Stir in nuts.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in center of oven. Bake about 45 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out with wet crumbs. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Remove brownies from pan by lifting out foil, and cool completely on rack. Cut into squares or triangles.
Brownies can be stored in refrigerator for up to five days or in freezer for four weeks; wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil.
* Bake walnuts about 5 minutes in preheated 350°F oven.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Sour cream coffee cake is a traditional offering at holiday brunches and morning coffees. My friend Daria made this one for me years ago and I've never found another that I like better. It converted well to its new gluten-free form: It's still easy to make and yummy. (Recipe excerpted with permission from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts; 2nd ed.; Agate Surrey, 2008.)
Take note: It may appear that there is not enough batter for two layers. Just be sure to make two very thin layers of batter, with the apple and nut mixture in between.
Makes one 9-inch tube cake.
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 medium apple
2 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix (see below)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in center of oven. Grease a 9-inch tube pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
2. Mix walnuts, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Peel and core apple; cut into 8 slices. Cut each slice horizontally into 8 small pieces, not long thin slices. Set aside.
4. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Beat eggs in large bowl of electric mixer until well blended. Add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until creamy-colored and light. Add vanilla, flour mixture, sour cream, and oil and beat at medium-low speed for 30 seconds.
6. Evenly spread 1/2 of batter into prepared pan. Top with apple pieces and 1/2 of nut mixture. Evenly spread remaining batter over the top; sprinkle with remaining nut mixture. There is not much batter, so do not be afraid to spread what will appear to be two very thin layers of batter, with the apples and nut mixture in between; spread with a cake spatula or butter knife. The batter will rise and give you a cake several inches high.
7. Place in center of oven and bake about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Do not open oven for 45 minutes.
8. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan and cool completely on rack. To remove cake from bottom, use two pancake turners to lift cake onto a cake plate.
Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. Can be made a day ahead. Store cake covered tightly with plastic wrap in refrigerator. Best when eaten within three days of baking.
Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour for Cakes, Pies, Muffins, & Cookies
My "all-purpose" Brown Rice Flour Mix is a combination of extra finely ground brown rice flour, potato starch (not potato flour), and tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch).
Food Philosopher® Gluten-Free Brown Rice Flour Mix
Makes 3 cups total.
Combine 2 cups brown rice flour (extra finely ground), 2/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour) and 1/3 cup tapioca flour.