Friday, 25 November 2011

The Gluten-Free Baking Book

The Gluten-Free Baking Book
250 Small-Batch Recipes for Everything 
from Brownies to Cheesecake
by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt
Paperback, 320 pages

Gluten-free cooking and baking has become more and more prevalent recently. It is something I had never heard of in my youth, and now it seems that a fairly large percentage of the population has sensitivity to gluten. From mild intolerance to Celiac disease, chances are that you know someone who needs to eat a gluten-free diet.

My own daughter is currently going through a GF elimination diet to see if it will cure her sensitivities.

Some people just avoid any baking products in general, but most miss these comforting staples. Since living gluten-free has become more commonplace, there are a lot of recipes and techniques that people can use to replicate the wheaty favourites that they desire.

The Gluten-Free Baking Book brings the joy of baked goods back in to the lives of people who would otherwise have to go without. (It also means that all the baking pans that I gave to my daughter last Christmas will still be useful!)

The authors begin with a thorough introduction and explanation of gluten-free baking with Understanding Whole Grains, Other Gluten-Free Baking Ingredients, Nutrient Content of Gluten-Free Flours and Starches, All About Baking Pans, Using an Instant-Read Thermometer, and Speaking Our Language: Are We All on the Same Page?

The recipe chapters include:
* No-Knead Yeast Breads * No-Knead Pizzas and Flatbreads * No-Knead Hearth Breads and Rolls * Yeast-Free Breads, Scones and Biscuits * Quick Breads and Muffins * Cookies and Bars * Cakes and Cupcakes * Pastry and Tarts * Cobblers, Crisps, Puddings and Dessert Sauces * Holiday Baking *
And the last part of the book deals with equipment, ingredients, and techniques glossaries.

We whipped up my favourite dessert for this time of year, and an easy one to make gluten-free - an Apple Cranberry Crisp. This one has little sugar in it and is just as good for breakfast with some plain yogurt as it is for dessert with some vanilla ice cream. Hot or cold, it is naturally sweet and tart and - gluten-free!

(pg 256, vegetarian, holidays)

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Makes 3 servings

This tasty crisp brings back warm, homey memories of days gone by for those of us who live in apple country. In fact, the first Macintosh apple was grown just down the road from us.

Two medium apples yield about 11⁄2 cups (375 mL) chopped.
If you cannot tolerate cornstarch, substitute an equal amount of arrowroot starch.
If you have your oven turned on to any temperature between 325°F (160°C) and 375°F (190°C) to bake something else, you can add this crisp to it. The baking time could vary by 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)
3-cup (750 mL) round or oval casserole dish

11⁄2 cups    coarsely chopped apples    375 mL
1 cup    fresh or thawed frozen cranberries    250 mL
1 tbsp    cornstarch    15 mL
1 tbsp    granulated sugar    15 mL

Crisp Topping
2⁄3 cup    GF large-flake (old-fashioned)     150 mL
    rolled oats
2 tbsp    GF oat flour    30 mL
1 tbsp    packed brown sugar    15 mL
1⁄2 tsp    ground nutmeg    2 mL
3 tbsp    butter, melted    45 mL

1.    Base: In casserole dish, combine apples, cranberries, cornstarch and sugar. Set aside.

2.    Topping: In a medium bowl, combine oats, oat flour, brown sugar and nutmeg. Drizzle with butter and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Do not pack.

3.    Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until fruit is bubbly around the edges, apples are fork-tender and topping is browned. Serve warm.

Substitute the Pear Maple Crumble topping (page 258) for the topping in this recipe.
Replace the oats with buckwheat flakes and the oat flour with amaranth flour.
Ground cinnamon or ginger can be used in place of the nutmeg.
Instead of baking, microwave the crisp, uncovered, on High for 7 minutes or until apples are fork-tender. Let stand for 5 minutes. To brown the topping, place under a preheated broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Excerpted from The Gluten-Free Baking Book by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Once you've dipped your toes in the water with gluten-free baking - you can try some more involved recipes like this Florentine Pizza and these Hazelnut Chocolate Blondies.

For anyone who thought they had to go without for the rest of their lives - this book is heaven sent.

(pg 63, vegetarian)

Florentine Pizza
This vegetarian pizza has generous amounts of spinach, feta cheese and kalamata olives.

 Drain the spinach well in a colander before drying completely with paper towels.
Reheat leftover pizza under the broiler to enjoy crisp pizza.

Makes 1 to 2 servings

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)

2 cups    fresh baby spinach, washed and    500 mL
1    partially baked Pizza Crust    1
    (page 58)
2    cloves garlic, minced    2
1⁄2 cup    freshly grated Parmesan cheese    125 mL
1 tbsp    extra virgin olive oil    15 mL
2 tsp    dried oregano    10 mL
1 cup    crumbled feta cheese    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    kalamata olives, sliced    125 mL

1.    In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave spinach, uncovered, on High for 2 to 3 minutes or until wilted, stirring halfway through. Drain, place between layers of paper towels and pat dry. Spread over crust in a single layer to within 1⁄4 inch (0.5 cm) of the edges.

2.    In a small bowl, combine garlic, Parmesan cheese, oil and oregano. Spread over spinach; sprinkle with feta cheese and olives.

3.    Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until spinach is crisp and crust is golden. Serve hot.

For a stronger, more prominent garlic flavor, add an extra 1 to 2 cloves minced garlic.
Add 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) snipped sun-dried tomatoes.
Substitute Swiss chard or kale for the spinach and microwave until wilted.

Pizza Crust
Use this thin crust to make Florentine Pizza (page 63) or Sausage and Leek Pizza (page 64).

If you don’t have an 8-inch (20 cm) round pizza pan, use a 12-inch (30 cm) pan. After transferring dough to the pan, top it with waxed paper and roll out to an 81⁄2-inch (21 cm) circle. Form a 1⁄4-inch (0.5 cm) ridge all the way around the edge.

Makes 1 to 2 servings

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C), with rack set in the bottom third
8-inch (20 cm) round pizza pan, lightly greased

1⁄4 cup    sorghum flour    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    quinoa flour    60 mL
1 tbsp    tapioca starch    15 mL
1 tsp    granulated sugar    5 mL
2 tsp    xanthan gum    10 mL
1 tbsp    bread machine or instant yeast    15 mL
1⁄4 tsp    salt    1 mL
1⁄3 cup    water    75 mL
1 tbsp    extra virgin olive oil    15 mL
1 tsp    cider vinegar    5 mL

1.    In a bowl or plastic bag, combine sorghum flour, quinoa flour, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthan gum, yeast and salt. Mix well and set aside.

2.    In a separate bowl, using a heavy-duty electric mixer with paddle attachment, combine water, oil and vinegar until well blended. With the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until combined. Stop the machine and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on medium speed, beat for 1 minute or until smooth.

3.    Gently transfer dough to prepared pan. Using a moist rubber spatula, carefully spread to the edges.

4.    Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until bottom is golden and crust is partially baked.

5.    Use right away to make pizza with your favorite toppings, or wrap airtight and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Excerpted from The Gluten-Free Baking Book by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

(pg 189, vegetarian, holidays)

Hazelnut Chocolate Blondies

Makes 16 blondies
Serving size: 1 blondie

Packed with hazelnuts and chocolate, these blondies are to die for.

Use a ruler to mark off even bars or squares. Start by cutting in half through the center of the pan, both across and down. Then work toward the outside to keep your cuts straight.

For information on toasting hazelnuts and making your own hazelnut flour, see the Techniques Glossary, page 308.

8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan, lightly greased and bottom and sides lined with parchment paper

1 cup    low-fat soy flour    250 mL
1⁄4 cup    hazelnut flour    60 mL
2 tbsp    tapioca starch    30 mL
11⁄2 tsp    xanthan gum    7 mL
1⁄4 tsp    salt    1 mL
1 cup    packed brown sugar    250 mL
2    large eggs    2
1⁄2 cup    butter, softened    125 mL
2 tsp    vanilla extract    10 mL
4 oz    bittersweet (dark) chocolate,     125 g
    coarsely chopped, divided
2⁄3 cup    toasted coarsely chopped    150 mL
    hazelnuts, divided

1.    In a bowl or plastic bag, combine soy flour, hazelnut flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum and salt.

2.    In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer on low speed, cream brown sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in half each of the chocolate and hazelnuts.

3.    Spoon batter into prepared pan. Using a moistened rubber spatula, spread to edges, leaving top rough. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and hazelnuts, pressing them into the batter. Let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

4.    Bake for 32 to 35 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely in pan on a rack, then cut into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Substitute 1⁄3 cup (75 mL) bittersweet (dark) chocolate chips for the squares.

Excerpted from The Gluten-Free Baking Book by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.