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115 of 117 found the following review helpful:
Awesome Cookbook! Dec 30, 2009
Having to switch to gluten free baking was challenging enough, but I have to avoid dairy, nuts and nut flours, soy, too. Baked goods have tried my patience for the past 8.5 years. Because my child has sensitivity to soy, I can't buy a lot of GFCF mixes that are on the market. And many years I lost count of the absolute flops that went straight to the trash can. GFCF baked goods can be gritty and gummy, especially when you are avoiding eggs, too. (Because we rotate eggs, sometimes I need to bake without them.)
The demands of a child with autism monopolized my time, and I have, over the years, found a cake mix, a brownie mix and a pancake mix that I like and have stuck with them, and that's pretty much it.
Gluten free flours, xanthan gum, and all the "tricks" to GFCFSFEF+++ baking are expensive. They take up a lot of space in kitchen cupboards. Spending the money and time to try a recipe only to have turn out gritty or gummy is frustrating, and I admit, I gave up in a big way. (Gluten was the first big allergen that we removed 8.5 years ago, and I remember it being so very challenging at the time. Little did I know I'd have to remove a lot more and that I would envy folks who are simply gluten free -- I think that would be so easy!)
I simply never understood the science to baking GFCFSFEF+++ breads, cookies, cakes and other baked goods. I didn't have the time or the background to try to figure it out.
Until now. Now, I'm getting an education about the alchemy of baking without traditional baking ingredients like milk, wheat and eggs: The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook, How To Bake without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree nuts, and Sesame by Cybele Pascal. Cybele Pascal is a chef who happens to be the mother of a child with severe food allergies. She went to work adapting all of our favorite baked items and put her collection of successes into a beautiful cookbook. And yes, there are color photos of some of the recipes (I like photos!).
I. Adore. This. Cookbook! This book is not just a collection of recipes. Instead, Pascal takes the time to teach me about baking allergen free with almost the same restrictions we have at my house. The section called, "The Dry Goods Pantry" in Chapter 1, Stocking your Allergen-Free Pantry, combined with all of Chapter 2, "How To Bake Allergen-Free" provide a mini-baking school, and I would like these pages + the resource section in the back of the book available in a purse sized tri-fold to take with me to the grocery store. Pascal offers suggestions for replacing eggs, dairy, and wheat flour that have me looking through "regular" cookbooks with a new perspective.
I wish I'd had this cookbook nine years ago.
31 of 32 found the following review helpful:
Best Dessert Book for Food allergies Apr 15, 2010
By J. Hoover
I have been diagnosed with several food intolerances: Gluten, soy, egg, and dairy. This book finally addresses these issues in most of its recipes. The chocolate cake recipe with no eggs and dairy is the best GF cake recipe I have made. Even my non GF friends love this cake. The texture and taste is as good if not better than any regular cake I have had in the past. Most recipe books for GF baking still use egg, soy or dairy in their recipes so when I try to substitute ingredients they don't fare as well. This book has already tried and tested to come up with the perfect final product. With this book, I need no other for perfect desserts.
34 of 36 found the following review helpful:
A MUST HAVE BAKING BOOK! Dec 30, 2009
By Linda Rossi
I was so impressed with this book! It is truly a one of a kind piece of art, from the fantastic recipes to the gorgeous photos. The pantry list contained in the beginning of the book is an extensive, easy to read, detailed list of what to keep on hand, from food items to the types of appliances and tools-- wow, what a help! This is one gigantic step in making baking a lot easier and very motivating if you are not someone who normally bakes. Just one flip through this book and you'll find yourself inspired and preheating the oven!
This book is for everyone because most adults and children, though not considered "allergic" to anything, DO have sensitivities of some kind. Unfortunately, without being tested, most of us just go around feeling "lousy" (headaches, sinus problems, brain fog, ADD/ADHD) after eating the trigger foods. As a busy working mom, I do not have the time to research healthy recipes and figure out what ingredients to eliminate and exchange. It is also so disappointing when you do all that work and the final product doesn't taste good. This book does the preliminary work and provides delicious recipes with ingredients that "do not disturb". Knowing that I am giving my kids great desserts that have been "screened" is so satisfying. They absolutely loved the Morning Glory Muffins and the Chocolate Zucchini Bread and have asked for them to be put into their lunchboxes. I am thrilled with this book and consider the whole "allergen-free" experience quite an upgrade for my family-- a must have for every kitchen!
Linda Rossi NY
24 of 25 found the following review helpful:
Solid recipes, beautiful book; note that flour mix contains potato Aug 14, 2010
As others have noted, this is a beautiful book -- the kind of photos that motivate me to get baking! The author includes lots of great detail in the introductory sections where she explains the different types of ingredients involved in this type of baking. Although I had figured out most of them already, I wish I'd had this reference earlier, and can imagine what a time-saver this would be for someone who is new to GF/allergen-free baking. The recipes give specific instructions without seeming overly complicated.
Pascal offers recipes that are appealing and straightforward to make. She specifically instructs readers not to make substitutions, but in my case that was necessary in order to make the cookbook usable. In addition to dairy, eggs, gluten, I'm avoiding nightshades (and yeast), and the basic flour mix for these recipes includes more than a cup of potato starch. I knew this when I ordered the book, but hoped that arrowroot would work as a substitute for the potato starch in the basic mix. So far it seems to working pretty well (see notes below).
There are quite a few recipes that call for Ener-G egg replacer, which also contains potato, so for now I'm starting with recipes that use other leaveners/binders. I did splurge for the recommended Authentic Foods superfine rice flour, which was almost $14 for a 3lb bag at my local health food store. Can't tell yet if I think it's worth the extra cost.
I appreciate the range of different recipes included in this book, from cupcakes to scones to tarts and pies. I'm eager to try the Morning Glory Muffins, which look to be a hearty, less-sweet muffin (shredded carrots, apple, sunflower seeds ...). I'm also intrigued by the idea of using pureed prunes (babyfood) as an egg replacer. I figure if I get at least 3 solid recipes from this book, it will have been worth ordering.
Note: I have now made 3 recipes -- they are all things I would make again. This book has turned out to be a good purchase.
Notes on specific recipes:
In each of these I did a one-for-one replacement of arrowroot powder for potato starch in the flour mix.
Chocolate cupcakes -- I used Ghiradelli cocoa powder, which I find has a very nice flavor (though people with need to be ultra-strict about cross contamination of soy, nuts, etc. should check the label b/f using). The cupcakes smelled great and had a great flavor. They took longer to bake than the recipe's suggested time (despite my oven thermometer) so I just left them in a little longer. The flavor was great and I loved the texture of the top of the cupcakes (reminded me of my mom's homemade cupcakes). The texture on the bottom didn't have quite as much "structure" as I would have liked, but it did improve once they cooled completely. I am not sure if they would "pass" with gluten-eaters; then again, the unmodified recipe (with potato) might be better. I would definitely make them for myself again.
Chocolate zucchini bread recipe -- love texture (dense and moist), and it's a great way to use up the zucchini from the CSA share! I found this recipe to be way sweeter than I can handle: it calls for a cup of agave and a cup of chocolate chips (in addition to cocoa powder). Next time I'll try cutting back on the chocolate chips, or possibly omit them altogether. I'm also not a huge fan of cinnamon with chocolate, so may also try omitting that and just sticking with the vanilla. I sliced most of the loaf and wrapped individual slices in cling-wrap and then put them in a big ziplock bag and froze them. Works really well to pull out individual servings! [Note: I tried omitting the chips and that didn't work so well -- they might be important for masking certain flavors and improving texture]
Buckwheat muffins -- The batter was really thick and I had to pile it up in the muffin liners, but these baked up nice and tall. I subbed blueberries for the diced apple (I like blueberries and had them on hand). These also froze really well. The straight buckwheat definitely has an "earthy" flavor, that some may not care for.
Blackberry quinoa muffins (with agave) -- These also baked up nice and tall. I subbed blueberries for blackberries (just b/c that's what I had in the freezer) and subbed sorghum flour instead of corn flour (I'm trying to cut back on corn, and I didn't have corn flour on hand anyway). This recipe doesn't use any potato, so I didn't have to sub there. I've just eaten one warm out of the oven, and I like that they're not so sweet. They definitely have a quinoa flavor, which I like just fine. If you can eat sugar, these might nice with a little sugar sprinkled on top to finish them bakery-style.
Recently I've adapted the recipe to use a different flour blend, b/c I make these often and was going through my quinoa flour really quickly. In this version, I reduce the quinoa and also eliminate the corn flour:
1 c. quinoa
1 c. millet
1/4 c. buckwheat
3/4 c. sorghum
Banana muffins -- Just made for the first time tonight. These are tasty -- banana and cinnamon, dense and moist in the middle (The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of bananas and I was a little short so I made up the difference with applesauce.) Another winner, also nightshade-free.
Hm ... given the number of useable recipes I've gotten out of this, I should probably bump my rating up to 5 stars.
16 of 16 found the following review helpful:
I have been baking from this book constantly for over a year! Apr 04, 2011
By Homa Woodrum
I love this book.
Some background: Last January we found out my daughter was allergic to oats, corn, soy, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame, milk, eggs, grapes, and some melon. We were also vegetarian to begin with and had no idea what we were going to eat after I cleared the pantry and fridge of all the food we couldn't eat. I reserved every allergy related cookbook at the library and started trying recipes. It is funny, I usually would buy cookbooks because they were pretty or had one or two things I liked but when your entire way of eating has to change you venture beyond your comfort zone. The first recipe I tried were the snickerdoodles. I didn't have a lot of the ingredients required so I made some substitutions and what do you know, they were great. I thought, if they were great without following the recipe properly, what if. . .? So I invested in the ingredients required and they were even better. I ran out of renewals on the book and it was time to get it to own. Not only is this book great, Cybele Pascal has really fostered an online community via her website, facebook, and twitter so you can ask questions if you have some off the beaten path allergies to contend with.
To keep my daughter safe we all eat allergen free in our house and this book has made it easier. There are more steps than you might be used to (mixing up flour mix before you even start baking if you run out of the batch you'd made previously) but that is all a part of learning a new way of cooking and eating. I have baked most of the recipes with guar gum but am now using corn free xanthan gum as well. . .
Here are the recipes I've made and my thoughts, there are 21 items below so if you are worried about getting your money's worth with this book, never fear:
--Banana Flax Muffins (pg 25) - My 2 and a half year old LOVES these and will eat them for snacks, breakfast, you name it
--Blueberry Millet Muffins (pg 30) - We all love these, especially me, they are that good, the batter tastes like old school yellow cake mix to me and you can eat the batter because there's nothing in it that isn't okay to eat without baking
-- Glazed Vanilla Scones (pg 36) - I like these but scones are really subjective so they're not like scones I remember but they're still tasty
-- Flax Biscuits (pg 39) - We make these almost once a week now with vegan onion gravy and they are delicious, the flax gives them a great "nutty" taste and my daughter cuts a few into gingerbread man shapes
-- Cinnamon Rolls (pg 41) - A bit of a time investment but we love these, I made them last as a new christmas morning tradition
-- Chocolate Zucchini Bread (pg 45) - More like a moist, rich, chocolate cake; the chocolate baked goods shine I think because the cocoa powder masks some of the flavor that comes with rice flour
-- Pumpkin Bread (pg 46) - Another favorite of my daughter and something I bake at least once a month
-- Blueberry Boy Bait (pg 49) - I have made this with strawberries and it was a great summery cake
-- Classic Chocolate Chip cookies (pg 54) - Great, just great
-- Double Choco Chunk Cookies (pg 55) - These bake up like little cakes of chocolate deliciousness
-- Snickerdoodles (pg 59) - So fun to make and a great flavor
-- Orange Spritz Cookies (pg 65) - I serve these at parties and no one would ever know they are allergen free, I had one little girl come up to me and tell me she loved these and her mom actually has a cake baking/decorating business!
-- SunButter Greenies (pg 70) - Never could get these to turn green but they're yummy and freeze well, actually the spritz cookies do too
-- Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats (pg 82) - I had to make some substitutions (brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup, etc.) but they're great
-- Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting (pg 92) - Versatile and tasty
-- Carrot Ginger Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting (pg 94) - I make these for my mother in law who loves carrot cake and she thinks they're wonderful
-- Chocolate Maple Cupcakes with Rice Milk Chocolate Ganache (pg 103) - My favorite of the cupcakes in this book, I refrigerate these and they take on a wonderful fudge texture, I use the ganache on strawberries to make chocolate dipped strawberries
-- Strawberry Shortcake with Vegan Whipped Topping (pg 112) - One of my only misses with this book, I think it is because I can't use cornstarch so it isn't the fault of the book
-- Focaccia (pg 168) - My husband loves this and he's able to eat "real" bread when he's at work so I think that is a high compliment
-- Pizza Crust (pg 169) - I've only made this with guar gum and mean to try it with xanthan gum but it isn't like the pizza crust you'll remember but it is good though you have to not overbake it
-- Continental Rolls (pg 175) - A nice basic roll, have only made it with guar gum so far and I suspect the right gum might improve the texture
If you are just starting with allergen free baking or are more "seasoned" I think you will like this book either way. The tone is friendly and the details and tips are crucial. Please be sure to read the introductory pages before delving in as many questions are answered there.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
EDITED 4/24/11 to add: I tried the Pizza Crust with corn free xanthan gum. Oh. My. It is so different and really good, just goes to show you really need to invest in your ingredients, the guar gum one was okay but this was pizza-eque. I have already made it for my family again.
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