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Posted April 3, 2011
Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
For those suffering from celiac disease or who are on a gluten-restricted diet, baking is usually the most difficult culinary obstacle to overcome. Gluten-Free Baking makes it easier to enjoy breads, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. In this cookbook, chef Phil Vickery explains the basics of a gluten-free diet and analyzes its implications for baking. He provides the essential ingredients of a gluten-free pantry and gives instructions for making three gluten-free flour mixes that serve as the base for most of the 70 recipes throughout the book.
There are chapters dedicated to cookies, cupcakes and muffins, large cakes, special occasion cakes, sheet cakes and bars, bread, and desserts and sweet treats. Recipes include buttermilk muffins, breakfast brioche, rosemary and garlic focaccia, chocolate cherry trifle cake, gooey chocolate fudge cake, and coffee cupcakes with mocha frosting. A few of the recipes don't use any kind of flour, such as the chocolate peanut butter and fudge cookies.
Gluten-free baking requires a few special ingredients such as glycerine and xanthan gum to duplicate the texture that is lost when gluten is eliminated. These types of ingredients are not usually found in local grocery stores but can be purchased in health food stores or from online sources. Other ingredients may also be a challenge to find. My local grocery store did have rice flour but I would need to search out specialty stores for the potato, tapioca, brown rice, and chestnut flours needed for the flour mixes used in the recipes.
I appreciate that the author has researched celiac disease and gluten intolerance extensively, and his dedication to come up with good-tasting recipes is evident in this cookbook. He understands the challenges of finding "safe" ingredients and that of making baked goods that look and taste similar to the wheat flour versions.
The color photos make the recipes look so appealing that anyone would want to try them, whether they need to avoid wheat products or not. I am fortunate to not have celiac disease but I know people who do so this is a cookbook I know they would appreciate.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required. If I didn't like the book I would say so.
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