This giveaway has ended, and the winners have been announced here. Thank you all for reading!
In case you haven’t heard, my good friend Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free has written her first book, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 180 easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less, and it’s just been released! I couldn’t wait until my copy arrived in the mail, and when it did, I plopped myself down on the couch and read the whole thing, cover to cover. I’m so proud of Amy’s accomplishments. This book is gorgeous, with amazing recipes for everything from buckwheat crepes to cauliflower soup to multiple brownie recipes, all free of gluten and refined sugar. As I am trying to cut refined sugar out of my diet, Amy has become a valuable resource. This book couldn’t have arrived at a better time. It was only a matter of deciding which recipes to try first, so I could share with you just how awesome this book is.
Of all of the tantalizing recipes, it might seem odd that the first thing I made was her Slow Cooker Ketchup (also available on her blog). I haven’t actually eaten ketchup in a long time. When you don’t eat french fries, burgers, or hot dogs on a regular basis, there’s just not that many ketchup opportunities left. I’ve also found that store-bought ketchup, which typically is full of high-fructose corn syrup or sugar, is intensely sweet - something I’ve lost a taste for. Amy’s ketchup, however, is more than just sweet – there are layers of spices, some tang, and a lovely full flavor. I used some of it later in the week for some chipotle sloppy joes (on a slice of gluten-free bread) and oven fries, and felt like a kid again. It was so, so good.
But I wouldn’t do a review of a cookbook purely based on ketchup. That just wouldn’t be right. After all, I’ve sampled Amy’s baking before, and I know what she’s capable of. Her baked goods are phenomenal. When I came across her Fig and Date Bars, I paused. She said they tasted like fig newtons. Fig Newtons? Oh yes, these were so about to happen in my kitchen. I couldn’t wait.
Did they deliver? I would definitely say so. I loved the sticky, sweet but not-too-sweet fig and date filling, and the crumbly topping was just perfect. I brought them to the office, and all day, people would venture back into the kitchen to sneak another one. Our company President even enjoyed some and shared them with his granddaughters (who were visiting that day), and remarked how good they were. (He didn’t know they were gluten and sugar-free until afterwards!) If they pass the test of the gluten and sugar eaters of the world with flying colors, I say that’s definitely a win.
Do these recipes have you interested? I hope so, because I have FOUR opportunities for you to win a copy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free! Want to know how you can enter to win? Scroll down to the bottom of this post and find out! The giveaway will end at midnight CDT on Saturday, April 23, 2011. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully so you can be entered as many times as possible!
Fig and Date Bars, reprinted with permission from Amy Green, excerpted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
1/2 c pitted Medjool dates
1/2 c dried black Mission figs, stemmed and cut in half
1/2 c walnuts
1 c sorghum flour
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t xanthan gum (I used guar gum)
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 c cold butter, diced (I used ghee (also called clarified butter), which is lactose and casein-free)
2 T honey or agave nectar
1 t freshly grated orange zest
1 T freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly mist an 8 X 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the dates and figs with hot water. Set aside. Or, cover the dates and dried figs with water and microwave for 1 minute.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, chop the walnuts until they are in small pieces but not mealy. Add the sorghum flour, cinnamon, baking soda, xanthan gum, and kosher salt. Process for 30 seconds or until the mixture is combined and the walnuts are a little finer. Sprinkle the butter evenly across the walnut mixture and drizzle in the honey or agave. Pulse until a dough forms. Turn the dough out into a large bowl.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dates and figs to the food processor, reserving the soaking liquid; there’s no need to wash the processor bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, the orange zest, and orange juice. Let process for several minutes, until smooth.
While the food processor is running, use wet hands to firmly press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Once the date and fig mixture is smooth, spread it evenly across the dough. Break the remaining dough into marble-size pieces, sprinkle them across the fig and date paste, and lightly press in.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, until the top becomes lightly golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and store in the refrigerator. These also freeze well.
Makes 16 2X2 inch bars.
Now, for the giveaway!
In order to be entered into the giveaway, simply leave a comment at the end of this post. Your name will be entered once into a drawing for a chance to win one of four cookbooks.
If you want more chances to win, then listen up!
For a second chance to win, follow Ulysses Press on Twitter and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.
For a third chance to win, friend Ulysses Press on Facebook and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.
For a fourth chance to win, like Ulysses Press’s new Health and Fitness fan page and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.
(An added bonus for you, when you follow/like Ulysses Press – they often host giveaways and other fun stuff!)
For a fifth chance to win, like Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free on Facebook and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.
For additional chances to win, Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, post about it on Facebook or your blog, and leave me comments telling me you did those things.
And remember – the giveaway ends at midnight on Saturday, April 23, 2011.