Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide Part I for free in exchange for a review of the book. This in no way influenced my review.
Want an icebox peanut butter swirl brownie? Yeah, I thought you did. Who wouldn’t? These babies are a fudgy, dense brownie with a delicious peanut butter topping, not too sweet, not too rich, but definitely enough to satisfy any cravings you might have. They’re gluten-free and vegan. They’re also one of many delicious creations by Iris Higgins (of The Daily Dietribe) and Brittany Angell (of Real Sustenance), the co-authors of the newly released book, the first in a two-part series, The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide Part I.
I’ve been waiting to receive a copy of this book for a long time now. I heard about it via Facebook and Twitter from Iris and Brittany for a while, as they would share just how many hours they’d been working on various recipes in their kitchens. I met them at the Dallas Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free Expo last October and the topic of the cookbook came up in conversations then. I also was lucky enough to get to test a few recipes for the book – gotta love that! But all of this talk made the anticipation grow that much more. When I finally was able to read through the book for the first time, I was so excited.
Let me tell you a bit about this book. It’s basically like a gluten-free baking bible. Iris and Brittany spent many, many (many, many, MANY) hours toying with each gluten-free flour, trying to understand its properties. They performed many tests in their kitchens, and learned how each one tastes, how it bakes, how it provides structure or lightness or moisture to a gluten-free baked good, and they learned. They did what so many of those of us that attempt to bake gluten-free long to understand – they defined what the flours do and how to use them. The countless hours they spent learning and experimenting contributed to this two-part book series, which is a wealth of gluten-free baking knowledge.
As I was reading through, I felt so many light bulbs go off. I would find myself saying “oh!” several times, and stopping to make notes on my own personal recipes so I could remember how a certain ingredient would act, so I could try to tweak things for myself. This book was so exciting in that regard. I couldn’t wait to pick a recipe to try, either. I already knew the recipes they shared were good – I simply wanted more.
Of course, I chose the chocolatey, peanut buttery brownie you see above.
Were they good? Oh yes. The kids adored them (we have picky eaters in the house, but everyone can agree on chocolate and peanut butter!). I was glad to have some help in devouring them, as I didn’t need to be left to my own devices. It does help, however, that these are icebox brownies. Desserts in the freezer are out of sight, so they’re not tempting me every time I walk in the kitchen. They weren’t completely out of mind, though – I could still find my way to them if I needed a sweet treat.
I can’t wait to receive Part II of this two-part series. Part I covered flours such as almond, coconut, amaranth, quinoa, garbanzo bean, and millet flours. I am a big fan of almond and coconut flours, with quinoa being close behind. Part II will cover sorghum, buckwheat, teff, cassava and potato flours. I also use many of those flours, so it will be exciting to see what Brittany and Iris have to share.
Whether you’re a seasoned gluten-free baker or new to the gluten-free lifestyle, you’ll be sure to appreciate these books.