Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cookbook Review: Allergy Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies

A while back, I was sent a copy of "The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies" to review. The name of this book is a bit insane, but the recipes seem to be pretty great. All the recipes inside are Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, and Soy-free. She also tells you which ones are Nut-free. So there!

I'm not gluten-free, but a lot of people I love are -- including my excellent cousin and a few of my beloved yoga students and friends. So, I like to have some reliable GF recipes on hand so that I can bake for them. Plus, if you think about how rarely people ever bake vegan treats for you, just imagine how the GF folks feel, and especially how the Vegan GF'ers feel. My goodness. Just imagining that sad state of affairs is enough to inspire me to go bake someone a cake.

Of course, it's not like I need to be eating cake all the time, so it took me a little while to get around to writing this review. Recently, though, our excellent friends B&D invited us over for dinner, and B is one of my special GF friends. So, I seized the moment and made - not one, but TWO cakes to bring along! Ha ha!

The first one I made was the Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake. It's a super orangey cake, with chocolate chips inside. Can you even believe how perfect and beautiful it is?? I cooked it a little longer than the recipe called for and still it was just a touch too moist. I would definitely make this again, because it is beautiful and had a CRAZY delish orangey and chocolatey flavor, but next time I'll bake it another 5-10 minutes more.

Here it is all dressed up for the dinner party! This cake has TWO glazes: first a super orangey glaze that you drizzle or brush on, and then a dark chocolate glaze that you drizzle. So yumz! Also, though, the double glazing added a lot of moisture, so I would suggest doing it right before serving -- and that's another reason to bake the cake a little longer.

I also brought along this really interesting Tahinopita cake. We all thought this one was really more like a breakfast cake. Kind of like scones or something. It was so good and tasted very sophisticated. We made coffee after dinner (decaf, of course!) -- and this one paired really nicely with the coffee. The rich, roasted tahini flavor really came through and was lightened by dried fruits, and nuts. Mmm. I really liked this unusual cake.

Then, last weekend I was teaching a weekend-long yoga retreat, and I have a tradition of always bringing along a big batch of cookies so everyone can have a sweetie after lunch. There are usually a few GF folks on the retreat, so I decided to turn to this book again for help. After much consideration, I chose to make the Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies. They were great! The only fat in these cookies comes from tahini - how cool is that? Naturally, I used roasted tahini for extra deep flavor goodness! I think I over baked them slightly, but no one seemed to complain - and that was probably my fault for multi-tasking while they were baking. All the same, they really came out well, and I look forward to trying more GF cookie recipes from this book.

If you're a vegan GF person, or if you have any GF folks in your life that you enjoying baking sweeties for, I think this is a really good book to have in your collection. There are a wide variety of recipes (cakes, cookies, and bars) -- with an array of flavors, so you're likely to find a number of them appealing. Also, lots of the recipes are really creative (like the Tahinopita cake) - not just the same ol' recipes you've already made loads of times.

Lastly, I really appreciate that for each recipe the author specifies which types of flours to use (tapioca, brown rice, sorghum, etc) - and not just "1 cup gluten free flour mix." That sort of recipe drives me nuts because it seems so unreliable. These recipes are clear and specific.


  1. Anonymous10:48 AM

    Oh cool, i had not heard of this one. It looks good! Hope you will be reviewing the new Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats book too. I still need to make those butterscotch cookies from her other book...

    jen e.

  2. I opted not to review this book and now you're making me sorry. Everything you made looks really good!

  3. Thanks for the lovely comments! Those are three of my favourite recipes in the book. You're right about the tahini cookies -- they do appear a little overbaked, but I would assume that would just be a lovely crispness to them. They look TOTALLY underdone when you pull them out -- they can definitely be deceiving!

    And thank you for your note about specifying which flours to use! That was an issue I had with previous books I saw, so I definitely knew what I wanted to do in my own books. It is impossible (for me, as a baker, at least) to have a one-size-fits-all recipe for a flour mix that works for breads, pizza, muffins, cakes, cookies, pies, et cetera... each recipe is unique, needs different flavor and texture, and one flour mix won't cut it.

    Thank you again!

  4. Oh wow! Sounds like a great book! And what yummy recipes!

  5. Wow, those bundts are so perfect!

  6. These look great! I'm GF but try to avoid gums (xanthan, guar)--does this book rely on them? Thanks for letting me know!


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