Okay! So in my last post I told you all about my top 5 fav baking books to peruse and adapt right now. But I didn’t get a chance (because I got lazy and hungry and also felt I kept rambling on and on and on and on and oonnnn…. you get it) to go through my new gluten-free cookbooks and tell you how I picked them, why I love them, and why I think they’re great. The process is a little different than my “normal” cookbook shopping, but the basics are the same: I want accessible recipes, pretty pictures, interesting desserts, and a nice layout. These things are, sadly, much harder to find in a gluten-free cookbook than one might assume and I’m even pickier about gluten-free cookbooks, if at all possible.
Now some of you are probably sitting there thinking “PSSSSH I love my gluten-free cookbooks – you don’t know what you’re talking about, newbie!” but let me tell you a secret – my happy place? Yeah it’s a bookstore. Usually the Barnes & Noble down the street, but I’ll go in any bookstore. I go at least once a week and armed with some warm tea I start flipping away through the pages of fiction, non-fiction, travel and baking books. I browse to my hearts content and rarely buy anything so I feel semi-qualified to tell you which cookbooks are better than which in the most amateur and subjective way possible.
And here they are! My favorites, my new best buddies. Wanna see who made the cut?
The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen – brilliant. Given what I said about my dad’s affinity for ATK cookbooks in the previous post, you probably won’t be shocked when I tell you he gave me this book for my birthday. And it’s wonderful. They test every recipe and explain to you the nuances of gluten-free cooking and baking and for the baking section they give you THREE options for the gluten-free flour blend – usually their own mixture (recipe provided), Bob’s Red Mill, and King Arthur Flour’s. (Just do you know, Bob’s is suuuper bitter and bean-y… So if I were you, I’d make my own). Everything is explained so well that I reference this book when baking from other recipes. Example? Last week I adapted a cinnamon sugar peanut butter cookie to make it gluten free and wanted to be sure it would work out okay so I checked this book’s peanut butter cookie recipe and they talked about refrigerating PB Gfree cookies before baking… so I did. And the cookies were perfect. Whether using this to cook from directly or even as a reference, it won’t let you down.
Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli Bronski and Peter Bronski is the very first gluten-free cookbook I bought. I wanted something with breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, appetizers and snacks all laid out for me and this couple is just the best. They provide you with their own flour recipe at the beginning and while I have been tweaking and perfecting my own, I still like the one they use too. Their chocolate chip cookies taste like the real deal and aren’t dry or chalky at all like some store-bought glutey-free cookies tend to be. Next up? I want those waffles on the cover. Bad.
Okay, so this book Les Petits Macarons by Kathryn Gordon and Anne McBride isn’t exactly gluten free, but it’s like…. 98% gluten-free! Macarons are made with almond flour (YAY! Gluten-free cookies for all!) and while I bought this book years ago I only recently delved into it out of one part desperation one part necessity and one part blind optimism. Macarons are hard and there’s no sugar coating (hehee) that fact. They take a while to perfect and honing your macaroning skills may take a while. But I have a thing for these European delicacies and always have so I will persevere! My first batch was edible and even good, but after reading more online I found easier recipes than even the “easiest” recipe in this book. That said, it will teach you everything you need to know and then some. And honestly it’s worth it for the flavor combinations of the filling and cookies alone!
Sweet Cravings by Kyra Bussanich is still relatively new to me and I have my reserves based on the one recipe I tried for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t like them, my parents actually did (or so they claimed) so I can’t write it off yet. That said, I do love the variety of the 50 recipes, the fact it has scones and other scrumptious breakfast breads, and the use of flours. Typically the author uses 3 – 4 flours maximum instead of a crazy blend and it’s really interesting to see what she chooses for each recipe. This book has great reviews online and I am ready to jump in try out some more before I give it a thumbs down. I think it was just me not paying attention to my mixer that fateful oatmeal cookie day but we’ll see! I can’t wait to make the espresso scones they look soooo good.
Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies by Jean Layton and Linda Larsen. Yes, I own this book. Yes, I like this book! It’s not enough to me to just make the recipes – I want to know what’s happening with all those weird flours when I do it. How is flour x different from flour y? Are they interchangeable? What happens with the liquids? How much xanthan and/or guar gum is needed? WHY is xanthan and/or guar gum needed? This book answers those questions and I like having it in case one day I want to try my hand as a recipe developer… Hmm….
The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods by Olivia Dupin is the BEST. It’s the second gluten-free cookbook I bought and I love it, though I actually use it rarely. I find I’m still in the adapting phase trying to make old favorites, but I love pulling out this book too. All the recipes – even dessert! – in this book are naturally gluten free, as the name implies. Desserts, pudding, asian food sans soy sauce, quinoa based entrees, meat, salads free from contaminates. If this book didn’t say it was gluten free, you might not notice because the recipes are so fantastic and don’t try to “recreate” or pretend to be gluten. It’s nice to see such a large book of such simple, delicious meals that don’t need no flour! (This book is almost completely flourless, by the way)
Last but certainly not least, if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you need to own Gluten Is My Bitch by April Peveteaux. I love it more than words can express and you will laugh throw your tears and cry till ya laugh. And that’s what everyone living without gluten needs in their life, ammiright?
PS – all these pics are from amazon.com too!