Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Essential Gluten-Free Cookie Guide: Reviewed

I have never actually "read" a cookbook. I have looked over them and made items from recipes in them, but have never actually enjoyed a cookbook for its readability. I received "The Essential Gluten-Free Cookie Guide" last month and it was a good read. The author begins her book with a chapter of tips and tricks for perfecting your gluten free baking. She mentions the importance of measuring by weight not volume, differentiates recipes that call for melted butter vs. softened butter, whole egg vs. egg whites only or egg yolks only, white vs. brown sugar, baking soda vs. baking powder, etc. She also tells of how to make an egg substitute when you are not able to use eggs. I learned something new on that tip. I like how she includes her favorite, special Gluten Free Flour blend. She likes to use a higher starch blend so as to prevent the grittier texture that other gluten free cookies and treats often might have. (No I am not going to give away her blend, you will have to read the book to find out what it is.) :)

Along with the cook book, I was sent a thorough guide of Gluten Free Shopping. It is very organized and lists actual store names and brand names to make it super easy and convenient, especially for those who may be new to Gluten Free living. This book would be beneficial to individuals who have been Gluten Free a long time as well.

The author of the cookbook, Brianna Hobbs, provided tips that can help make your current recipes improved, and she did it with a friendly conversational tone. I was reading this, but I almost felt like she was sitting there next to me at the kitchen table, sharing a pitcher of iced cold tea with me, and explaining some of her favorite recipes. As I would sit and listen intently while sipping a cold glass of sweet iced tea with about 4-6 lemon slices (my favorite drink) she would tell me small tidbits of her experiences as a young girl growing up, and how baking or certain cookie treats brought back fond memories. She would describe why she uses a certain ingredient (which it works) and then I almost could imagine her getting up and smiling, saying, "you know what, let's just make a quick batch of that while we are at it so I can show you how amazing it really is." I enjoyed this cook book and my husband read some of it as well.

I can feel her excitement when she is about to tell us a family recipe that is dear to her heart. Her pictures are in black and white, and although I would have preferred them to be in color, both my husband and I agreed that they were well done and professionally set up. I like how she used backgrounds of varying textures such as displaying on a fancy plate, cloth napkin, place mat, cookie sheet, silicone baking mat, wooden table, etc. Each page seemed to have enough white space so as to allow comments, substitutions, or notes for the reader to add as desired. I did not have a problem laying this on a table as one would do for baking, however I would have preferred this to be a spiral bound cookbook so as to lay flatter. I liked how it listed an index of the cookies in the back, but would have liked an additional index of popular ingredients in certain recipes. For example, if you are in the mood for chocolate based treats, look on these pages (and have the name of the treat and its page. If you are interested in peanut or nut based ingredient treats, look on these pages, etc.

I do not follow a gluten free diet and have never made anything gluten free, however have tasted baked goods in the past that adopt this method. Most times you cannot taste the difference. I think this author does a wonderful job at explaining gluten free living through her recipes. I definitely see several recipes that would be wonderful to try. My favorites are Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies (I tend to put a box of these fluffy sugar cookies in the shopping cart during each holiday that comes up (they always have a themed icing whether fourth of July, Easter, or Christmas) and I am happy she has a homemade option. I also am interested in the Cake Batter Cookies and the German Chocolate Cookies. I do want to mention that the Peppermint Sugar Cookies had a solid black square for the image.

This is a recommended cookbook. Those who are currently Gluten Free will enjoy this, and those who are unfamiliar with the lifestyle will want to try these recipes.

This book is available in Kindle or soft cover format: The Essential Gluten-Free Cookie Guide

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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