gluten free baking

Gluten-Free Baking. AND Vegan!

Bravo to Cara Reed for the recent publication of her book, Decadent Vegan Gluten Free Baking.

I would feel much better starting with the kinks in the book, and get them out of the way, so we can move on to the good stuff.

– Cara’s blog, Fork and Beans, is lovely. The problem I see here is that the book is formatted just as colloquially as if it was a natural extension of the blog. Strictly speaking, great idea, but the published book world has more demanding rules we must comply with, and her book is in need of some serious professional editing. In several recipes, the ingredients are not in the order they appear in the instructions, which is a cardinal sin in the editing world.

– Some very basic mixtures are listed all the way at the end, instead of at the beginning of the book, since we’ll be constantly using them: her flour mixtures for example. Likewise, what Cara calls vegan butter remains somewhat nebulous.

– We would have welcomed a small introductory chapter listing her choices of gluten free grains, sweeteners, dairy-free milks and leaveners, egg replacement, buttermilk replacement, and the reasons she is fond of using them. Instead, Cara pretty much jumps right into the recipes. I feel like she’s cheating herself, and this omission doesn’t do justice to her book. Since she took the trouble of including all the above items, why not flaunt it, and direct the readers to it clearly and unequivocally? Good thing I’m here to tell you it’s all there, and to alert you to look it all up!

Now that we’ve had this little talk, I must tell you:

Cara Reed’s vegan Gluten-Free Baking cookbook is delightful.

It is quite a tall order to bake along so many strict guidelines: not just Gluten Free baking, but vegan, and Cara pulls it off beautifully.

Cara sticks very closely to the  All-American most basic crowd pleasing classics, which I am sure will suit everyone just fine: cookies, biscotti, muffins, scones, quick breads, cakes.

Cara’s recipes are straightforward, uncomplicated and streamlined. Her pictures are totally homey and familiar, true to life, and reflect precisely what the home cook would do in her very own kitchen: A soul sister! Her choices of gluten free grains (buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum, arrowroot, millet etc) are wonderful, and they work just great.

I’m a sucker for gingerbread, so I can’t wait to try Cara’s Frosted Gingerbread loaf, chock-full of spices and topped with vegan cream cheese frosting. Tiramisu, Blueberry Coffee Cake, sugar cookies, brownies, biscotti. Can’t wait!

Lots of luck to Cara with her Vegan Gluten-Free Baking cookbook!

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