Baking is always a balancing act, getting the right proportions of ingredients mixed together in just the right way to ensure that you end up with a perfect finished product. Gluten free baking can be even more so, because the regular rules of baking don’t always apply to non-wheat and gluten free flours and you have to take that into consideration when working a recipe. For this reason, it is helpful to start with a good cookbook that can introduce you to the techniques and tips (as well as to recipes) that will help build a foundation for great gluten free baked goods that are just as tasty as traditional baked goods.
In Simply… Gluten Free Desserts, author Carol Kicinski, seeks to give readers a comprehensive introduction to making great gluten free desserts. The book starts out with an introduction that provides an overview of many of the ingredients used in the book, as well as the equipment and techniques called for. It’s helpful to see tips about why, for instance, eggs should be beaten a certain way to get the best result. The introduction also includes a basic recipe for a sweet rice flour blend that is the base for many of the recipes in the book. It is not meant as a replacement for wheat flour in all recipes and is often combined with other flours to produce the desired result in a recipe. The author also gives a suggestion for a commercially available gluten free flour blend (Carol’s Amazing All Purpose Gluten Free Flour) that she recommends just as much as her homemade blend.
There are over 150 recipes in the book that range from cakes and cookies to pies and puddings. The recipes are clearly written and well explained. Not every recipe in the book has a photo, but many do and they are very tempting – especially desserts like pound cake and peanut butter and jelly ice cream sandwiches. There are also a number of recipes that are naturally gluten free, particularly in the puddings and frozen desserts chapter. With the exception of the flour blend (which can be made in a big batch ahead of time), most of the recipes call for everyday ingredients that makes them accessible and makes you more likely to try them out.