Saturday, October 8, 2011

Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Cookbook Review

      I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this cookbook.   I have to admit one of the reasons I wanted to review this cookbook was because of my super sized sweet tooth and the need to cut down on sugars myself.  While this book offers a plethora of recipes that don't really call for sugar -- main dishes like Black Bean Tostadas, Black Bean Veggie Burgers, Slower Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice, and tempting side dishes such as Oven Baked Polenta, and Pan Grilled Zucchini,  I wanted recipes that would naturally use refined sugars.

Apple Carrot Breakfast Cake

This cake is a great way to start off the day.  It was a super moist cake that wasn't too sweet.  Yet it was addictive.  I kept going back for more, and a little more, and a little .... hey who ate all the cake!  
(Look around for someone to accuse!)  
Everyone in the family agreed that it is a great anytime cake, but breakfast is good too! 

Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding

Who doesn't love chocolate pudding?   I doubled this recipe and placed it in a rectangular dish instead of  individual ramekins.  It was fantastic!  This recipe will be making many appearances at our table.  It set up just like a full milk version.  I also easily substituted arrowroot for the cornstarch. 
 My youngest daughter was so proud of how well she finger licked the pan that she stated that I didn't have to wash the dish!  I told her she did a great job (but don't tell her but I washed the dish anyways.)

Chocolate Teff Cake

I ate two slices, and sad that I didn't double this recipe. I needed more cake!

I really love teff flour, especially in a chocolate cake.  This cake was moist and decadent.  I felt spoiled eating this cake.  My kids couldn't tell it wasn't cooked with refined sugar.  
 I skipped putting frosting on, and it was heavenly. 
Can't you just see a layered cake with a peanut butter or raspberry jam layer!  
Just be sure to make the recipe twice!  

Came out beautifully. 

Cider Cake Donuts

Okay, there is a reason you are looking at a picture of just the pan.
Because this happens to me every so often.  
I made these wonderful cider dounuts, that were excellent, not overly sweet,
but dunked in their sweet glaze made a truly wonderful donut.
 I turned around for a few minutes to take care of one of my little ones and when I turned back  I found all of my donuts gone (about 24 mini donuts).  
I found my Autistic son sitting in front of the empty donut pans.  His mouth moving as he devoured the last one.  
I asked him, "Where did the donuts go?"
He replied, " Donuts, all gone.  The muffin man ate them!"  
I couldn't help but laugh.  
I was honored to have the muffin man stop by.
While I can't tell you my whole family enjoyed them, I can tell you I enjoyed the one donut I got, and the muffin man certainly enjoyed all of these little donuts.
Sorry, I don't have a picture, maybe next time.

The Verdict:
These recipes really delivered.  I would be happy to eat any of these to satisfy my sweet tooth.  All of these recipes were five stars in taste and really shined without the refined sugar.  Amy has really turned me onto using palm sugar and stevia.  I am now trying to cut back on the amount of refined sugar I use, and continue to learn how to use the palm sugar and stevia.  Her book is a great start for me.

I did want to make a personal note here.  I am not a big fan of bean flours and Amy's basic flour blend is a combination of garbanzo fava bean flour, sorghum, potato and tapioca starch.    I consciously choose recipes that avoided the flour blend.  The chocolate cake was made with teff flour, and the breakfast cake was made with sorghum.  I used my favorite flour blend in her cake donuts and loved them.  My flour blend sadly did not hold up in her brownie recipe, but that is not the recipes fault.  Additionally,  I also used dairy and egg substitutes in all the recipes and they turned out well without sacrifice to taste or texture. 

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