Cara Reed of Fork & Beans has done a stunning job with her new cookbook Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets. I’m admittedly not much of a baker and do not follow a gluten-free diet, but the recipes in this cookbook were so easy and delicious that anyone can make them and everyone will enjoy them.
I particularly loved her new takes on a number of childhood favorites like her selection of gluten-free, vegan and hydrogenated oil free girl scout cookies. Cara is incredibly creative and talented and her recipes gave me a new appreciation and taste for gluten-free baking. I enjoy taking new approaches in the kitchen and have found these gluten-free recipes a refreshing change and an inspiration for future endeavors in the kitchen.
I tried a variety of recipes and I can’t wait to try even more of them – especially Cara’s Pop Tarts and Fig Newtons!
Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas
Pg 12-13 Childhood Favorites
This recipe reproduced a classic piece of Americana. Now you can make your very own iconic girl scout cookies with a recipe that’s vegan, gluten-free and also free from hydrogenated oils. I love the combination of chocolate, caramel, coconut and crumbly cookies. They save well, but I recommend keeping them in fridge. Cara suggests crumbling them up and adding them to your favorite nondairy ice cream, I could imagine them being perfect with some salted caramel ice cream!
Tip: Since I apparently like a generous amount of caramel/coconut topping, I ran out of topping with a few cookies left. If you’re like me and love a bit more on top, you might want to consider increasing the amount of caramel/coconut topping you make.
The Samoas recipe is available at Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets (Amazon.com).
Ginger Wafer Thins
Pg 44-45 Cookies, Bars & Brownies
One of the simpler recipes for an easy to prepare light wafer. The ginger is mild, so if you want a more pronounced ginger flavor I would suggest adding more ginger powder. These thin crisp wafers are the perfect snack for dipping in chai or eating with chestnut spread (crème de marrons).
The Ginger Wafer Thins recipe is available at Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets (Amazon.com).
Gluten-Free Graham Crackers
Pg 48-49 Cookies, Bars & Brownies
I used the graham crackers as a base for the Strawberry Swirl Cheesecakes (reviewed below). These dark, crunchy biscuits are best after they have rested and cooled. Teff flour helps give these cookies a darker color and a lovely whole wheat appearance. I used teff flour for the first time when I tried the vegan Ethiopian cookbook Teff Love and ever since then it has proven to be a useful ingredient in my pantry.
The Gluten-Free Graham Crackers recipe is available at Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets (Amazon.com).
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
Pg 118-119 Cupcakes & Cakes
I made six small (4-inch) cheesecakes instead of one large cheesecake. The sweet and tangy strawberry swirls perfectly complemented the decadently smooth and creamy cheesecake base and the chocolate graham cracker provided an excellent texture and flavor. I loved the graham cracker crust so much that I plan to use it for a number of different cakes and pies now.
Tip: The recipe does not specify how many graham crackers are needed to make the crust (just a measurement in cups). So for reference, I found that a half batch of the graham cracker recipe is enough for the cheesecake crust.
I was never one for cheesecake. It just never held my attention like, say, brownies did. That is until I started to experiment with the incredible cashew—a food that could be made into almost anything. I became a cheesecake believer. The creamy flavor that cashews give this recipe is mind-blowing—you would never guess that the filling is made from nuts.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease a 9–inch/22.5-cm round springform pan.
Combine all of the crust ingredients until well combined. Press into pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool fully before pouring in the filling. In a blender, combine all the filling ingredients except for the coconut oil until completely smooth. If it is difficult to blend, add 1 tablespoon/15 ml of water at a time until the mix is able to blend properly. Try not to add too much, though—you want a thick filling. Add the oil and blend until combined.
Pour over the crust. Combine the sugar and strawberry purée to make the swirl. Then, pour the strawberry swirl over the cheesecake and use a spoon to gently swirl it into the filling. Place in the fridge for several hours until firm. (You might need to freeze the pie for a few minutes before you take it out of the pan.)
Serve with fresh strawberries and homemade Coconut Whipped Cream.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets, copyright © 2014. Published by Page St. Publishing.
More Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking Recipes
Chocolate Sandwich Cookie “Oreos” from Healthy Slow Cooking
Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins from Keepin’ It Kind
Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake from Chic Vegan
Cranberry Orange Scones from Choosing Raw
Gingerbread Men from Pure Ella
Hot Cocoa Snickerdoodles from Vegan Richa
Key Lime Cheesecake Bars from Spa Bettie
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes from Oh My Veggies
Pumpkin Streusel Bread from Vegan Mainstream
Stone-Ground Cornbread from Crackers on the Couch
Yeast Free Cinnamon Buns from Pickles & Honey
Cara Reed and her publisher Page St. Publishing are giving away one copy of Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets to US and Canada. The giveaway will run through 11:59pm PST on 12th April 2015.
Thank you so much Cara, Kathy and Page St. Publishing for the opportunity to review your amazing cookbook and for hosting this giveaway!
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