Author: Roben Ryberg
Publisher: Lifelong Books
Buy On Amazon.com
When you think of gluten-free baking, the following adjectives might come to mind: dry, crumbling, flavorless, depressing. An interesting foreword from a food lab at Texas A&M University explains why this is so (it has to do with the binding proteins in gluten), and why starches of some sort are necessary for the tastiness and texture of cookies, gluten or not.
With this quick science lesson and an understanding of why xantham gum is necessary for these recipes, we can now dive into this impressive recipe book. This book feels like it covers much more than its 125 recipes over 200 pages. There’s a recipe for practically any kind of cookie you can imagine: sure, there are the basics like chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and pecan, but also macaroons, brownies and blondies, cheesecake and carrot cake bars, lemon bars, meringues, pinwheels, lady fingers, graham crackers, ice-cream sandwich cookies, linzer tarts, sugar cookies, biscotti, snickerdoodles, scooter pies (!), pizzelles, thumbprints, rosettes, shortbread… There are even recipes for mock Girl Scout cookies (Samoas!) and fortune cookies.
I love that pages aren’t wasted by repeated, identical recipes with only slight variations (many cookie cookbooks are guilty of this – especially the ones that pray to the alter of chocolate chip cookies). Instead, you get the core recipes for every imaginable two-bite baked treat. For a slim book, it may very well be the “ultimate” resource.
This is a one-stop shop for every type of cookie, providing streamlined and simple basic instruction, likely with beginner cooks in mind. The layout is clear, the concise recipe intros are helpful, and I like that the author provides measurements in both cups and grams.
Although I don’t have a gluten or egg allergy (there are a number of egg-free recipes as well), I tried out a couple of recipes that traditionally don’t contain gluten anyway. The trail mix bars were fun to make and don’t require baking – they were like a cross between trail mix and Rice Krispie treats. A similar rice cereal bar with melted peanut butter and marshmallows was super sweet and junky and appealed to the kid in me.
I passed the book on to an appreciative friend with gluten allergies, but not before writing down the recipes for Hot Chocolate Cookies (it sounds amazing) and, of course, the Samoas. If they come out well (and I think they will), I may ask for the book back.
Bottom Line: A vast encyclopedia of cookie recipes – at only 200 pages and sans gluten!