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on January 11, 2011
My mom bought this book for me a week ago. I've tried 3 recipes from it. All of them have come out so well. I tried the onion tart, Apricot Clafoutis (couldn't find apricots, so I used cherries), and lemon bars. Another review mentioned all of the ingredients. Most of the ingredients should be staples of a gf kitchen. To really bake gf from scratch you do need a quite a few ingredients. It does use dairy and I didn't try any substitutions. Once I've tried the recipe a few times I will try to tweak it. If you're looking for gf, dairy free and sugar free try The Spunky Coconut. So far I'm thrilled with the book and highly recommend it. Give it a go if you enjoy baking.
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on February 11, 2011
The recipes are organized and clear. The photos and layout make it a joy to read. Most importantly, the recipes are delicious! My favorites are the Lemon Rosemary cookies, the Apple Pie, and the Sunday Morning Pancakes. A bonus tip is that if you are looking for a Classic Vanilla cupcake recipe, just use the cupcake base in the Caramel Cupcake recipe. The author was super nice and even answered some questions I had emailed about a recipe. I highly recommend this book!
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on March 3, 2011
Gluten free foods and pastries that taste like the things I hated giving up. It is easy to stay away from gluten in meat and vegetable dishes...but pastries and breads ?!?! And so much of the bread you buy at the store goes into the trash after one slice. But these recipes put joy back into eating desserts and pastries.
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on December 10, 2012
I've tried several recipes from this book, and not one has come out well. I really like the banana bread, but it often comes out too wet, so I've had to tweak the recipe. The ginger gingerbread was very strong and very starchy. The chocolate chip cookies were gummy. And the sugar cookies were downright rubbery. I was so disappointed, I just threw them out. I really want to like this book, but am losing faith.
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on January 23, 2012
I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy (not celiacs) about 4 years-so needless to say, I am no expert in discovering delicious wheat free products. I found this book at a Borders and bought it purely on the fact that there were beautiful pictures for every recipe, my "wheat-free" frame of reference goes from "I can swallow this down" to "Oh my god, I think that was cat litter." My boyfriend, who has been outstanding and encouraging (to the point where he has willfully chosen to not even purchase wheat containing ingredients into the house) has watched me horribly "fake" my approval for some truly heinous products.

So I gave up. Until Blackbird. I was so used to being disappointed after every trial, that after the first batch of chocolate chip cookies, I literally went back to the book, back to all of my ingredients-just to make sure they really were wheat free! Every recipe I've tried has been a delight!

The only substitution that I have made is that I use Xantham Gum (it's easier to get for me) instead of Guar Gum. HOWEVER! If you do this, use HALF the amount or the food will get a weird tacky consistency (which is not pleasant).

I've read negative reviews about the extraordinary number of ingredients-I sigh. If you can't eat wheat/gluten, you kind of have to deal, and this book makes it soooo much easier. The recipes are also fairly simple-they just take some time-once again, if you don't want to die from something you REALLY want to eat, suck it up and there will be no regrets! Blackbirdbakery.com is also a great resource for recipes she develops (there's a recipe for fried chicken people!!)
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on June 11, 2015
I was a baker long before I could no longer have gluten. A really great baker. Those of us in the same boat know how challenging, albeit frustrating the learning curve is in the gluten-free baking world. The consistent thing this book has going for it is that every recipe I tried had a flaw of proportions. The gingerbread has too much batter for the bread pan, even without gluten, the baking powder will still raise it significantly. The pastry cream is too runny, and way too large a volume for the eclair recipe it accompanies, with no mention of setting some aside for another recipe. Gluten free pastries like that are best served the day they are made- maybe one day later, so keeping extra components around for this type of baking isn't practical, but also wasteful.

I wanted to love this book- and I do in its concept. Just trust your gut when using the recipes- some chemistry elements from regular baking are the same, and you know when you have too much or too little of some element when that little twinge of uncertainty taps you on the shoulder. Hats off to the author for putting these all together, just don't expect to dive in an have everything come out perfect the first time without some experimenting.
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on February 22, 2011
This is a book that is lovely to look at, and every recipe I've tasted so far was great! I really enjoy the pictures on each page. Sure people's tastes vary, but that is what makes cooking cooking! I have enjoyed all I've tried. Her crusts and cream puffs are particularly outstanding! Some of the recipes are too advanced for me, but this gives the cookbook range if you appreciate that. There are some that are simple and some more complicated to suit the wide variety of cooks out there. I have substituted palm sugar in my recipes for cane sugar, and so far, everything has worked!
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on March 30, 2014
Like datura2000 (see her review of this book), I also dislike writing negative reviews, but I believe it's important to speak up when your experience contrasts sharply with that of the majority. As with the other negative reviewers, I have lots of experience so I believe the problem is with the book rather than the chef. Also, by comparison the recipes in the CIA's "Gluten-Free Baking" have yielded consistently good results (see end of this review).

I'll start by saying all the reasons Blackbird Bakery looks like it's going to be great:
- The desserts are beautifully photographed.
- The repertoire is exactly the range that interests me (gluten free, but otherwise traditional pastry ingredients like butter, sugar, dairy).
- The broad range of ingredients is interesting but not overwhelming.
- The author's passion for the topic engages me as a reader.

But...

My results have all fallen below expectations. I've tried 3 different recipes and they have ranged from fair to inedible.
- Pineapple upside-down cake: First batch completely fell. Tasted ok in spite of the structural failure, but completely unpresentable. Second batch fared better but still fell somewhat.
- Cactus caramel cupcakes: When they came out of the oven they were gummy and weird. Oddly, the following day they did not seem gummy but tasted and felt pretty much like normal cupcakes.
- Icebox cookies: Texture was excellent and mouth feel was initially good (i.e., crunchy, not gritty) but a few seconds into the first bite there's a really unpleasant flavor. I threw the rest of the cookie out. My husband also noticed, but our 5 year-old likes them (but, she's 5).

I was right in the middle of making Leo's Sugar Cookies (even though I was skeptical about the amount of gum, and especially skeptical of the gelatin -- in a cookie? that's just weird) when I noticed that another reviewer said they were rubbery, so I've aborted that project.

In the meantime, I've also made 3 comparable recipes from the CIA cookbook and they've all turned out great. Linzer cookies were fantastic. Butter cookies slightly gritty but nice flavor & texture. Pineapple upside-down cake is a little oily but otherwise perfect texture; lovely crust.

So, the data are in. Sorry Ms. Morgan but your book is going back to the library tomorrow.
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on December 22, 2011
It took me forever to order guar gum and that is the primary reason that it took me so long to start cooking recipes from this book. First, I made one of the cakes and it was really good but then I made the pancakes. They were so good I wanted to cry! I miss pancakes most of all and I tried to make the premixed gluten-free pancake batter and they were gross. I couldn't eat them and my son wouldn't eat them. But then I found the Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free cookbook and these pancakes were amazing! They were light and fluffy and filling... Everything that pancakes should be! No aftertaste, no weird residue. I have started recommending this book to my friends and all I can say is "THANK YOU"! I was just so tired of buckwheat...
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on March 4, 2011
I love this book! The gorgeous photos speak for themselves, and make you want to try it all! So far, I've made the mandarin crepes, the blueberry cobbler, and the creme brulee.
All were fantastic. The cobbler in particular all but disappeared when my family got ahold of it. I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to try more!
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