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Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle Hardcover – September 10, 2013
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“When Kyra won her episode of Cupcake Wars, she amazed me with her baking technique and flawless execution. I am now convinced that prepared the right way, gluten-free baking can produce a most delectable result, and Kyra’s book is a perfect introduction.”
—Florian Bellanger, founder, Mad Mac NYC, and judge, Food Network’s Cupcake Wars
“Kyra’s creations are the best I have tasted at any gluten-free bakery. Now we have the chance to make her favorites at home? Sweet.”
—Shauna James Ahern, author, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day
“Anyone who swears they can’t eat deliciously gluten-free has never met Kyra Bussanich. Her recipes could make a believer out of the most stubborn gluten-eater around.”
—K. C. Pomering, G-Free Foodie
“Accessible recipes like Triple Berry Cobbler will help inexperienced bakers make deliciously simple desserts with confidence, while more intricate recipes like Lilikoi Chiffon Pie will challenge the budding pastry chef in all of us to rise to any special occasion!”
—Jules Shepard, author, Free for All Cooking
“Decadent and delightful, Sweet Cravings is a treasure trove of both classic and innovative new recipes fit to contend with even the most voracious sweet tooth.”
—Olivia Dupin, author, The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
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Top Customer Reviews
The next one I tried was not such a success. I tried the eggnog cupcakes today. The recipe is marked advanced, and I'm not an advanced baker, so I was taking a bit of a risk. The eggnog pastry cream turned out really thick and lumpy (after taking it out of the fridge), and the buttercream looked almost curdled. These could just be a result of my lack of experience... HOWEVER, there were also many obvious mistakes in the recipe. First of all, the recipe states that it makes 12 cupcakes, but then in the second paragraph, the recipe says to "line two 12-cup muffin pans." Turns out the recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but enough pastry cream and buttercream for 24 if not more... Next, when reading through the ingredients I noticed that the cake called for "1 1/2 cup/113 g butter" and the buttercream called for "1 1/2 cups/ 340g butter." Confused, I looked up conversions and found that 1 1/2 cups of butter is 340 g and 113g is just 1/2 cup. I figured that the 113 g must be correct for the cupcakes and used 1/2 instead of the stated 1 1/2 cups. Luckily this was right, and the cake part turned out just fine. But if someone was reading this a little less carefully, that's a HUGE amount of extra butter to add. The final glaring mistake I found was the worst. The recipe tells you to mix together the dry ingredients for the cake and set them aside as you cream the butter and sugar and other wet ingredients. After you've set these ingredients aside, they never make another appearance in the recipe. The recipe never tells you to add in the dry ingredients!! Fortunately, I wasn't just blindly following the recipe, and mixed the dry ingredients in when realized that they were missing. It's always a good idea to read through a whole recipe before you start, but the reader of a published book of recipes should not have to do this much extra work. Where was the editor?? That's a huge step to leave out.
There are still many recipes in this book that sound/look delicious and I will keep trying, but so far I'm pretty disappointed. When you get a cookbook like this, you expect that a few things might not turn out quite right the first time you try them, but you DON'T expect to have to edit the recipes as you go. I noticed another reviewer here saying that had to make several changes to the cherry white-chocolate scones...
Note: I initial saw a copy of the pre-release book at Kyra's Bake Shop in Lake Oswego Oregon (previously known as Crave Bakery) in June 2013 and couldn't wait for it to be released! Now, 3 months later, it has arrived! I am thrilled to have my own copy!
The table of contents consists of a 2-page spread listing each of the 6 chapter categories and the names of each of the unique 50 recipes. It has a very comprehensive 5-page index in the back as well. A lot of thought was put into the creation of this unique cookbook and it would make a lovely gift for someone, or even yourself :-)
So the 6 categories of recipes in Kyra's book each have a special "topic." I've included some of the recipes for each section listed below. (You can use the "Look Inside" feature on the Amazon page to view the complete T-O-C). I love it that each of the recipes are rated as Easy, Intermediate, and Advanced so that I know what I'm getting myself into. Each recipe has a unique story that goes along with each recipe. The instructions for each of the recipes is well written, detailed, and easy to follow. Kyra gives details on how the dough should both look and feel along with how to tell when the goodie is ready to come out of the oven. This book is truly the "secret recipe book" even more than I was hoping for.
CATEGORIES & RECIPES. Here's the line-up:
1. Muffins and Scones (Topic: How Less Sugar Can Be More)
Bran-less Muffins, Orange Current Scones, Chocolate Chip Scones, Cherry White Chocolate Scones, Espresso Scones (the first recipe I tried out of the book, see comments below on the Espresso Scones)
2. Buckles, Cobblers, and Crips (Topic: Naturally Delicious Fruit Desserts)
Strawberry Rubarb Cobbler, Triple Berry Breakfast Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Apple Crisp
3. Quick Breads and Coffee Cakes: (Topic: Conversation Starters)
Coffee Cake, Lemon Pound Cake (awesome with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice), Beer Bread (yes, gluten free!)
4. Cookies, Brownies, and Bar Treats (Topic: Childhood Revisited)
Chile Lime Macaroons, Linzer Bars (amazing!), Almond Biscotti, Peanut Butter Truffle Crispy Rice Bars (wow!)
5. Puddings, Cakes, and Other Pastries (Topic: Comfort and Amaze!)
Bubbie's (Kyra's great-grandmother's) Secret Honey Cake, Coconut Rice Pudding (lovely!), Apricot Hamantaschen, Cannolizelli, Yam Biscuits (oh-yeah!)
6. Six Award Winning Cupcakes (Topic: Little Treats That Pack Big Taste )
African Yam, Boston Buttercream, Orange-Vanilla, Eggnog, Persian Love Cakes.
7. Tarts, Pies and Puffs (Desserts to Impress)
Hazelnut Pear Tart with Goat Cheese Whipped Cream (Wow-zer!), Classic Cream Puffs, Tiramisu
I love the variety of recipes Kyra included and along with the full-page color photograph; this cookbook is a true inspiration. She includes some all-time favorites like her wonderful scones, lots of her award winning cupcakes (as seen on "Cupcake Wars"), and unusual recipes like Apricot Hamantaschen (which is a filled-pocket pastry in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape). I was disappointed that one of my favorite items from Kyra's Bake Shop in Lake Oswego, Garlic Knots, were not included in the book (although I understand it is probably still a "secret" recipe since it is a real money maker in her shop).
The flour combinations in Kyra's book are not a one-size-fits-all, instead each recipe has a unique gluten-free flour blend specifically formulated for the type of pastry recipe. She also explains how to adjust each of them in baking. There is also a section on "chef's tips and baking secrets" that really helps with technique. You will need a stand mixer for some, but not all of the recipes. Again, since each of the recipes are rated as easy, intermediate, and advanced, there are recipes included for every level of pastry chef. And if you're a beginner like me, lots of recipes that are both quick and easy and others that are challenging to improve my baking skills.
So, I've been gluten-free since 2007 (6 years) and I love Kyra's GF bake shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Kyra uses high-quality ingredients in her goodies, including real butter, cream, buttermilk, etc. and everything is totally hand-made, home-made quality. Many gluten-free cookbooks use oat flour in place of regular wheat flower, but oat flour can be problematic for those that are highly sensitive to gluten (especially those with Celiac Disease). I was glad to see Kyra did not use oat flour, instead she used her own unique blends in each recipe including Sweet Rice Flour, Millet Flour, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, and others. I've been using Millet flour which I learned how to make from David Gabbe, an awesome pacific northwest vegan cooking instructor. David's awesome vegan gluten free cookbook: David's Vegan Home Cooking: Over 250 delicious, easy, low-fat, gluten-free, & cholesterol-free recipes. I was thrilled to see that Kyra uses millet flour in many of the recipes!
MILLET: Millet is the little "bird seeds" that are actual quite tasty. The best way to use millet flour is grinding it yourself, fresh! This tip is not included in the book, so I wanted to share this with you: It's quite easy to make millet flour yourself if you have a high-speed blender (like a vita-mix). Get whole organic millet seeds (available at most health food stores in the bulk food grains dept. or on-line). Put the dry seed in the Vita-mix on high until it is completely chopped into a somewhat fine powder. You'll need 1 cup of millet seed to make 1 cup of flour. This is the best way to go, since millet tends to go rancid and making it yourself assures freshness. Also, millet provides a lot of protein and roughage in a healthy gluten-free diet. You can use this technique with some of the other flours used throughout this cookbook. It's all about experimenting (although I would stick closely to her recipes at first).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I have met Kyra on several occasions in person along with attending one of her presentations about her life and gluten-free bakery in Lake Oswego. She is an warm-hearted, enthusiast person that has overcome her auto-immune disorder thru a GF diet and become famous for her creative gluten-free creations on Cupcake Wars. In the preface of the book she describes her love of dessert recipes from childhood, her gluten-free journey which started 8 years ago, and her discovery and transition to gluten-free baking, and eventual her experiences on Cupcake Wars.
WEB SITE: Check out Kyra's Crave Bakery's new web site too: cravebakeshop dot com. She has awesome cupcake/cake mixes. You can order many of her fresh baked goodis on-line. If you live or visit the Portland Oregon Metropolitan area, you MUST visit her bake shop in Lake Oswego. You can check out the menu for the day on her web site (it changes daily), or join her facebook group where she posts the next day menu the afternoon before.
RESOURCE: Bob's Red Mill (based in Portland Oregon) is an excellend resource for gluten-free flours and ingredients needed for these recipes. You can purchase them on-line, in many stores around the US, and even on-line.
MY FIRST CREATION: Espresso Scones. They turned out fabulous!!! I was able to find all the ingredients for the recipe at my local natural food grocery store including white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch (flour), sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder (instant espresso available in the coffee or international section of the store), butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract. And for the glaze, confectioners' (powdered) sugar, whole milk, and espresso powder. The instructions were very clear. The only adjustment I made, was I halfed (1/2) the espresso glaze. I don't like my scone quite that sweet, so they turned out perfect with this small adjustment.
PAPER VS. KINDLE: At first I thought I would just order the Kindle version so I would have it on my iphone and ipad, but after previewing the beautifully printed version, it is an absolute "must have" for only $3 more. I may even order both as having the Kindle version is really helpful when I'm in the store for a shopping list of ingredients.
ABOUT THE PRICE: Since this book is printed in China it is available for a very low price. We have outsourced so many working class jobs in this country and I was disappointed to find tucked away in the back that "Printed in China" text. It is however an amazing price for only $11.39 on Amazon. Even the regular retail price of $18.99 is an awesome price for a hard-bound, full-color, high-quality publication. I suppose printing this book would have costed the consumer at least twice the price...yet, still my only disappointment with the book. I really doubt the the author actually makes very much money off the book!
FINAL NOTE: A friend of mine adores the espresso cookie and is never able to get over to the Kyra's Bake Shop shop in Lake Oswego when they're baking them. I was really, really hoping that the espresso cookie recipe would be included in the book, but unfortunately, not :( my only other "issue" with the cookbook....really, I love this cookbook and hoping the sequel to the book will include the espresso cookie recipe along with her amazing garlic knots :)
ABOUT ME (YogaKat): I am not paid to endorse products nor do I work for Amazon. I started writing reviews on Amazon over a decade ago and continue to do so purely for pleasure. My speciality is yoga, meditation, and exercise videos, but I also enjoy reviewing books, especially cookbooks. I am a computer specialist, so I review lots of electronics and software/hardware products. If you have a book or product you'd like me to review on Amazon, contact me thru my profile on Amazon. Namaste'