Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review--Laurie Sadowski's Newest

You can win a copy of this book, here on this post!  
Until Friday August 30th, 2013 Midnight PST!
Really Good Peanut Butter Cookies from Laurie Sadowski's latest The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies
Lawdy lawdy, this review has been a long time coming. I suppose that's what happens when the sun comes out in dear Portland. It's been super bizzy-bee time around here, and I haven't been doing lots of baking. Instead I've been eating lots of local fruit, hanging out with visitors and drinking up the sunshine in our garden. Specifically with a large cartel of dahlias (I'll probably make a boring flower post soon). 

I have been posting daily on Instagram, soOOOo if you miss me, come find me there!

Ol' Dazee and I have also been hard at work watching Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad (not the latest season, so no spoilers!) and my favorite Bored to Death, which has had me laughing so hard Dazee accused me of faking it. I've also been trying to break my double spacing habit. Muscle memory sure is a bitch to unlearn.

Vee isn't really into posing with books.  Especially books that interrupt his neighborhood watch activities and possible naps.
I should've gotten faster acquainted with The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies, 'cuz this book's a gem. I've come to trust Laurie Sadowski's recipes, because they're really good, creative, and are mostly made using pantry items I usually keep stocked.  So far, I've made three recipes, but there's tons more I'm eager to try.

These recipes call for common gluten-free flours like teff and sorghum, starch like tapioca and that ol' necessary evil--xanthan gum.  There are plenty of recipes that call for less processed sugars like Sucanat and agave nectar (I usually just use my regular unbleached cane sugar and reduce it a little bit).  I also really appreciate the fact that many of these recipes don't rely on palm--both cookie recipes I baked called for canola, and plenty others use coconut oil.

If you're new to xgfx baking, or are looking for some decent books to keep on hand for friends and bake sales, this series is the one I'd recommend.  Each book gives very specific information about gluten-free baking techniques, which are important to know when you're tinkering with expensive gluten-free ingredients.

These are the Essential Chocolate Chip Cookies, which I've baked twice in quick succession. I'm a big fan of teff and chocolate together, and I'm a big fan of the nom nom factor.  It was required.
Two Bite Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes are my favorite!  Chocolate bottoms stuffed with a cherry, topped with a buttercream swirl and dunked in melted chocolate.  
My favorite of the three recipes I made, wins by a landslide. The Two Bite Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes were really fun to make, and so delicious. I made them for Dazee's recent birthday, and they were devoured. We ate them out of the freezer since it's warm here, and the coconut oil in the chocolate coating was not having it with the warm temperatures. 

Personally, I would describe these as more of a two bite brownie, but really who cares. Teff and chocolate together again! Plus, any long time readers will know how much I like stuffed and coated baked goods. I sorta feel like this recipe was created with me in mind.  They're that good.

One more picture of the Really Good Peanut Butter Cookies--I followed the chocolate chip variation.
I wanted to make one more recipe before reviewing this title, and the other night I had a yankering for pb cookies, so presto Really Good Peanut Butter Cookies were born.  These were quick to bake up and tasted good, but were incredibly soft, especially the following day.  Obvs, it didn't keep us from eating or enjoying the batch, but it did make transporting them hard.  Plus we would've enjoyed them even more if they were just a little bit crunchy.

Here are my favorite things about Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies:

❤ Super thorough information on the basics of xgfx scratch baking. If I was gonna buy my mom a book so she could make me cookies, this one would be it.  I feel like she'd be able to pop into her Whole Foods, grab what she needed and bake with success without too many Facetime interventions.

❤Teff & Chocolate.

❤Lots of creativity and options.  The book covers, all sorts of cakes, cookies, cupcakes, cookies and bars.

❤I love baking with teff and sorghum, not so much with millet or quinoa.  No need to make substitutions.

❤ Each recipe tells you how much of each flour and starch you need. No commercial mixes are called for anywhere in the book and Laurie doesn't make readers mix up a flour/starch combo to use (and thus store) for the cookbook.  

My only critique is that this book is not a looker.  I wish there were at least a few pictures of some of the recipes. I ended up making the two bite cupcakes, because I saw I picture of them posted on the AFC Facebook page, and I was amazed.  If you don't pay close attention while you're panning through the book, you'll probably miss some other knockout recipes.

  • Title:  Allergy Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies
  • Author Laurie Sadowski
  • Blog Whisking and Writing
  • Publisher:  Book Publishing Company
  • Photos: Stock photos
  • Focus:  XGFX Cakes, cookies, bars and cupcakes
  • 5 Recipes to IntrigueChocolate Peanut Butter Explosion cake, Pumpkin Cake with Cranberry Filling and Pecan Streusel, Chocolate Carrot Cake (made with an avocado frosting), French Toast Cupcakes and Peanut Butter and Jam Blondies.  There are also brownies topped with chocolate chip cookie dough, and a ton of other things I want to try.
  • XGFXness:  100% XGFX
Amey, my bub over at Vegan Eats and Treats reviewed this book a few months ago.  Head over there for more info and to see pictures of recipes I haven't tired. She was brave and made a bundt cake.  Bundt cakes terrify me.


Disclaimer:  I requested and received a free review copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cake and Cookies from Book Publishing Company.  No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the opinion posted here is my own.


  1. Try the cardamon pear pandowdy and the lime pie. Especially the pie.

  2. Kittee, thanks so much for the review! I'm with you on the photos -- and that is exactly why I post them on my site and my Facebook page.

    I don't use canola oil anymore (I know some people don't like that), and only coconut oil (it was listed as an option for people who need that alternative). I just wanted to include that.

    Thank you again! I hope you don't mind if I link to this review on my review's page.

    Andrea -- those recipes aren't in this book. Those are in the third book :)

    Laurie Sadowski

    1. Sorry. Can't keep my cookbooks straight! But I stand by my suggestion. :)

  3. Everything looks so delicious!

  4. Ooooh, I'm a softish/chewy cookie person all the way, can't wait to check that cookie recipe out! Thanks for the review!

  5. Mmmm these look so good! I love cookies :) I don't like to use canola oil either...from what I've read it's really engineered and not so natural, haha. I do use olive oil and coconut oil in my cooking, and obviously not much olive oil in baking since it can't really stand the temperatures. Thanks for sharing!

    xo, Alyssa

  6. yum! i was just thinking about you this week. xo erica in pdx

  7. This book looks great, I've been trying to decide on an xgfx baking book and I think this is the one. Those PB Cookies look amazing and I really, really wish I had one of those chocolate, cherry bite things right now.


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