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Cook with the Best in the Northwest
Flying Apron's Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book,
I've been a big fan of the Flying Apron since 2003, when I discovered the tiny bakery tucked away in a small corner in the University District of Seattle.
Every time I passed through the area, I picked up something: Maple Pecan Muffins, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Walnut Triangles . . . and my very special favorite, Cardamom Chai Cupcakes.
I remember asking Jennifer's father, who at that time helped at the bakery, when she was going to write a cookbook. He told me she was very busy but she was working on one.
So imagine my unparalleled delight when I saw the Flying Apron's Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book! Oh the joy! I might not have been the first to buy a copy, but I was pretty close to the front of the line. I wanted that recipe for those cupcakes!
I don't need to eat gluten-free or vegan food, but Jennifer developed these recipes so anyone can enjoy them. Some of the ingredients might not be easy to findmany of the gluten-free baked goods use flours such as garbanzo bean, brown rice, or teffbut they can be ordered online. Both Jennifer and I recommend Bob's Red Mill for exotic flours.
But as excited as I was to have them, I wondered: how do the recipes cook up at home?
The basic bread recipe, which incorporates brown rice flour, garbanzo flour, and flax meal, as well as maple syrup and pumpkin puree, creates a satisfying loaf. It is hearty but not overly dense.
A taste-tester who bakes sampled this bread two days after I made it and said it had a "great texture" and a "great rise."
You can use this basic bread recipe for the base of Pizza Verdura, piled high with fresh vegetables. I added the Homemade Marinara Sauce, which is simple to put together.
My Sweet Tahinis looked like dark sugar cookies and tasted like chewy halvah. If you like the taste of sesame seeds, you'll love these cookies! There is a lot of sweet in thesea cup each of sugar and agave syrupbut if you're going to have a treat, you might as well go all the way.
The "after" photo above shows the cookies (using a 1/4-cup scoop) baked at 375 F for 12 minutes. They were delicious, but I wondered why they did not resemble the puffy cake-like goodies shown in the book photo. So for the next batch I lowered the oven to 325 F for 17 minutes. This resulted in cookies that still spread out and were even more chewy. Oh well, they all tasted terrific!
I give the Cardamom Chai Cupcakescombining the Cardamom Spice Cake and Chai "Buttercream" Frosting recipestwo big, sticky thumbs up. And they were a big hit at the monthly vegan potluck I attend.
After eating a cupcake, my taste-tester neighbor stated: "You could serve these any time to anybody. But I would lessen the sugar in these. These are very moist."
The cupcakes do call for 3 cups of liquid sweetener (agave syrup, maple syrup, or concentrated pear juice) and the frosting has more than 6 cups of powdered sugar. This may explain one reason I find them so addictive. But again, a treat's a treat, not a daily requirement, so enjoy yourself.
Plus, the taste of these is awesome: cinnamon and cardamom and vanilla in the cake part and chai tea along with cardamom, cloves, and vanilla in the frosting.
I made half a batch as a test. Using a 1/4-cup scoop, I ended up with 27 cupcakes, which was more than enough to taste-test, share with friends, and take to a potluck. According to the cookbook, the full recipe yields 33 cupcakes, so you can see the bakery serves rather large ones. I thought my two-and-a-half inchers (the size of those pastel cupcake papers you see in the supermarket) were the perfect size.
A note about ingredients: I did not use organic powdered sugar; that stuff's expensive. I looked for palm oil but never found any; vegetable shortening worked just fine. So don't hesitate to substitutewithin reasonwhat you do have.
I have tried several of the other 80-plus recipes, and as a result I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone wanting try something a bit different. If you are vegan or avoid gluten, I'd say this book is a must-have.
And in case you're wondering, this cookbook is not all about baked goods: plenty of soups and warm and cool salads are included.
Chai "Buttercream" Frosting
Enough frosting for one 9-inch three-layer cake.
2 cups palm oil*
* I used vegetable shortening.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the palm oil and powdered organic whole cane sugar until soft. With the mixer on medium speed, add the salt, cardamom, cloves, chai tea, and vanilla. Continue to beat, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, until smooth and fluffy. To achieve the desired consistency, turn the mixer to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
Use right away, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. When you are ready to use the frosting, warm it slightly in a double boiler, or with a metal mixing bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, and whip it again until it is fluffy.
Flying Apron locations
If you prefer to eat these tasty treats without the bother of baking them yourself, visit one of the Flying Apron stores, with the same phone number for both: (206) 442-1115.
Mary Rose lives high in the mountains of Montana. She enjoys traveling to farmers markets in summer and making snowballs during the long winter. She is happy to find many locally produced foods, including lentils, cheese, and stroopwafels.
Cook with the Best in the Northwest copyright 2013.