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Entries in gluten free (7)

Saturday
Apr202013

CakeSpy Undercover: Momo and Company, Santa Fe

Momo and Co

This is what a gluten-free cupcake looks like at Momo and Company in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is a totally gluten-free and mostly vegan bakery near the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, downtown.

How did they get there? So glad you asked. Per their website,

What happens when you put together a native New Yorker with an affinity for baked goods (bordering on obsession) and a native New Mexican who has a passion for Boba tea?…you get Momo & Co! Leslie Thompson, founder of Momocakes Vegan, Gluten-Free Bakery and Carola Kieve, lover of all things Boba have teamed up to bring 100% Gluten-Free, (Mostly) Vegan goodies and the 1st ever All Natural Boba Tea Bar to Santa Fe, NM.  Initially our journey was a personal challenge to be more mindful of what was going into our food and beverages but along the way we’ve learned that many people need to eat allergen-free foods as a necessity .

While eating gluten-free may be a necessity to some, it need not equal suffering--for anyone. So it makes me so glad that places like Momo and Company exist, where gluten-free treats are available for those who can't eat gluten, but delicious for everyone.

By the way, this is what two gluten-free cupcakes look like at Momo. 

Momo and Co

On my recent visit with my friend Judi, we each got the breakfast sandwich (I know, not sweet) on gluten-free bread. Hey, the bread was pretty good and held together quite well (I've had trouble with gluten-free bread falling apart on me in the past). 

The cupcakes, made with a proprietary blend of flours (each of their baked goods has a slightly different mix to ensure the best flavor and texture), are among some of the better gluten-free / vegan varieties I've tried. The cake held together (once again, I have had trouble with that) and on the chocolate-chocolate cupcake, little studs of chocolate added extra delight. The frosting had a little bit of a "crust" on top, which I like--the only bad part is that it made it solid so if cutting the cupcake in half, the frosting comes off in a chunk. But this does not affect the flavor--just the visual. 

Cupcakes aren't the only sweet on the menu--they also have sticky buns with chocolate:

Momo and Co

as well as chocolate chip cookies, mexican wedding cake cookies, a waffle bar with plenty of sweet toppings...

and of course the savory / sandwich menu.

Momo and Co

Momo and Company, 229a Johnson Street, Santa Fe; online here.

Saturday
Jan262013

CakeSpy Undercover: Revolution Bakery, Santa Fe NM

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll

I'll be totally honest: sometimes, gluten-free baked goods just taste funny to me.

I know it's not their fault. They're made using a different type of flour--flours, in fact! It's not just a matter of swapping "all purpose" for "gluten-free". It's a little trickier than that. Most gluten-free baking is actually done with a mix of a few types of flour, to guarantee a good combination of flavor and texture.

And likewise, the taste doesn't always translate exactly. Some gluten-free flours will impart a more assertive flavor than white flour. That, I think, is what makes the goods kind of funny sometimes. Like, they taste too healthy or they have too crumbly a texture or something.

gluten free cinnamon roll

So when I taste a gluten-free baked good, do try to be aware of these things, that they will never taste exactly like their floury counterparts. 

But they still can be a thing of beauty in their own, gluten-free right. And an example of a bakery that has a good thing going on is Revolution Bakery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

At Revolution bakery, they have a big focus on bread as you walk into the cafe, but they also have a very nice selection of pastries and baked goods--they do cakes, too.

Keeping it simple, I chose a quinoa chocolate chip cookie (which was vegan, too) and a cinnamon roll. 

Gluten free cookie

The chocolate chip cookie was very nice. It was crispy around the edges but slightly softer inside. It crumbled lightly when bitten into, like a coarser sort of shortbread, and the flavor was slightly nutty and almost oat-y, which made it taste like a health cookie, sort of. I say "sort of" because it was assertively cookie-ish enough to not ever be confused with a granola bar. This is the type of healthy sweet I like: one that I can tell myself is virtuous, even if it really isn't.

Gluten free cinnamon roll

The cinnamon roll was likewise lightly nutty in flavor, which worked quite well with the yeastiness of the pastry. But what this treat is really all about is the cinnamon-sugar filling and frosting, which play together to create a symphony of sweet morning music tastes in your mouth. A very nicely done cinnamon roll. Had I tried this one not knowing it was gluten-free, I might believe that a hippie-ish sort had hid flax or something inside of the dough, but I wouldn't instantly proclaim it gluten-free just upon tasting it. It had a very nice texture, too.

Baked goods are a bit spendy at this spot, but a lot goes into making a gluten-free baked good, and I think they're worth seeking out. So if you find yourself in Santa Fe, hit them up! Just remember to go early in the day, because they can tend to sell out of some things later on.

Revolution Bakery, 1291 San Felipe Boulevard; online here.

Saturday
Aug132011

Seeking Sweetness: Daily Sweet, Allergy-Free Funfetti Cupcakes

Photo: Elizabeth GordonIf you follow my site, you probably know a few things about me, including: I love butter, sugar, cream, flour, unicorns, and rainbows. And if there is a cake that can put all of these things together (OK, maybe not the unicorns), it is Funfetti. This cake might just be my muse, inspiring pancakes, sandwich cookies, cakelets in the toaster oven, and more.

But as it turns out, my muse-cake has also provided some inspiration for someone unexpected: Elizabeth Gordon, owner of Betsy & Claude Baking Co., a baker specializing in allergy-free treats. As she said of CakeSpy on her site in an entry that made me blush,

Mostly... I read her posts and chuckle because they are so funny and witty, drool over whatever she’s put up on Serious Eats that week and then go about my day.  It never occurred to me that one of her wheaty, eggy and dairy-ful ideas would become one of my greatest gluten, dairy, soy, nut and egg-free inspirations.  And then, over Memorial Day weekend, my kids wanted to bake, and I just didn’t feel like making something from scratch, so I let them make a Funfetti cake from a box (we were in someone else’s kitchen). 

Well, looks like this desire led to some delicious creativity, because Elizabeth dreamed up a downright delicious-looking allergy-free variation on the world's most festive cake; even though it is devoid of butter, eggs, and wheat, I'd totally hit this cake. And by that, I mean eat it.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Elizabeth Gordon's website!

Thursday
Dec232010

Batter Chatter: Interview with Adie Sprague of Treat Cupcake Bar, Needham, MA

Question: you're in Needham, MA and have a hankering for a delicious vegan and gluten-free cupcake. Where do you go?

The answer is clear: Treat Cupcake Bar. This sweet shop has an established following for their cupcakes, which can be ordered in a great variety of sweet flavors or built on command by choosing your own cake, frosting, and toppings--and now, they've added a sweet selection of vegan and gluten-free flavors to their regular offerings, including Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, Orange chocolate cake with orange chocolate frosting, Mint chocolate cake with mint chocolate frosting, and Vanilla coconut cake with vanilla frosting and coconut topping.

Curious to learn more about the process of veganizing and de-glutening the product to the point of perfection? Here's an interview with baker Adie Sprague:

CakeSpy: Are all the new flavors both gluten-free AND vegan?

Adie Sprague: Yes, all the flavors are both gluten-free and vegan. We do this because we have separate equipment used for these products. It becomes easier to keep these products safe from contaminants if each of the recipes is free of all those allergens.

CS: I'm sure that developing recipes which don't employ common cake ingredients is tricky! Can you tell us some of the biggest challenges when it came to developing vegan and/or gluten-free recipes?

AS: It has gotten much easier to make gluten-free and vegan items, as there are increasingly more products to work with. At times, it’s difficult to develop new flavors because we’re doing products that are free of gluten, dairy AND eggs (that's a lot of cake ingredients)! Usually people substitute just one element of a recipe, for example they may substitute another ingredient in place of flour to make a gluten-free dessert, similar to a flourless chocolate torte which is delicious, but primarily made of eggs. At Treat Cupcake Bar, we must substitute them all. There are, however, many gluten-free flours and starches (i.e. rice, bean, potato), a plethora of different milks (rice, coconut, soy), and multiple ways you can substitute for eggs. The more of these products that become available (and with increased quality), the easier our job gets. We just play with all possible substitutions until we find something we like!

CS: How do you avoid cross contamination for gluten-free products? I understand this is very difficult for kitchens!

AS: It certainly can be hard in a small kitchen, but do our absolute best in keeping our gluten-free and vegan products separate from our other products, including dedicating a special section of the kitchen to this kind of cupcake creation, decoration, and storage. We use a separate table, mixer, and utensils for gluten-free/vegan cupcakes only, and we label them by color so that employees know, when washing & sanitizing, to keep these separate and send them directly back to the allergen-free table. When the cupcakes are done, they are placed on a dedicated gluten-free/vegan sheet pan on parchment and kept separate from our other creations. We make training employees on this importance a priority so that they are able to handle all products coming out of the kitchen. We acknowledge that you can never be 100% sure, but we’re confident in the system we follow and have many happy, regular customers who come in especially for our gluten-free and vegan treats!

CS: How do these treats differ, taste-wise, from your existing (dairy, gluten-containing) recipe for cake?

AS: People do ask if they taste the same, and they don't. We didn't take our chocolate cake recipe and then turn it into a gluten-free/vegan product. We started from scratch and made a great GF/V cake. Our regular chocolate is denser and buttery, similar to a brownie, whereas our gluten-free/vegan chocolate is a little fluffier with a rich, dark flavor.

CS: What's your personal favorite of the new flavors?

AS: The Chocolate Orange! It’s rich and chocolaty with a hint of orange flavor, and a layer of dark chocolate between the cake and frosting to give it another texture when you bite into it. The mint is made similarly, but there's just something about the orange! :)

Want more? Duh. If you're in Needham, MA, you can visit them in person at 1450 Highland Ave., Needham; even if you're not in the area, you can still visit Treat Cupcake Bar online here.

Sunday
Dec192010

Gluten Freedom: A Totally Sweet Gluten-Free Cake Pop Adventure

Here's a recipe for what recently proved to be a wholly awesome afternoon:

  1. First, start by obtaining a copy of Bakerella's most excellent book Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats. Be inspired by the cuteness.
  2. Add Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl, who invited me (that's CakeSpy) over to make a batch of these babies, gluten-free. "The cake I can do," she explains, "but I need some help on the cute part."
  3. Cue CakeSpy, who you know is simply made of cute.
  4. Add in a dash of surprise awesome by way of Megan (aka Not Martha), who also found herself free on the same day so joined in on the fun!
  5. Pair all this with an adorable toddler (Lucy, Shauna's daughter) and you've got yourself a batch of total sweetness.

My hands, and Lucy's. Photo by Gluten-Free Girl.Well. All of the pieces were in place, but how do you turn these prime ingredients into sweet success?

First, start with the perfect cake. As previously mentioned, Shauna prepared a gluten-free cake (which was also dairy and egg-free!). But this cake should not merely be praised because it's appropriate for people with a variety of different allergies--it should be praised because it is delicious. And to my delight, it was from a book I had as a child, Alpha-Bakery Children's Cookbook (I remember mailing in cereal box tabs to get our copy in the mail!). As Shauna said,

When I showed my copy to Jessie, before we began baking, she blushed and almost jumped. "I had that book when I was a kid!" She told me she had made everything out of the book, more than once. (Even the Quick Cheeseburger Pie, which I am dying to make for the 1/3 cup of pickle juice in the ingredients list.) And the "X-Tra Special Celebration Cake"? She made it all the time. "This afternoon just got three times better," she told me. 

Next, add a touch of improvisation. Having heard that some candy melts were not safe for gluten-free eaters (and so few of them are labeled with ingredients in craft supply stores!), I was nervous about making someone sick...so I picked up some marzipan (reading the ingredient list carefully) instead, and we also employed some chocolate which Shauna had on hand. 

Don't forget to add variety. While waiting for the cake balls to chill, we also maybe snacked on a lemon bar or macaroon or three from Shauna's kitchen. Le yum.

Learn a little. While decorating, preparing, and baking, I learned a little bit about gluten-free baking. I learned a bit about flour(s). I learned a bit about the whirlwind of excitement that comes with having your book, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, cited as one of the best of the year in the New York Times (from Shauna). I got excited all over again about mini gingerbread houses (from Megan). 

Get excited. We all got excited during this baking adventure. Several times each, I think. Perhaps most charmingly, Lucy got excited about my name being Jessie--just like a character in Toy Story. We all got excited about food, baking, and our various geek-out subjects.

Have Fun. The marzipan pops were the most fun to decorate, and I was employed to make a variety of different ones, ranging from a very...special-looking reindeer

to a homemade version of Hermie the elf

to my personal fave, the zombie santa cake pop.

...which was later devoured by Mr. CakeSpy.

But don't get too complicated. We also had some which were simply dipped in chocolate, and they were pretty fantastic.

Now, these cake pops were totally sweet. They tasted good. But sweeter than any of them? The conversation, camaraderie, and inspiration provided by the great company. 2 Sweet 2 B 4 Gotten, for sure!

Find the recipe and more on Shauna's site, Gluten-Free Girl!

Monday
Nov152010

Gluten-Free as a Bird: GF Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes for the Gluten-Free Girl Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

I eat gluten. There, I said it. And I kind of it.

But here's the thing. Some people can't eat gluten. Like, because it will make them sick and/or die and stuff. And that is the opposite of cool.

But then again, there are people like Shauna--you may know her as Gluten Free Girl--who can't eat gluten, but not only refuse to let it ruin their lives, but actually learn to "love the food that loves them back".

And she just came out with a great new book (to follow up her previous great book), entitled Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Her husband is named Danny, my husband is named Danny. Adorable!

So when someone like the incredibly awesome Shauna asks me to take part in a gluten-free Thanksgiving recipe challenge, I'm gonna give it a try.

Of course, because it's in my nature to be slightly bratty, I went gluten-free...as a bird. Literally. I baked it, but it's not a cake: these cupcakes are a gluten-free variation of the turkey trompe l'oeil cake I made for Serious Eats. They may not be sweet, but the sentiment is...and in an awful-meets-awesome sort of way, these sweetmeats are kind of tasty in spite of themselves.

Turkey Meatloaf "Cupcakes"

Lightly adapted from the recipe found here

Note: When it comes to gluten-free ingredients, be sure to read everything. Even things that you wouldn't think of as having gluten--say, ketchup or oats--often do. So do your homework!

  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats (be careful to find a truly GF brand)
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (be sure to check the ingredients and use a GF brand)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce substitute such as tamari
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • For the filling and topping:
  • 5 cups mashed potatoes (recipe of your choice)
  • 1 cup sauteed green beans
  • 1/2 cup sauteed onions 
  • 2 cups stuffing (use this recipe!)
  • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, drained of excess liquid

For the procedure, click over to Serious Eats--basically you will follow the same steps for the "cupcakes", but reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes because they are served in smaller vessels. Serve with any combination of GF Thanksgiving sides you'd like, and garnish with gravy (white flour free, please) if desired. 

Of course, if all this is too much for you to...ah, digest, check out the other GF entries which are linked to from Shauna's blog, and here's a direct link to a few of my favorites: a gluten-free pumpkin pie, a gluten-free sweet potato and crabapple clafoutis (!), and a rather delectable-looking gingerbread cake.

Sunday
Apr182010

Sweet Sneak Peek: Good Chemistry Baking, Coming Soon in Oakland, CA

You know what I love? Seeing people make it happen. And right now, one of my biggest inspirations is Jane O'Hara, proprietress of the soon-to-be-opened gluten-free bakery, Good Chemistry Baking (don't you just love the name?), in Oakland. I met Jane last year when showing at the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco, back when the bakery concept was still preheating in her mind. After talking extensively about eating sweet on a gluten-free diet, we kept in contact through the year, and now I'm delighted to say that her bakery is going to be open soon in the Bay Area!

Direct from the source, here's a sneak peek at the awesomeness that will soon be open in Oakland (with some seriously tempting photos from Michael Behen): 

Good Chemistry Baking: Opening Memorial Day weekend in Oakland, CA! 
 
Good Chemistry Baking is a new, dedicated gluten-free bakery featuring treats made with many local and organic ingredients. Owner and baker Jane O'Hara makes a variety of baked goods from scratch each day; menu items will include muffins, scones, lemon bars, cupcakes, cookies, breads, pizza by-the-slice and more.  The bakery will serve organic and fair-trade coffee from Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee and certified gluten-free teas from The Republic of Tea. Oh, and they may or may not be featuring artwork by that cupcake artist called CakeSpy (I'm kidding. They really will be.)
 

More details:

Good Chemistry Baking
'celebrating the gluten-free good life'
3249 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
510.350.7190
www.goodchemistrybaking.com (website coming soon!) 
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

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