I’m pleased to share today’s baking adventures with you. Because of THIS: Ricki Heller’s latest book Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free!
My copy arrived a fortnight ago and I swear my eyes just kept popping out a little more with every page. Although I’ve blabbed on about going gluten free on my blog before, I have slacked off but Ricki’s book and blog have really made me sit up straight and make more of an effort. Ditto for changing the way I use sweeteners, and what sweeteners I use. I use white sugar rarely but there are times when I’ve used white caster sugar. I use more brown sugar and raw sugar but again, I want to move away from those. I’ve fallen in love with coconut sugar though, so I have to be mindful not to start baking too much!
Ricki is the author of the blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs, though her site is now found at http://www.rickiheller.com. In the past I used Ricki’s walnut-cauliflower ‘meat’ recipe in my vegan moussaka. From there I was sold and Ricki’s recipes have worked out well for me since. Although I tested negative in all my coeliac-y tests I do sometimes feel blergh after gluten (and sometimes outright sick after eating something with vital wheat gluten) but the most important consideration here is my children and I would like to improve their diets further. I would like to bake a couple of times a week but even then I’m mindful of that they’re eating.
I was also super pleased to see fellow Melbourne veg blogger Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe post up an interview with Ricki. And to add to the excitement, Johanna has made the exact same recipes I bookmarked to try first! During the past week I shopped and waited for deliveries to arrive and now everything is here, wheee! I went down to Naturally on High in Thornbury to get some supplies:
From there we drove down to Fruit Pedallers. I wish I had more time to look around but Husband and kids were in the car and the shop was packed so I decided to get out of there as soon as I could (because I was hungry and the very glutteny Lord Of The Fries was a ten minute drive away):
I really like this part of Melbourne:
When we got back home it was baking time. I had previously cooked, pureed and frozen some sweet potato so I had it ready to go this afternoon. The rest of the ingredients were easy to get together, including Ricki’s own flour mix (there’s a recipe for that at the start of the book). One of the flours in Ricki’s mix is garfava flour, which I’d never heard of before and briefly worried about how I’d get it in Australia. I then discovered it’s garbanzo (chickpea) and fava bean, whew! Bob’s Red Mill garfava flour is sold in Australia.
Enough chat. How did the muffins turn out? Good! And blurry:
Now ah, you may notice the choc chips are white choc chips. That’s because I can’t find Sweet William small dark choc chips anywhere. I have found the white choc chips and buttons and the dark choc buttons but not the dark choc chips. So this part of the muffins was probably using refined sugar, gahhh. And I guess the dark choc chips would be the same, right? I don’t like carob chips so if anyone can suggest another vegan choc chip, please leave a comment!
For me, the muffins didn’t have that strong taste of bean/chickpea like some “I swear you can’t taste the beans!!!” recipes have. You can’t taste the sweet potato either, if you’re worried about that. I was surprised at how light and delicate they were, I was expecting something more dense, like every other sweet potato baking recipe I’ve tried.
The flavourings (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla) in my opinion are just right. I found these helped to disguise the taste of the flours. Husband said he would have preferred them sweeter and he found the aftertaste a little strange, however that’s how I felt when I started using things like besan and millet flour. The kids liked them but I think next time I will make them in the mini size. I suspect the regular size resulted in too much “strange tastes”. I’ve used things like millet and quinoa flour before but not in things they liked, so I think they need to get used to the taste. Arthur absolutely hated soy milk and tofu once upon a time, now he asks for tofu, or stuff made with soy milk, or vegan ham and cheese pizza. I confess I must also get used to the gluten free flours and different sweeteners, though it’s easier for me now as I know what is better for me.
I’m looking forward to making more recipes and sharing them here (like the marbled halva and brownies, yummm. And I don’t even like brownies much) 😀
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