Today’s recipe is from Baking You Happy: Gluten-Free Recipes from Sweet Freedom Bakery (100% vegan), a cookbook with over 50 recipes for sweet treats that are gluten-free, 100% vegan, and free of soy, peanuts, corn, refined sugar and artificial ingredients. If you have a food allergy or bake for people who do, Baking You Happy gives you and your friends the freedom to make and eat whatever you want. On the other hand, if you don't have food allergies and just want to expand your baking repertoire and familiarize yourself with today's modern baking ingredients, this books is just what you need.
Written by Allison Lubert, owner of the popular Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia, this book includes allergy-friendly recipes designed to taste just as good as the traditional versions. Titles that caught my eye were Magic Bars (reminiscent of Hello Dollies or Dream Bars), Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, Brownie Sundae Cupcakes, Zucchini Bread and Gingersnaps. And with permission from the publisher, I was able to share the Gingersnap recipe with you! This is the "as is" version directly from the publisher.
I was eager to try this gluten-free, vegan gingersnap recipe since snaps are a family favorite, but I wasn't too keen on having to purchase gluten free baking flour, coconut sugar and xanthan gum to make one batch of cookies. However, as I looked through the book I saw that a few of my other favorites including the chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and zucchini bread, called for this same trio of specialty ingredients. In addition, when I got to the grocery store I found xanthan gum in the bulk section where I could buy it for about 70 cents a pouch. In the past, I would have had to pay $12.00 for a large bag. The Bob's gluten-free baking flour wasn't ridiculously expensive, nor was the coconut sugar; and because gluten free baking is so commonplace these days, I found all the ingredients at my usual grocery store.
So moving onto those snaps. The recipe was easy to follow. Like other easy vegan cookies, it involves mixing dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in the other, and blending every thing together. The dough was thicker than I'd anticipated, but I was still able to shape the snaps into flat rounds. Here's a picture of the cookies from the book.
And here are mine.
I think I may have packed the Bob's gluten free flour into the cup a little more than the author. And that's my only criticism of the book, by the way -- that there are no gram measurements. Some authors are hesitant to include weights since so many American bakers are resistant to using them and don't even own scales. I hope that one day everyone will be baking with scales, but wheels turn slowly. Despite my possibly using too heavy a hand with the flour, the cookies were good. The flavor of the coconut sugar and flax made them different than regular snaps, but I liked the cookies nonetheless.
The second recipe I tested from Baking You Happy was the chocolate chip cookies. These cookies didn't look like any chocolate chip cookies I've ever made and were quite darker than the ones on the cover of the book. I'm not exactly sure why since I followed the directions exactly, but I think my coconut sugar (I used a brand called Big Tree) might have caused that. I also used Guittard semisweet chips because I couldn't find any specialty gluten-free ones, but if I were serving these to celiacs or vegans, I'd be a little more careful. Either way, the flavor was totally unique with notes of vanilla, caramel, coconut and chocolate. They were chewy, as well. I loved the texture, flavor and just about everything else about these cookies and can't wait to make them again. Of course now that I've had two good outcomes I'm also eager to try something a little different such as the gluten-free zucchini bread.
Here's the recipe for the gingersnaps. If I can, I'll post another recipe from the book. For now, I recommend putting Baking You Happy on your Christmas list! You'l learn a thing or two about gluten-free baking, and I think you will love the recipes.
Baking You Happy Review
- 1¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
- ¾ cup + 6 tablespoons coconut sugar divided
- ¼ cup flax meal
- 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1½ teaspoons ginger
- 2½ teaspoons cinnamon divided
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup gluten-free molasses
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- STEP ONE In a medium bowl, sift together the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour, ¾ cup coconut sugar, flax meal, xanthan gum, ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, sea salt, and cloves.
- STEP TWO In a large bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, gluten-free molasses, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir them until a grainy dough is formed.
- STEP THREE In a separate small bowl, mix together the remaining 6 tablespoons of coconut sugar and the remaining 1½ teaspoons of cinnamon. Using an ice cream scoop or similar tool, shape the dough into round balls and roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture to coat fully. Place them on the cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Press down with a spoon to almost totally flatten each cookie.
- STEP FOUR Bake the cookies for 9 minutes. Rotate and bake for 4 additional minutes.