Most of us have heard of America’s Test Kitchen. Whether it be from the many cookbooks that they have published or the TV show, it is a name that we have come to trust. The name alone says “We’ve tried it for you, this is how it works best.” It doesn’t matter if it has to do with kitchen gadgets, appliances, or recipes, you know that when an item or recipe has been given the America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) stamp of approval – you expect high things of it. The same holds true with The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook.
Months ago, when those of us who eat gluten-free heard that America’s Test Kitchen was taking on gluten free baking, we were excited! Finally, someone was going to be able to test gluten free baking the way no one else has the ability to do. With a team of chefs prepared to take on the gluten free challenge, The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook was born. When I was approached by America’s Test Kitchen a number of months back, asking if I would be willing to test some recipes for them as they were developing them, I said sure! I was thrilled to get a preview of a few recipes from this much anticipated book – keeping in mind that these recipes were still in the developmental stage. I was then invited to review an advanced copy of the book . I RSVPed YES to that! And now I get to share my thoughts and opinions with you, so that you can decide if this book is right for you. But first – Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins, from The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook.
One can never have too many muffin recipes. Muffins are perfect to grab on your way out the door the mornings you’re running late, to pack in lunches, or help stave off a growling tummy in the middle of the afternoon. These gluten free Blueberry Muffins turned out beautifully – they are light, moist, beautifully browned, and have a wonderful texture. Be sure to read the notes provided in The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen regarding letting the batter rest, flour substitutions, and my favourite feature of this book, “Why this recipe works.”
- 11 ounces (1 3/4 cups plus 2/3 cup ATK Gluten Free Flour Blend) *see below
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blueberries
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- Whisk flour blend, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and xanthan gum together in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk granulated sugar, melted butter, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla together until well combined. Using rubber spatula, stir egg mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Gently fold in blueberries until evenly distributed (batter will be thick and stiff). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, portion batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. Bake until muffins are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 16-20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
- Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. (Muffins are best eaten warm on day they are made, but they can be cooled, then immediately transferred to zipper-lock bag and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. To serve, warm in 300-degree oven for 10 minutes. Muffins can also be wrapped individually in plastic wrap, transferred to zipper-lock bag, and frozen for up to 3 weeks. to serve, remove plastic and microwave muffin for 20-30 seconds, then warm in 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.)
Most of the baking recipes in The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook use a flour blend that America’s Test Kitchen developed while writing this book. The blend is easy enough to make at home yourself, but if you use Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour or King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Mix, there are notes stating what changes need to be made using those blends, and how it will alter the end result.
- 24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
- 7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
- 7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) potato starch
- 3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
- 3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) nonfat milk powder
- Whisk all ingredients together in large bowl until well combined. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 months.
My thoughts on “The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook”
This book uses a flour blend. I’m not generally fond of flour blends, because I feel they are limiting as to what they can do. However, the ATK blend does not contain any binders like xanthan gum, those are added on a per recipe basis. Also, when they feel the need to alter the ingredients for a particular recipe, they will add a flour, like oat flour, in addition to the blend.
The recipes in this book are perfect for any skill-level. There is nothing in it that will stump a new baker, and ATK is sure to give clear, concise directions.
Great things take time. Differing from almost every gluten-free recipe I’ve ever prepared or written, a lot of these recipes require the batter/dough to sit for 30 minutes, sometimes longer, to allow to flours and starches to absorb more liquid. According to ATK, this helps to eliminate any grittiness that gluten-free baked goods can have, and also results in a more moist finished product.
As a person that likes to know how/why things work, I love, love, LOVE the “Why This Recipe Works” notes for each and every recipe. It lets you know why they are using the ingredients or equipment they are using, and what kind of substitutions may work, and what the results of changing the recipe would be. These notes alone are worth the price of this book.
Filled with beautiful colour pictures, easy to follow instructions, and recipes that use readily available ingredients, I would recommend The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook to those who cook/bake gluten-free. Not to mention, they have an awesome oat-free chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe – So good that my husband doubted that they were gluten-free!
THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL THAT ENTERED!
Wondering what others are saying? Check out more reviews (and more chances to win a copy) at Tasty Yummies and Beard and Bonnet. Beth made the Classic Sandwich Bread, and Meg made some beautiful Buttermilk Waffles.
Disclosure: I received a preview copy of The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook free of charge. The opinions expressed however, are completely my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links – your cost remains the same, but I earn a small percentage to help support this blog. Thank you!