When I first discovered my gluten intolerance, I stayed away from baking completely. When I first dipped my toes in, it was with a very pricey Ad Hoc gluten-free brownie mix I found at Williams-Sonoma. I adore Thomas Keller, so I trusted what I was buying, and as expected, the end result was phenomenal! Of course, it’s not the same as having flour on hand to bake bread, cookies, and other goodies from scratch.
As an aside, it should be noted that I am not the baker of my family. That’s Lora, and she is incredible at it. One of her specialties is rich, decadent cheesecakes that are actually lightened. For Thanksgiving, she made us a gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust that I would put in my top 5 desserts all time! 🙂 I prefer cooking, where I can improvise, to the precision of baking. That said, I do enjoy the accomplishment of baking bread from scratch, probably because it’s always been one of my favorite foods to eat!
So, you can imagine how excited I was when Lora came home from the mall one day a few months ago, proudly holding a bag of Cup4Cup flour (C4C), which Thomas Keller and Lena Kwak (the pastry chef who developed it) now sell at Williams-Sonoma. It’s inspired me to try a few more things, including my first gluten-free banana bread, which was delicious! The coolest part is that it works just as advertised. For my bread, I used my old recipe, and just substituted C4C in equal measure for regular all-purpose flour.
This morning, I saw this blog post, and man, I cannot wait to try these: http://penandfork.com/book-product-reviews/bouchon-bakery/. Lora and I visit Bouchon Bakery in Las Vegas every time we’re there, so we know just how good the brioche is. We’re hosting a small holiday gathering next week, and I’m thinking of serving some of these yummy brioche rolls with the country ham Lora’s mom shipped us from North Carolina. I’ll post some photos if they make the menu! Lora, Sean, and I will also be baking many batches of gluten-free holiday cookies next week – an annual tradition that can resume this year with C4C!
So much has changed in my life due to chronic illness, and the simple joy of cooking food for friends and family is one I take advantage of as often as I can. The fact that great gluten-free products like C4C exist is such a blessing. I now have a chance to cook whatever I want, and know I’m not compromising my health or the final product. Thank you to Chefs Keller and Kwak, and the many others like them, who care enough to focus on those of us with food allergies. It makes a huge difference!
UPDATE: I did make the brioche for our party, though they we’re gobbled up so fast, I didn’t even get a photo. 🙂 Due to time constraints, they didn’t even get the full second rise, but wow, they were delicious! The recipe is a little complex, but definitely, definitely worth the effort. Yum!