Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Book Review, Nov 25

This week, lets take a look at a slightly older book, Babycakes.  Another result of my trolling the local library (which has a blissfully extensive lending system linked together over several counties), this book is another that is not currently in my personal collection.
Like the Flying Aprons book, this is another collection of recipes born of a brick-and-mortar gluten-free and vegan bakery.

It's a lovely book, with lots of color, glossy pages, and pretty pictures.  For all that, some of the fonts chosen are difficult to read, and it's not a comfortable browsing book.  It is an exciting book to look at, with lots of intriguing recipes to try.  This book has more sidenotes and extensive head notes, which give it more character and interest.  It's introductory material on choosing and using ingredients and equipment is also more developed.  Chapters follow that cover muffins, biscuits and scones, teacakes, cookies and brownies, cupcakes and frostings, cakes and crumbles, pies and cobblers, and drinks.

Those recipes that I tried were well written, and easy to execute if you've got even a little bit of kitchen experience.  The results are typical for vegan/gluten-free.  On a personal level, I'd just as soon NOT bother with the vegan part, as I find the results less than ideal.  The overt flavor of coconut oil is off-putting in many instances.  I didn't even have the option to try out many of the frosting recipes, as I could not locate soy milk powder anywhere locally.  The "drinks" chapter, which includes a mere 5 recipes - for lemonade, Babyberry, a vanilla shake, an Arnold Palmer, and hot chocolate - was completely superfluous.

Again, if you're used to gluten-free baking, but not vegan baking, you're going to have to add a string of new ingredients to your pantry.  And, as this book bills it's recipes as mostly sugar-free as well, a number of alternative sweeteners.

At this point, I'm going to take a brief moment to be cranky about the "sugar-free" thing.  These recipes are NOT "sugar-free" by any chemist's definition.  The closest I would grant would be "refined white sugar free".  Both agave nectar and evaporated cane juice are still sugars.  Somewhat chemically distinct from straight sucrose, but sugars nonetheless and able to stimulate an insulin response.  To me, this is more than a little misleading and I'm a bit surprised that the "sugar-free" bit made it on to the cover.

Of the two books, I preferred the Flying Apron Baking Book, but in truth, I own neither and don't have any burning desire to.

2 comments:

  1. Our gluten-free cookbook reviewer had great results with this book and loved the overall visual appeal, as one of her biggest pet peeves are ugly GF cookbooks. Flying Apron is next up!

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  2. I'd agree that a lot of them could use some good design work. :-) Unfortunately, so far I'm finding that a lot of times the "ugly" or plain books are more useful. This one is pretty, but I just find the ingredients used to substitute for butter and eggs a little off-putting. And I REALLY have a problem with calling any of it "sugar-free."

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