Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Great Baking Book - Divvies Bakery Cookbook

Divvies Bakery has a new cookbook that allergen-free families will love. Lori Sandler created the Divvies Bakery Cookbook with recipes she uses in the Divvies Bakery, a bakeshop she started that is peanut-free, tree nut-free, milk-free, and egg-free.

I was thrilled when the folks at St. Martin’s press asked me if I wanted to review this book because I’m always looking for allergen-free baking ideas to share.

First a warning – most of the recipes use wheat flour, and many use soy products (including tofu and soy milk). So if you have soy or wheat allergies and need to follow recipes line by line, this won’t be the book for you. That said, if you don’t mind being just a little adventurous as you bake, the soy-allergic will easily be able to substitute rice or hemp milk, and I think most of the recipes can be adapted to use a gluten-free multi-purpose flour as in my example below.

The book itself is very inviting. I love the blue and white striped theme that is carried throughout the book, and there are terrific pictures of some of the great baked goods you can make.

I decided to try one of Divvies signature items, the Divvies Famous Chocolate Cupcakes. (Yes, of course, it had to be chocolate.) The folks at St. Martin’s Press allowed me to share this recipe with you:

Divvies Famous Chocolate Cupcakes

1 ½ cups unbleached flour
¾ cup sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 ¼ cups water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together until well combined; do not sift. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine the vegetable oil, vinegar, and water and blend with an electric mixer on medium speed.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and mix until very smooth, scraping the batter from sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula. Continue to mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. This batter will be more watery than typical cake batters.
5. Pour the batter into the lined cupcake pan filling each well about three-quarters full.
6. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes on the center rack of the preheated oven. After 12 minutes, rotate the pan to ensure even more even baking. Remove the cupcake pan from the oven, and immediately transfer the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack – this is very important as it allows excess moisture to evaporate from the bottom of the paper baking cups.

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

Recipe from The Divvies Bakery Cookbook by Lori Sandler. Copyright © 2010 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

To make these allergen-free, I substituted multi-purpose gluten-free flour. I increased the flour slightly (which is usually necessary when adapting for gluten-free flour) – I used 1 ¾ cups of Namaste Perfect Flour Blend. Since the Namaste flour has xanthan gum in the formula, there was no need to add more, but if you use a flour like King Arthur gluten-free flour, I would recommend adding ½ teaspoon on xanthan gum also.

Lori Sandler uses vinegar in a lot of her recipes as an egg-replacer, and I loved the way this worked in the cupcakes. I am going to be trying this a lot more in my own recipes.

The cupcakes were a hit! I think this recipe could easily be used to make a cake, or adapted with add-ins.

Bake to the cookbook itself – there are cakes, breads, pies, cookies, and more. I am planning to make the Classic Strawberry-Raspberry Bars next.

Have you tried Lori’s cookbook yet? What do you think?

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