If you emailed me in the past few months, you’d get one of a few somewhat comical “vacation responses” bouncing immediately back. In October it was something like, “I’m preparing for baby, so you’ll likely get buried.” Then the “baby imminent any day now” version.
In November and December, it was, “Gabriel Thomas is more important than your email…there’s a really good chance you won’t get a reply.” And now it’s, “There’s not much space left in this inbox…”
When Kelly of the Nourishing Home emailed to see if I wanted to review her new cookbook, coming out in January, she got one of my bounces and immediately emailed back an apology. Of course I wouldn’t have time to review a new cookbook…
I probably surprised her when I emailed back fairly quickly with a “but maybe I want to see your new book!”
For a sweet friend like Kelly, I could make the time.
Besides that, a new mama needs some beautiful food pictures to drool over when she’s nursing that newborn now, doesn’t she?
That was the first thing I noticed about my review copy of Everyday Grain-Free Baking (by Kelly Smith of the Nourishing Home, for sale on Amazon.com – thanks for supporting Kelly with your purchase and KS by using that affiliate link!) – the photographs are GORgeous.
In fact, I emailed Kelly back again and queried, “Did you really do all your own pictures???”
I’ve been working on my own food photography, and believe me, it shows, compared to the “take a pic of your dinner plate with the flash” strategy I had when I started blogging. But I don’t hold a candle to Kelly’s beautiful layouts, food, and lighting.
And if you’d rather not so many sweets:
There are recipes in Everyday Grain-Free Baking for seriously every baked good you can imagine, from sweet cookies, pies and cakes to savory hamburg buns, pizza crust, biscuits and crackers. I hear from a reader that her blender waffles are to die for (next on my list!).
I decided I’d try the “Almost Oatmeal Cookies” first, since they sounded pretty easy, and I don’t make very many desserts, ever. I figured it was a nice excuse to surprise my kids with a treat in their lunchboxes. (Rough job, right, feeling compelled to make cookies!)
I’ll tell you that mine didn’t look this pretty, mostly because I was upstairs changing a diaper and didn’t hear the 8-minute timer for who knows how many minutes. I figured I totally burned them to a crisp, but they were just slightly overdone.
I made certain to hover over the second tray – ’cause we don’t do anything in single batches around here anymore! When I saw the yield was only 1 1/2 dozen cookies, I figured I better double it even though it was a new recipe or my kids might not get any after my thorough tasting process. (Like I said, rough job…)
It turned out I made a potential THREE errors in my baking (reason no. 57 why there are a lot more soup recipes on KS than cookies!), and amazingly, even though grain-free baking is often rife with less-than-perfect results, the cookies were still delicious. *eye roll* It’s amazing I get through the day sometimes.
I’ll share the recipe with you, which Kelly has graciously allowed me to reprint, and then I’ll tell you about my snafus:
- 1¼ cup blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon coconut flour (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (or palm shortening)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)
- ⅓ cup organic raisins
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!), baking soda and salt.
- Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, mix together the butter (or palm shortening), coconut oil, honey, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth and creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well to combine. Then add the shredded coconut; continuing to mix until well blended.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the raisins. Then drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls at least two inches apart onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Use your fingers to slightly flatten the cookies into rounds.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown along edges. Allow the cookies to completely cool on the cookie sheet, as they will be very soft and crumbly when hot.
- Once cooled, they transform into the ultimate deliciously chewy treat!
I was more than slightly alarmed when my finished dough looked more like pie dough after you cut in the butter but before you add the water than actual cookie dough.
It wasn’t just crumbly, it was practically siftable. I’m posting this recipe in two days! What am I going to do?? I thought.
Looking for almond flour (also called “meal,” learn the difference here!) and can’t get to the store? Or maybe you’re like my parents and live in a rural area where you really can’t find ingredients like this at your local store. The answer is Thrive Market! It’s like Costco and Whole Foods put together and delivered to your door. You get 15% off your first order, no coupon needed, and your free 30-day trial doesn’t start until you place your first order! You have nothing to lose. They carry Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal for an excellent price.
I was able to smush each cookie into a disc with my hands before placing them on the cookie sheet, and I baked them anyway.
I was truly amazed that the cookies hold together just as well as any old cookie once they cooled! (Don’t skip that part of the directions.)
They’re delicious (although admittedly more of a yummy cinnamon-coconut cookie than anything that would be mistaken as oatmeal, but hey, the grain-free crowd needs some familiar grain-y words to hold onto, right?)…but I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do about this post.
I finally emailed Kelly and admitted that I had a problem, and we sourced it back to two things:
- I somewhat packed my almond flour. I thought I read somewhere that almond and coconut flours should be packed for best measuring, but my mommy brain is now reminding me that one should only pack it IF the recipe writer wrote it that way. Whoops.
- We also discovered that the “shredded coconut” I use from Tropical Traditions is so finely shredded that it’s more like the consistency of glitter, whereas most (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) is…well…shreds. (This is the brand Kelly uses – if you make a Vitacost order, click HERE to save $10 off your first oner.)
Here’s a sweet photo I took of my coconut getting all static-y on the scoop – I finally get to use it!
Awesome science demonstration, not so great for recipes that call for shredded coconut.
Too much almond flour + too much fine coconut = crumbly dough.
If you are uncertain of your measuring techniques, just shoot a little low. You can always add either of those ingredients after you mix everything together, but you can’t take anything out. Good thing the cookies will still work out even if you screw up the dough as badly as I did!
Buy the Book!
I know a lot of the KS audience prefers paper cookbooks over eBooks or online recipes, and I can’t argue with that. I can find things and use recipes much easier in “real” books too.
If you are eating grain-free or Paleo and want some look-alike recipes for all the baked goods you’re missing, I can’t recommend Kelly’s Everyday Grain-Free Baking cookbook highly enough.
And if you completely mess up a recipe, I bet you can ping her on Facebook and she’ll help you figure it out just like she did for me!
This is perfect if you’ve just been told you need a GF diet, if you have a friend or family member eating GF and you’d like to cook for them, or if you’re just curious what it’s all about!
Disclosure: I received a copy of the cookbook as a review sample, and there are affiliate links to Amazon and Thrive Market from which I will earn commission if you make a purchase.