One particular afternoon, late in June, I received a sweet email from a Debbie Adler. This might have been the most excited I’ve felt to read an email. An owner of a famous bakery in Los Angeles and author of an award-winning cookbook emailed ME. Me? Yes, me. I have no idea how she stumbled upon my blog, I never asked.
The reason for the unsolicited message was to ask if I was interested in receiving a complimentary copy of her new book. Are you kidding me?! She then went on to describe her book as if anything more needed to be said. “In the cookbook you’ll see that I figured out a way to not only make all the recipes mouth-watering and delicious but also nutritious by using whole foods, no refined sugar and high protein, low glycemic gluten-free flours.” Seriously?! You had me at hello, Debbie.
She ended the email with thanking me for my “extraordinary blog” (yup, her words) and for considering her request. Honestly, who in their right mind would turn her down? Of course, I said yes. I was expecting her to ask for something in return. For instance, a positive review on her book. Nope. All she wanted was my address in order to send me the book. Well, Debbie, you’re getting a positive review whether you want it or not.
Being the cynical person I am, I was skeptical. It was too good to be true. People don’t just give people other things for no reason. Yes well, she proved me wrong. Two days later, earlier than I expected, there was the package on my doorstep. I opened it up and started flipping through the pages right away.
The first thing I noticed were the beautiful pictures. Surely, if that doesn’t make you salivate, reading the titles of each unique recipe will. There is nothing plain or ordinary about any of the recipes in this book. You will find things like Dillicious Herb-Stuffed Muffins, Caramel Glazed Fakin’ Bacon Brownies, Basil Lemonade Cookies, Ruby Red Wine and Chocolate Cupcakes, and Saffron and Cardamom Donut Holes. The last chapter on savory baked goods is no different, containing recipes like Pumpcornbread and Krispy Kale ‘n’ Cheese Soft Pretzel Rods. All I could think was, This woman is incredible. How did she come up with some of these things?
I don’t know how these ideas come to her, but she knows what she’s doing. I do know with her son being allergic to just about everything edible she was inspired to create tasty treats to spoil him with. She’s a smart one, that Debbie. In a previous life she played a successful CPA at a big fancy accounting firm in New York. She then decided happiness would be found elsewhere and moved to Los Angeles, where she opened a bakery to sell other people happiness in the form of cupcakes. The cookbook soon followed.
Being new to gluten-free baking I really appreciate the explanation she provides in the first chapter of all the unfamiliar ingredients I would be using. The second chapter is just as great. She shares her techniques and all the tools you will need to execute each recipe, along with a few recipes you’ll need for other recipes in the book. Making your own hemp seed butter and chocolate chips might seem challenging, but it’s not too bad. Actually, all of her recipes are more on the simple side than you would expect. Some of the recipes I chose to tackle intimidated me. After it was in the oven I always ended up saying, “That wasn’t too bad.” She has a way of making simple work out of it all.
I must say I do love her All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix. It’s one of the best gluten-free flour mixes I’ve tried, I even came up with a recipe using it. Nowhere near as good as hers though. I did have difficulty locating some of the flours she uses, but I made do with what I could find. Instead of using ivory teff flour and light buckwheat flour I used the dark of both. If you don’t mind purchasing food online she does provide resources at the end of the book. The only other ingredient I have not been able to find in stores is the powdered erythritol, which she uses as an alternative to powdered sugar to make frosting. Therefore, I decided to not make any of the cupcakes. I didn’t want the cakes without the frosting, who does?
I loved every single thing I made from the book. Some didn’t turn out so well. That, I’m sure, was due to the substitutions I made if I didn’t have everything on hand that I was supposed to at the time. Hey, sometimes when you want something “now” is better than wasting time with a trip to the store.
1. Sunflower Seed Butter
Not only was this easy to make, it tasted a lot better than I expected. I also want to say that this keeps in the fridge for a long time. I used it for two recipes and then it sat neglected for a while. I finally finished it off using it as a condiment for apple slices. It was so good!
This was the second recipe I made. The only reason I got to make it is because the donut holes didn’t require a whole can of pumpkin and neither did these. Getting the most bang for your buck is always appealing. These muffins are in close-running to be the best pumpkin muffins. They are without question the best gluten-free pumpkin muffins. This was also the easiest recipe out of all the ones I made.
These muffins were the most intimidating of the chosen few. One reason why I wanted to give them a try, just to see how difficult it would be. Like I said, not too bad. However, they did not come out like the picture at all and the caramel sauce did not come out even close to what it was supposed to. Instead, it ran over the side of the pan and dripped onto the bottom of the oven making a disaster to clean later. I only blame myself. I’m pretty sure this is not a flaw in the recipe. I ran out of coconut nectar and had to substitute with brown rice syrup in the caramel sauce. I thought similar consistency, same outcome. That was a mistake. Still, unbelievably incredibly scrumptious.
4. Blondies With Roots
First, I love the name. It made me chuckle when I read it. Second, OMG! These lasted about 3 hours after they came out of the oven. I don’t think I even let them cool all the way before digging in. Although, I’m not sure what happened to them. They were a complete mess like something went wrong with the batter. I’m not complaining at all, they were still delicious. That is why I didn’t take a picture. Well, that and we ate them too fast for me to snap a photo.
These cookies were magical. They really did taste more like peanut butter cookies. I’m sure they would’ve been even better if I used her homemade dark chocolate chips. As for her comment on sunflower seeds and men’s virility, I can’t confirm or deny the claim.
This was the first recipe I made. As soon as I saw pumpkin and donut in the same title I couldn’t wait! Donut holes are dangerous. They’re so easy to pop in your mouth, you can’t stop at just six. Ten maybe, but not six. The recipe made more than what it’s noted to yield so go ahead and eat those extras. The next time I make these I probably won’t use as much cinnamon to coat the outside. A sprinkling would be fine with me.
The last recipe I made. I wanted to make one of her savory baked goods to try. It was either this or those pretzel rods. These are a little simpler and I happened to have an avocado that needed to be used. They were good, just a little hard for my liking. Again, this could be because I had to use regular buckwheat flour instead of the light that it calls for. The flavor is great! I love the spices she uses and the fact that they have ground chia seeds in them.
Will it break the bank?
Most of the ingredients aren’t too pricey. The coconut nectar and the stevia powder are slightly expensive, but they do last a while. The bottle of coconut nectar I bought was $6 bucks and it lasted through 3 and half recipes. The half being not enough to make the salted caramel sauce. It could even last for up to 5 recipes depending on which ones you make, not counting the savory ones. The same goes for the flours you have to buy. The most expensive ones she has you use less of so it’s really not that bad.
I think if you or someone in your life that you care about has multiple food allergies, is diabetic, has celiac disease, and/or is vegan you should definitely give this book a go. Enjoy getting to know her as she lets her quirky personality and unique humor shine through in each recipe description. I love the stories she shares and the nutritional information she provides. It’s like having a friend baking alongside you in the kitchen. Invite some friends and family over to share in the happiness that Debbie has created. After all, what is a treat worth if you can’t share it with someone you love?