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Great Cookbooks for Families: Flourless

flourlessHaving spent most of 2014 elbow-deep in gluten free cookbooks, Nicole Spiridakis‘s Flourless is a bright surprise.

Most GF cookbooks fall into one of two categories: those using nutritionally bleak wheat flour substitutes (like tapioca and potato starches or xanthan gum) and those emphasizing nutrition over fabulousness. Flourless is different.

The desserts in Flourless are inherently gluten free (flourless chocolate cake, pudding, meringues) or, if not inherently gluten free (muffins, cupcakes), stand-ins for flour are normal kitchen citizens like almond flour, cornmeal, or beaten egg whites. Moreover, and this is what makes Flourless such a thrill, the goal is decadence.

These are balls-out creations with plenty of butter, sugar, and heavy cream. They require no preamble prior to serving: try this gluten free crumble; it is almost like normal crumble. Instead, this perfect crumble speaks for itself, which is convenient, because my mouth is full of crumble at this time. This small shift in approach is huge for someone (I’m picturing a child at a potluck dinner) living in a state of constant vigilance (Is that gluten free? No?) and deprivation (I’ll just have this weird, pale cookie).

Both Mixed Berry Crumble and Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars met my three requirements for dessert: 1. Easy to make; 2. Force voracious lunatics to pause and worship/thank mother; 3. Cause immediate requests for more. There you have it. Success! I like this book.

The cookie recipe below is reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books.

As ice cream sandwiches
OCCC, pictured here in ice cream sandwiches. Do this.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


Oats whirled with peanut butter seems almost as natural a combination as peanut butter and chocolate, and indeed the addition of chocolate chips here sends these cookies into the realm of the sublime. Though it’s difficult not to eat them as soon as they come out of the oven, when cooled completely these cookies make great, sturdy cookies for ice cream sandwiches, particularly with vanilla ice cream.

¼ cup/55 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup/255 g creamy peanut butter

¾ cup/140 g packed light or dark brown sugar

½ cup/100 g granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 cups/255 g rolled oats

1½ cups/255 g milk chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars on medium-high speed. Add the eggs, baking soda, and vanilla and beat well to combine. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips and stir until incorporated.

Using a small scoop or a teaspoon, scoop out balls of dough and drop them on the prepared baking sheets about 2 in/5 cm apart.

Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.



by Nicole Spiridakis

2014 by Chronicle Books $28

View a sample in iBooks here.

Editor’s note: Chronicle Books provided a review copy of this book. Kidoinfo publishes reviews of things we have tried and liked, and never accepts payment for reviews.


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