Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

Gluten Free Boston: Kickass Cupcakes

June 7, 2009

So when I first started this post probably about a month ago, I was all ready to sing the praises of Kickass Cupcakes in Davis Square.  They carry gluten free cupcakes that, at the time, I thought kicked ass.

Not so much anymore.

Let’s start with the positives first.  From the times I’ve been there, they usually carry a GF vanilla cupcake and sometimes a chocolate.  The cake itself is spongy, moist, slightly eggy.  Their chocolate frosting is outstanding.  And I am not a person who typically likes chocolate frosting.  And on the CC tip, the first time I went in there, I was offered a separate box for my GF cupcakes so they wouldn’t be contaminated by the husband’s gluteny cupcake choices.

On the flipside, their vanilla frosting is gross.  It’s a buttercream, with emphasis on the butter.  You sometimes feel like you’re biting into a stick of Land O’ Lakes rather than into a sugary treat.  More sugar, less butter, people.  We aren’t trying to impress Paula Deen.

But, if you’ll forgive the pun, here’s the kicker:  Last time I went in, They had some special GF cupcakes for sale.  Some vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting, and garnished with a Paul Newman wheat-free fake oreo Newman-O.  I was confused because I thought they had mingled some regular cupcakes with my GF ones.  But I asked, and the person working the counter said, oh no, these were gluten free cupcakes with a gluten free “No-reo” on top.  I was excited firstly because I didn’t know such a product existed.  I was excited secondly because I thought I was getting a super fancy treat.  I scarfed down that cupcake and relished the delicious cookie on top.

So I was at the store yesterday, and what do I see on the shelf but a bag of Newman-Os.  And written on the package, clear as day is the following:

NOT a gluten free product.

I look at the back of the package and what is the first ingredient?  Barley flour.  So Newman-O’s are wheat free, but they are not gluten free.  Oh Kickass Cupcakes, why must I have to give you the wheat free vs. gluten free lecture?  I thought you had it together and we were getting along so well. And oh, Paul Newman (RIP), why couldn’t you have used rice flour?

So I will have to venture forth in my search for GF baked goods.  I still might get cupcakes from Kickass Cupcakes from time to time, but no bells and whistles.  Other places on my list to try are Bella Moto in Arlington, Celia Cakes in Arlington, and Strawberry Moon in Stoneham.

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Baking Challenge #1: Saltines

May 23, 2009

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So one thing I’m learning from this venture is that if you’re going to be a good food blogger, you have to have mad food photography skillz.  I don’t know so much that I have them.  But this is my first attempt with a camera that is on the verge of falling apart.  And it wasn’t even in food mode.

I decided that my first gluten free baking challenge would be to make crackers.  Why?  Because I do a lot of carb snacking. I love appetizers.  Store bought gluten free crackers are expensive, and I’m still hitting full on sticker shock over how much money eating gluten free costs.  I used the saltine cracker recipe from my first GF cookbook purchase, Elizabeth Barbone’s new book Easy Gluten Free Baking.  Her saltine recipe comes from the “Tastes Like” chapter (which also includes recipes for GF Girl Scout cookies!), and is slightly less complicated and has less ingredients than the Saltine Cracker Recipe from Learning How To Cook…Gluten Free!

I also reasoned that a GF cracker recipe should not be so hard, since most GF bread products get or are inherently crumbly. The instructions are pretty easy:  mix flour blend and butter together, roll it out, prick with a fork, cut and bake.  Much like instructions for a pie crust.

Do they taste like saltines?  If you close your eyes and concentrate on the butter flavor, yes.  Otherwise, they taste like a good sugarless shortbread or tart crust.  They stood up to a spreading of thick heavy cheese spread without breaking.  I think next time that instead of just cutting into squares, I might try using cookie cutters to make them look like a canapé type cracker.  Just to be fancy.  I’m also excited to try the cheese cracker recipe from this book.  I have a feeling that if the texture of the cheese cracker recipe is similar to the saltine recipe, it will lend itself well to a cheese cracker.

Any other favorite cracker recipes out there?