It’s the most wonderful time of the year for eating tons of delicious baked goods and not giving a damn what your crossfit instructor would have to say about that! Of course, for us celiac and intolerant types we still have omit that tasty gluten when we bake up a batch of goodness to share with our family, and/or eat ourselves while watching Lifetime holiday movies. No judgement here.
Which makes it the absolutely PERFECT time to grab the newest from America’s Test Kitchen, The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook: Volume 2! It’s chock full of delicious recipes, you guys. So many my 6-year-old and I folded down almost all the corners and I vowed to bake that kid everything from to apple pie to bagels. And I will. Oh, I will.
The thing I love most about America’s Test Kitchen recipes is simply the amount of research and testing that goes into every single project. The description of how they came up with their gluten-free whole grain flour blend alone made my head spin, in the best possible way. And every recipe in this book explains why it works and the testing process, as well as what might happen if you used another all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. These are fool-proof recipes which helps all of us who are struggling to make “real” cookies for a larger audience. Because we are trying to convert EVERYONE to be gluten-free, right? Right???!!! (Pssst, don’t tell the norms.)
The ATK folks have also included dairy-free substitutions (also rigorously tested) as well as a primer on gluten-free grains for those of us who want more options around our table.
I decided to first try the Pecan Bars since I was on bake sale duty at my kid’s school. I don’t want to make something for people who eat gluten that tastes wildly different when you remove that element, and these pecan bars totes did the trick. Here they are on their way to the bake sale—
My kids were super upset when they left the house and were only calmed when I brought home some other mom’s treats in their place. And my husband is demanding I make these for Thanksgiving, which I totally will.
The ATK people provided me with a scale, which I’ve never used before in baking but totally loved. I realize this is the wonkiest thing to say EVER, but weighing my brown sugar vs. wondering if I packed it properly kind of changed my life.
I know. I should really get out more. Luckily they provide both weights and measures so you are not required to have that kitchen scale, but I heart mine.
I also love knowing something is going to turn out great just by following a recipe, which is what ATK is all about. These bars were the yummest and I can’t wait to get up in those gluten-free bagels.
My suggestion to you is to buy this book for yourself, and make a batch of basically anything in here to give out to everyone on your holiday gift list. Win/win/win/win/win.
reprinted with permission from America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook V. 2
Makes 16 bars
5 oz (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) ATK Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
2 1/3 ounces (1/3 cup packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarse
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons water
3 1/2 oz (1/2 cup packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups pecans, toasted and chopped coarse
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make foil sling for 8-inch square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is 8 inches wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan; spray with vegetable oil spray.
2. FOR THE CRUST: Pulse flour blend, sugar, pecans, and salt in food processor until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 5 pulses. Sprinkle butter and water over top and pulse until mixture again resembles coarse cornmeal, about 8 pulses.
3. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press firmly into even layer using bottom of measuring cup. Bake until beginning to brown, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
4. FOR THE FILLING: As soon as crust finishes baking, whisk sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt together in bowl until well combined. Whisk in egg until very smooth. Pour mixture over hot crust and sprinkle evenly with pecans. Bake until edges begin to bubble, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Let bars cool completely in pan, about 2 hours. Using foil sling, remove bars from pan. Cut into squares and serve. (Bars can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
Dairy-Free Whole-Grain Pecan Bars
Omit salt. Substitute Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks for butter.
ATK Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour Blend
MAKES 45 OUNCES (ABOUT 10 CUPS)
If you don’t bring the flour to room temperature before using, the recipe may not work as expected.
24 ounces (51/4 cups) teff flour
8 ounces (13/4 cups) brown rice flour
8 ounces (21/3 cups) ground golden flaxseeds 5 ounces (1 cup) sweet white rice flour
Whisk all ingredients together in large bowl until well combined. Transfer to airtight container and refriger- ate for up to 3 months, or freeze for up to 6 months. Bring to room temperature before using.