Gluten-Free on a Budget by Chandice Probst & Tana Besendorfer
I have to be honest, this won’t be a “go-to” cookbook for me. Chandice Probst and Tana Besendorfer prefer to use individual flours instead of a blend. They believe using a flour blend in the end will waste time and doesn’t give the best results for the recipe. Do I agree with that? I don’t have enough experience with individual flours versus blends. I also don’t make my own blends, so I don’t run into the problem having to stop in the middle of a recipe to make more if I don’t have enough. I mainly use store bought flour mixes/blends because I really don’t have the space to store the different type of flours. It’s easier for me to keep one container of flour. But, it’s nice to know what the recipes are based on before buying the book.
The cookbook is divided into six recipe sections with each recipe having an image, description, ingredients and instructions. Now with my designer background, I can be a bit critical on design and layout. I found the cookbook very busy and each recipe had a little different layout. The images of the recipes were dark, some blurry and some had weird cropping. The page numbers are not in the same place or treated the same on both sides. On the left page, I thought it was referring to the “NO.” of recipe, not the page number. The introduction also had a few leftover recipe ideas, which I felt would get lost after the first initial read through. I wish they were incorporated into the recipe section. Also, it would have been helpful to put page numbers next to the list of recipes at the beginning of each section to make it a quick find instead of paging through the entire section.
Gluten-Free on a Budget does offer health tips, how to stock your pantry on a budget, a sample weekly meal plan and grocery list and which is great, ideas for kids gluten-free lunches. They offer information on finding support if you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle and how to be prepared during an emergency. All great information to have at your finger tips.
Recipes I Tried:
- Pao De Queijo, pg.149
- Peanut Butter Delights, pg. 195
Cooking with Gluten-Free on a Budget
I choose these two recipes based on what I had flours on hand and recipes I haven’t tried before. The Pao De Queijo were amazing. I could have ate them all as soon as they came out of the oven. Cheesy goodness and extremely easy to make. I followed the instructions and as I was getting ready to roll my balls, but the dough still seemed a bit lose and the ball just flattened out on the baking sheet. I didn’t think that would be a good idea to bake, it would be one big flat roll. This is where I went a bit rogue. I sprayed my mini muffin tin with cooking spray and scooped the dough evenly into all 24 holes. I baked at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, the tops were starting to get a little brown. It worked perfect! Also, I froze most of the rolls and would just take out a couple as needed. I defrosted on the counter then popped in the microwave for about 10-12 seconds. Cheesy goodness whenever you want!!
The next recipe I tried was the Peanut Butter Delights. I don’t recommend these. I don’t know if it was the lack of instructions or if I just don’t like them. The great part is they only have three ingredients. The instructions fail to tell you a few key parts about making the cookies. Number one, how many cookies do you get? Number two, how big to make them? And number three, how do I know when they are done? If I had known how big to make them, I could figure out the how long to cook them, but since I didn’t know 18-20 minutes seemed really long for my small cookie scoop size, which I got 22 cookies. If I knew how they looked when they were done, I could also estimate the time. I think I ended up over cooking and drying them out. But I’ll never know. I baked my small cookie scoop sized cookies for about 18 minutes, they were dry and crumbs went everywhere. I also had a hard time with the fork sticking to the ball as I pressed down to make the fancy marks. Too bad they didn’t taste as good as they looked.
Gluten-Free on a Budget does have some great information and ideas in the introduction. I won’t be trying any of the other baked goods because of the flours, but there are a couple of recipes that don’t use flour and might be worth trying, like the Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole, Potato Cakes and Cheeseburger Soup, but maybe with ground turkey instead of beef.