Giveaway is now CLOSED.
I recently had a chance to talk with Cara Reed, author, blogger and Gluten-Free goddess. She has a new book out that takes Gluten-Free baking to a new level. She’s already made headlines on her blog, Forks & Beans, with her famous gluten-free flour blend and mock ups of the world’s favorite candy bars and baked goods. If you’re not familiar with her site you’ll love it. I try not to read Cara’s posts on an empty stomach though….too frustating looking at all my childhood sweets so beautifully re-created into healthier treats. Cara is a real sweetheart herself. I had a chance to ask her about the book, life and her health changes recently.
Cara: The moment I began blogging I could have never dreamt that I would be where I am today. Every step has been some of the most delightful surprises I have experienced, with this cookbook being not an exception.
Me: Can we all look forward to your writing another soon?
Cara: I already have an entire list of recipes for the next one so I hope so 🙂
Me: The recipes are all baked or basic ingredient techniques for baked goods. Was the idea of the book just tied to your Gluten Free flour formula? I know so many of your other great ‘copy cat’ recipes for traditional sweets are not always baked.
Cara: For the most part, you will find all baked options with the exception of a few no-bake goodies, like my Key Lime “Cheesecake” Bars or Strawberry Swirl “Cheesecake.” Otherwise you will find a treasure trove of recipes from Pop Tarts, to donuts, to muffins, and cupcakes.
Me: Are there any Gluten-Free recipes that you’ve found just won’t work like they do with a gluten flour? You seem in the book to be able to make them all work fabulously.
Cara: I have failed time and time again with croissants or any sort of puff pastry. It’s a very time-consuming and tricky thing to accomplish but I am hard-headed so I won’t stop until I figure it out.
Me: How can going Gluten-Free change someone’s health in your experience?
Cara: For me, once I stopped eating a diet high in processed foods and made the switch over to fresher options, I really did feel an improvement in my health. That has a lot to do with the fact that my digestive tract is a bit slower and weaker than most people’s and not necessarily because of gluten, but also because I am eating foods in their more nature state. Anyone who makes that type of switch will most definitely feel an improvement in their health.
Me: I’d love to be inside your head when you’re creating those traditional treats you’re so famous for. Is it fun still to come up with a good re-creation? You’re posts are so creative. And the candy bars and cookies are a perfect match made healthier!
Cara: I think that is one of the “delightful surprises” that I have experienced over the course of starting Fork & Beans. I had no idea prior to starting this site that this was something I was even good at until I started to try. Those type of recipes probably give me the biggest boost of motivation and creativity–it’s one of my favorite aspects of doing what I do.
Me: Which candies will we see to come, any favorites that still have you struggling to re-create them?
Cara: That you will have to stay tuned for, specifically around Halloween. If you have never celebrated that holiday with me over at Fork & Beans, I say you must stop by! It’s by far my favorite holiday and that is when I go crazy over candy, chocolate, and Halloween-inspired treats.
Me: Who would you credit most with getting you through the book writing process?
Cara: My partner in crime, Matt. He is the reason why I am able to do what I do. Without his support and constant encouragement, I’m not sure if I’d be here.
Me: I know lately you’ve been doing a lot of more raw ingredients in your own diet. What are your thoughts about the blend of baked and raw in a healthy diet these days?
Cara: I am a full advocate of everything in moderation but my recipe creation tends to revolve around creativity more than anything. I am fueled by my 9 year old niece who has severe food allergies so I have her in the back of my mind when creating new recipes. My mission to find new ways to invent my favorite treats but to do it in an accessible and allergen-friendly way so if I can achieve a fun new way to eat a Snickers Bar in raw form that makes it available to a vegan or someone who cannot consume gluten because it makes them sick then I will do it. I love that!
You can taste that icing with the brown sugar and cinnamon swirled in, can’t you?
- 3 c/495 g Cara’s All-Purpose Blend (page 166)
- 2 tsp/7.5 g baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp /5 g xanthan gum
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ c/360 ml nondairy milk
- 1 Tbsp/15 ml apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 6 Tbsp/84 g vegan butter, melted (divide into 3)
- FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR FILLING
- 1 c/220 g brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tbsp/28 g vegan butter or coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp/5 g cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- FOR THE ICING
- 1½ c/180 g powdered sugar
- ¼ c/60 ml melted coconut oil
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp/30 ml hot water
- Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C. Grease an 8–inch/20-cm round glass or tin pie pan.
- Combine 2 1⁄2 cups/413 g of the flour (set 1⁄2 cup/83 g to the side) and the
- remainder of the dry ingredients until well blended. In a small bowl, whisk together
- the nondairy milk, vinegar and 2 tablespoons/28 g of the melted butter. Add the
- liquid ingredients into the large bowl with the flour mixture and stir
- with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed. The dough will look ugly at this
- Line the counter with a piece of parchment paper and coat with 1⁄4 cup/41 g of the
- reserved flour mix. Transfer the dough onto the floured counter and begin kneading until the flour is incorporated. Add the remainder of the flour reserve until the
- dough becomes less sticky and easier to work with.
- To make the filling
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until it’s the texture of wet sand and set aside.
- With your hands, shape the dough gently into a 9 x 13-inch/22.5 x 32.5-cm
- rectangle. Spread 2 tablespoons/28 g of the melted butter and evenly sprinkle the
- cinnamon-sugar filling onto the dough. Using the parchment paper to guide you, roll
- the dough from the length side over. If your dough breaks apart at the seams, just
- use your hands and pat the dough to correct the problem. Slice the roll into 8 even
- Place each piece into the greased pan. Brush the top of the rolls with the remaining 2
- tablespoons/28 g of the melted vegan butter. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until
- golden brown. Allow to cool slightly for about 5 minutes before coating with the
- To make the icing
- Combine sugar into melted oil. Add vanilla and water until thick but thin enough to
- stir with ease. Add more water if too thick or more powdered sugar if too thin.
- Printed with permission from Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Cara Reed
- Page Street Publishing (August 5, 2014)
Thanks so much Cara for letting me share your Cinnamon Bun recipe with my readers!
In addition to the Cinnamon Buns, I also had the opportunity to try out a couple other delicious bites from Cara’s book.
I combined two of her quick breads basically because I couldn’t decide which to make first. Cinnamon Raisin Loaf and the Pumpkin Streusel Bread. I made the Pumpkin recipe and added in the brown sugar, cinnamon filling from the other loaf. Awesomely delicious. I would make this loaf just to smell it baking in my kitchen alone….okay, then I would also want to gobble it up so…I did!
After that, I had to struggle through taste testing the Peanut Butter Cup Bars – oh my. Enough said Cara!
One winning entry will be chosen at random.
Contest ends on August 25th. U.S. and Canadian residents only please.
I was provided with a copy of ‘Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking’ for review but was not obligated to do so.
More from my site
- Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck Week 7
- Nancy’s “Mexican Breakfast In Bed” – from Spicie Foodie ‘Breakfast In Bed-Fest’ entry #8