Featuring 80 low-carb, sugar-free baking recipes for celiac disease, diabetes, and weight loss
The focus of The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking: 80 Low-Carb Recipes that Offer Solutions for Celiac Disease, Diabetes, and Weight Loss is reducing sugars and starchy carbohydrates, so the recipes contain nut flours, eggs, and either Splenda or Stevia Extract in the Raw (formulated for baking). The recipes are formulated to use either salted butter or vegan margarine (like Earth Balance), and you can use any type of unsweetened milk, including non-dairy milks. They give instructions on how and where you can use egg replacers, so this book will work for motivated vegans. Paleo eaters who are okay with stevia can probably use it as well.
Layout and design:
The book starts with an introductions and a basics section, which covers ingredients in detail, as well as tips about gluten-free, sugar-free baking. Don’t skip this section if you buy the book. The recipes are organized into seven chapters: breads & rolls, pizzas & foccaccias, crackers breadsticks & pretzels, muffins scones pancakes waffles & other breakfast treats, cookies, brownies cakes & coffee cakes, and pies. The book provides resources in the back for sourcing ingredients.
Beautiful photography by Leo Gong, including helpful step-by-step photos for some techniques, is included throughout the book. Food styling is by Karen Shinto, with prop styling by Christine Wolheim.
Recipes include sesame seed bread, Cajun dinner rolls, cheesy herbed pizza crust, olive oil and parsley foccaccia, rosemary crackers, three-pepper pretzels, cinnamon-apple muffins, chocolate chip pancakes, thumbprint jam cookies, pecan sandies, hazelnut-coconut coffee cake, homestyle pound cake, maple-pecan pie, and vanilla cream pie.
What I liked about the book:
Both the authors have personal experience with low-carb diets; one became overweight as a culinary instructor and the other is both gluten-sensitive and diabetic. I appreciated how they share their personal struggles (in small bits) to help readers understand that this lifestyle approach has its challenges. The technique photos will be helpful, as will the extensive basics section. It’s clear the recipes have been tested multiple times, so should be reliable.
I wasn’t so keen on:
Recipes were not coded for special diets, although they have made lots of suggestions to make the recipes work for vegans and vegetarians; nutritional analysis is not provided, which would be helpful for low-sodium eaters and people counting carbs. I totally understand the desire to have and make treats you are missing after having to change your diet due to a health condition. I do worry that people might go overboard on these and see them as everyday foods again, which may not be helpful for their relationship with food in the long term. And, after learning more about Splenda (it’s made up of two neuro-excitotoxins and another component that breaks down into formaldehyde in the body), I don’t think anyone should ever eat it, so I’m glad they provide another option.
vegan, vegetarian, celiac, gluten-free diets. Recipes could be suitable for paleo diets with some tweaking.
Not recommended for:
Migraine or low-sodium diets
A note about my cookbook reviews: In the past, I tested at least three recipes from each book, took photos, and described my experience. Due to my dietary limitations (extremely-low-sodium for my Meniere’s Disease and trigger-free foods for migraine relief), it is no longer possible for me to test the recipes and do them justice.