13 Aug 2012
This week’s cookbook giveaway features Beth Hillson’s “Gluten-Free Makeovers.” Hillson’s expertise in gluten free cooking and baking are pretty notorious in the best possible way. Coupled with her desire to make-over favorites the whole family will enjoy, I’m sure you’ll find gluten free makeovers and her gluten free breakfast recipe for portable Blueberry Crunch Breakfast Cookies delicious.
Making Perfection out of Imperfection
I love mornings- bright, cheery mornings, crisp air, deep blue skies, and high, fluffy clouds. And I love breakfast. I start the day with something crunchy and light, vibrantly blue and slightly sweet. Come to think of it, my breakfast is a mirror of those perfect mornings.
On most days, my ritual goes like this. Wash two large handfuls of fresh blueberries. Drain them well. Set them in a clear glass bowl, so I can see the indigo gems peeking through at me. Top the berries with homemade, lactose-free yogurt. (We make our own from lactose-free milk.) Then sprinkle two generous handfuls of Crispy Rice Cereal on top. There it is- a richly blue and luxuriously white breakfast with a crisp finish. Can morning get better than this?
Well, not all mornings are perfect. When I’m on the road, there’s no way to take along my morning companions, not in a bowl, at least. So I roll my favorites into breakfast cookies that travel easily. The result is the Blueberry Crunch Breakfast Cookies below, the perfect way to start the morning when I travel or when I am short on time.
Having celiac disease is like that. I’ve been gluten-free for 36 years and this is pretty much my approach to everything in life. I’ve become a master at improvising, turning imperfection into perfection. Adapt, substitute, and appreciate are my mantras.
When I was diagnosed in 1976, I had no place to turn for help or for products. I went to culinary school to try to understand the pitfalls in restaurant dining- where foods might be dusted or stews thickened with flour, when sauces or soups might use a roux, which desserts had the potential for being safe (ice cream, chocolate mousse, or crème caramel).
With recipes in hand, I discovered I also held the secrets that made the dishes work, the recipes’ DNA. I found that by substituting gluten-free flours I could recreate these culinary classics so they were safe for my diet.
For nearly 20 years, I’ve shared my discoveries and food with others who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. My son who has been gluten-free since 1993 and my sister, diagnosed in 2005 have been my official tasters, along with others who don’t need to eat gluten-free.
In 1993, I founded one of the first gluten-free companies, Gluten-Free Pantry. Customers wrote constantly with questions and letters of gratitude. The frustration in their voices when they had to give up gluten pushed me to create more and more products and recipes to help them feel good about themselves and the diet. Knowing that I could make that kind of difference in people’s lives was amazingly gratifying. Food is so much more complex than just filling the belly. When someone is told they cannot have the foods they associate with a holiday or a favorite meal, it’s devastating.
After selling Gluten-Free Pantry in 2005, I created my new cookbook, Gluten-Free Makeovers. Once again, my goal was to help people reconnect with the foods that they had given up. The cookbook features more than 175 favorite recipes- from pierogi to croissants, from pizza to pot pies- that I have made over to be gluten free. In writing the cookbook, I asked people what they missed most when they became gluten-free and I made over as many as would fit in one book.
Secretly, however, my greatest satisfaction is being the first in line to sample these dishes. When the babka or pizza comes out of the oven, I’m right there. And that’s motivation enough to keep me writing and cooking!
The recipe here is one more way that I’ve improvised to make life easier and more delicious.
Eat Well – Be Well!
Blueberry Crunch Breakfast Cookies
Recipe by Beth Hillson
Makes 14 To 16
¾ cup sweet white sorghum flour
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca starch/flour
1⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon cold unsalted butter or buttery non-dairy spread, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
½ cup yogurt or soy or coconut yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
Milk or soy milk for brushing
Additional brown sugar for sprinkling (about 2 tablespoons)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the sorghum flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch/flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until the brown sugar is blended into the ingredients. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. In a separate bowl using a mixer, beat the eggs, yogurt and vanilla until light yellow and thick, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and beat about 1 minute. Fold in the blueberries and cereal.
4. Using a medium scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1 inch between each. Use a sheet of plastic wrap to gently press and smooth the scones into ½ -inch-thick disks. Brush with milk, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Serve warm.
NOTE: The cookies may be reheated. These freeze well.
About Beth Hillson
In 1993, Beth founded the Gluten-Free Pantry, one of the first gluten-free companies in the US. The company was sold in 2005 but Beth’s passion for creating delicious gluten-free foods continued and it was the inspiration for her cookbook, Gluten-Free Makeovers (Da Capo October 2011), and a blog of the same name www.glutenfreemakeovers.com
Beth wears many hats in the gluten-free community – – president of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, a volunteer advocacy group that works on celiac causes such as the FDA gluten-free labeling regulations; food editor of Living Without Magazine; and editor of a weekly e-newsletter for www.glutenfree.com.
Giveaway details: The giveaway for “Gluten-Free Makeovers” cookbook will be open from Monday, August 13 at 8 a.m. EST to Sunday, August 19 at midnight EST. We will select the winner randomly and announce it during our weekly #attune twitter chat on Wednesday at 9a PST / noon EST.