HER PROFESSORS at the Culinary Institute of America wondered aloud: Why would Elizabeth Barbone, born with severe food allergies, want to train as a professional chef, working with ingredients she couldn’t eat? To Elizabeth, the answer was obvious: so that she could create smart, satisfying and delicious recipes for herself and others facing such challenges.
Mission accomplished, I can say after sampling the result—especially a four-ingredient cookie of almond flour, maple syrup, baking powder and vanilla extract that took about 3 minutes to prep (recipe below, plus a recipe for homemade baking powder, since commercial brands generally contain grain, I learned).
I don’t have to follow a restricted diet, but the widening shelf of ingredients at the local food coop like almond and coconut flours (not to mention all the other-than-wheat grain flours, and ones from beans and such) has caught my attention. Out of curiosity, I went to a book signing and baking demonstration by Elizabeth at Hillsdale Home Chef, a nearby cooking store with classes, in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA) region.
Elizabeth was talking about her new book “World’s Easiest Paleo Baking”—meaning not just gluten-free (the subject of two previous cookbooks) but also grain-free, dairy-free and with no refined sugars.
I’m now officially fascinated, and going back February 6 for a full workshop on baking without gluten.
Meantime, I asked Elizabeth if I could share her recipe for those cookies—and bought an extra signed copy of the latest book to share. Besides cookies, cakes and pies, there is also a savory chapter, including things like focaccia, naan and tortillas, plus pizza dough and even pasta.
Again: fascinating. Which is why I also invited Elizabeth to tape a radio show soon together, so I can learn more. Details to come!
more about elizabeth barbone
- Elizabeth’s February class at Hillsdale (NY) Home Chef (details and tickets)
- Elizabeth’s website, GlutenFreeBaking, with more recipes
- Elizabeth Barbone’s gluten-free page on Facebook
- Buy Elizabeth’s new Paleo book (Amazon affiliate link)
world’s easiest cookies
(from Elizabeth Barbone’s “World’s Easiest Paleo Baking,” copyright Elizabeth Barbone)
active time: 5 minutes
bake time: 12 minutes per pan
yield: 16 cookies
- 170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free
- 100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.
Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer cookies, don’t press down the dough.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.
grain-free baking powder
MOST COMMERCIAL baking powders contain a grain-based starch. Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!
active time: 2 minutes
yield: about 6 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in a small bowl.
Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
enter to win the ‘paleo baking’ book
I BOUGHT AN EXTRA signed copy of Elizabeth Barbone’s new “World’s Easiest Paleo Baking” to share with one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is answer this question in the comments box at the very bottom of the page (scroll down, after the last reader comment).
What ingredients do you steer around, or heavy up on, in designing your home cuisine and own diet?
Me? I’m a vegetarian for about 40 years, eating a couple of eggs each week and a little dairy, mostly from goat milk. My primary interest is in whole food, and knowing the source of all my ingredients. In my 20s I practiced macrobiotics for more than five years, which stresses two ideas that are in vogue today: eating local, and in season.
No answer, or feeling shy? Just say something like, “Count me in” and I will, but a reply is even better. I’ll pick a winner at random after entries close at midnight Thursday, January 28, 2016. Good luck to all.