Nicole Hunn of the Gluten Free on a Shoestring series has a theory. If it can be made with gluten, it can be made without. As a fellow mom of a child who cannot eat gluten, I share her passion. No one wants to see her child missing out, especially when all of the other kids are indulging. Hunn’s first few books focused on covering the basics… how to make breads, muffins, rolls, dinners, and desserts. Having filled our homes with all of the foods necessary to live our daily lives, Gluten Free Classic Snacks (GFCS) moves on to all of the brand name foods off limits to the gluten free crowd. If you miss Entenmann’s donuts, Hostess Twinkies, or your favorite Girl Scout Cookie, look no further. With time and patience, you can make everything you’ve been missing and some things you’ve never even dreamed of eating.
When I got my hands on GFCS, I was both excited and overwhelmed. Excited at all of the possibilities within, but overwhelmed at the thought of trying to recreate foods just so. My younger daughter, who loves to bake like I do, grabbed the cookbook and we agreed upon Archway Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal cookies. The recipe looked pretty simple, so we gathered our ingredients and jumped in. Within about a half an hour, we were munching on cookies that were really delicious.
The recipes in GFCS are quite detailed, clearly laying out what and how to recreate each treat. Kitchen confidence is a must, as recipes require many steps that are not necessarily difficult, but time-consuming. Some special equipment is required, such as pans to recreate certain shaped treats, although there are instructions on how to do without. Individuals with multiple food allergies, beware. Many recipes call for butter and/or dairy in some form, and a good deal use nuts, with warnings that substitutions may not yield proper results. You can stick to recipes that are safe for your family, but may be disappointed by how many are off-limits if dairy in particular is a food that you avoid. Finally, while a book with “Snacks” in the title is not likely to be a low-cal cookbook, it’s safe to say that this book is a go-to for junk food. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, it’s a gift to find a compilation of recipes that can safely recreate most anything gluten-filled that your family may desire. On the other hand, I can’t see anything good coming out of my making a pan of Twix bars, for example. So while the recipes and photos look amazing, I found myself afraid to try the recipes, as then we’d have to, well, eat them. Obviously. Do I want us eating a pan of candy bars or donuts? No. These treats are best made to be shared with friends, or hidden in the deep freezer (if you have that kind of self-control)!