Book Club Tuesday: Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMore than any other cookbook this year, Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple: A New Way to Bake Gluten-Free is the book I’ve gotten the most DMs about — mostly, people are requesting a review. I know what the concern is: is the gluten-free baking in Aran Goyoaga‘s book good? Being a vegetarian, I can understand what people who eat gluten-free go through because as a vegetarian, the way I eat is seen as lacking. But just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean I’m missing out. And there are the people, who I inwardly roll my eyes at when they claim: “Nothing could be as tasty as [insert meat dish here]!”, which I’m sure people who eat gluten-free hear when people chime in: “Oh, but I couldn’t give up bread!! It’s so good!” I think that nowadays no diet should be seen as “less” or “lacking.” Can’t a good meal, just be a good meal or great bread be great bread without any provisos or caveats?

Which is why I’m excited about Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple — a baking book full of absolutely delicious recipes. No provisos, caveats, or disclaimers. But, for those people whom baking gluten-free is a necessity, this book is 100% for them. One of the other questions — aside from review requests — were concerning what a gluten-free pantry might look like. In this case, I found that I already had many of the items in my cupboard — buckwheat flour, nut flours, rice flour, oat flour, sweet rice flour, flaxseed meal, and the starches (potato, tapioca, and corn), leaving the only things to buy sorghum flour, psyllium husk powder, and xanthan gum. While Goyoaga says that if being gluten-free isn’t a concern, then AP wheat flour can be used in place of the gluten-free flours and starches (she gives direction for doing this at the beginning of the book in the How to Use This Book section). Since people want to know specifically if the gluten-free baking is good in this book, I made all the recipes I tried exactly as written with no deviation or substitution. Also, most of the recipes can be made using non-dairy ingredients or egg replacers as well (since I can tolerate eating eggs and dairy, I used butter, milk, and eggs).

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Jam-Filled Scones, p. 194

The recipes are organized into 6 chapters: 1) Staples, 2) The Smell of Baking Bread, 3) For the Love of Cake, 4) The Flakiest Tarts, Pies, and Biscuits, 5) Crispy, Chewy, and Crunchy: The Cookies, and 6) Holiday Baking. With such a range of different bakes to choose from, one recipe I didn’t attempt was making the gluten-free sourdough. Years ago (long before the pandemic made nurturing a starter a thing), I tried making sourdough and decided it wasn’t for me (it also helped that a local bakery here in Halifax makes a killer sourdough loaf!). So, while I do try a bread recipe from the book, it’s not a sourdough one. So far I’ve made almost a half dozen recipes and shared them with my family and friends and not once has someone said: “Hey! This tastes different!” or “The texture is odd — must be gluten-free!” The bakes have been gloriously satisfying and it’s here where I emphasize the fact that Goyoaga’s baking doesn’t need any labels because it’s just great baking. Nothing lacking here!

One of my favourite bakes of the book so far has been the recipe for Chocolate-Tahini Buckwheat Marble Cake which is baked in a Bundt pan. I baked this cake for my friend’s birthday and from all reports, she and her family loved it! While Goyoaga offers an optional Chocolate Glaze, I chose to use a dusting of cocoa powder and icing sugar as a simple way to finish the cake. It unmolded easily from the pan and looked spectacular! The flours used in the cake are almond flour and light buckwheat flour, which in combination give such a beautiful crumb.

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Chocolate-Tahini Buckwheat Marble Cake, p. 119

While I adore baking for the big occasions, it seems that baking for afternoon/after-school enjoyment is what I do most often. As requested by my daughter, I baked her the recipe for Date-Sweetened Banana Bread w/ Chocolate and Pecans. Here, the bread is refined sugar-free relying instead on the dates, maple syrup, and ripe bananas for sweetness. Baking with dates not only gives the cake sweetness but it also gives a lovely rich moisture to the cake as well. My husband liked it well enough, with his suggestion to use “way more” chocolate the next time (for this fellow, there’s never enough chocolate to satisfy him — in fact, when his friend mentioned he was baking blueberry muffins, my husband responded: “You know how you could make those muffins better? By taking out the blueberries and adding chocolate chips.”) Another excellent after-school bake were the Gingery Oat, Sunflower, and Coconut Cookies. A beautifully chewy cookie, I love the way they smelled as it baked when the sunflower seeds toasted.

The big question is the bread — because, maybe you’re thinking: “How could bread without gluten be any good?” Well, when I baked up her recipe for the Oat Milk and Honey Bread, my family and I enjoyed as we always do — with a swipe of butter and a good dollop of jam. Such a wonderful bread and it has such a great crispy and golden crust from baking nestled in a Dutch oven in the hot oven. We almost ate the entire loaf in one go and I think this is another example of a recipe transcending any label — it is what I said earlier: good bread is just good bread.

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Gingery Oat, Sunflower, and Coconut Cookies, p. 243

After listening to Goyoaga talk in online discussions about her process and how she develops recipes, I know that perfecting her recipes through rigorous testing is how her baking turns out so well. She strives for giving the home baker an experience where they’ll bake something tremendously good and enjoy doing it. And it was after trying a few of her baking recipes from her previous book, Cannelle et Vanille (I highly recommend trying the Buckwheat Sweet Yeast Bread and the Roasted Squash Brown Butter Cake — read review here) that I couldn’t wait for this book which was more focused on baking. If you’re in need of a baking book focused on gluten-free recipes or you are yearning to bake some delicious breads and treats, then Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple is a useful, well-styled, and beautifully photographed book to add to your collection!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Penguin Random House Canada and Sasquatch Books for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

2 thoughts on “Book Club Tuesday: Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple

  1. Quick (I hope) question from someone who doesn’t have an extensive gluten-free pantry (no one in our family needs it) but who thinks the recipes in this book look amazing: does Aran Goyoaga say she also tests the recipes with just regular AP flour? Or is it like, well, that will probably work, but she hasn’t tried it out? Thanks so much!

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