MMMmonday - Simple Treats Cookbook Review, a Recipe and Linky!

As many of you know, Liam is on a gluten-free diet for his autism, and we've seen good results and a correlation between removing the gluten and a decrease in his stimming behaviours, so we continue with the discipline... the hardest thing to keep a child away from is sweets, so when I found out about a cookbook called Simple Treats: A Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Guide to Scrumptious Baked Goods by Ellen Abraham, I was truly excited!

Simple Treats: A Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Guide to Scrumptious Baked GoodsAs I waited for the book to arrive, I wondered how the author would balance the flours and replace the gluten to get the 'scrumptious' baked goods.  I found out quickly when I scanned the book - in this case wheat-free doesn't mean gluten free... Ms. Abraham has found out that the secret to baking without wheat is to find another grain with gluten in it... in this case, barley.

Barley is a wonderful old grain, which is invaluable to people who are allergic to wheat, but not gluten-free...

Still, the idea of baking wheat and dairy-free gave me hope to tweak the recipes to make them gluten free... so I set out to experiment...

So far, I've had good experience with building on a few of her recipes and Liam has been a super willing guinea pig ;) The book is divided into sections - Muffins and Breads, Cookies, Cakes and Cremes, Frostings and Glazes.  If you are looking for fabulous vegan alternatives to baking, you will definitely be happy with this book - as will anyone who has a straight 'wheat' allergy.  The recipes are also simple to tweak if you are looking to bump the recipe into the gluten free zone - with the addition of either a mixed purpose gf flour or a blend of rice flour and tapioca with xantham gum.

One of the best recipes that I've found is the Baked Apple-Cranberry Crisp because it combines all of the yummy-ness of Fall with the fruit that I battle to keep in his diet, so the recipe from the book is in black with my changes in blue:

Baked Apple-Cranberry Crisp
This simple dessert is warming and delicious- and an amazing way to use up fruit that might be a little past its prime.  Everyone always thinks you've worked so hard on this dessert when you present them with this scrumptious bubbling confection. 
1/4 cup barley flour  (I used the King Arthur Gluten Free multi purpose flour)
1/2 cup maple sugar, Sucanant or date sugar (I used light brown sugar)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons canola, safflower or sunflower oil

4 cups sliced, peeled apples (about 5 apples)
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup maple sugar, Sucanat or date sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Dash each of grated nutmeg, ground allspice and salt
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons arrowroot

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.  Oil a t2 quart baking dish or casserole and set aside.
  2. To make the topping, sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a small bowl; add walnuts and oats.  Mix with a knife or a fork to combine the ingredients well.  Drizzle in the oil while stirring with a knife; stir until all of the oil is mixed in and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. To make the filling, combine the apples, cranberries, juice, sugar, spices and arrowroot and toss until everything is well coated.  Spread the apple  mixture in the prepared dish and cover with the topping.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F.  Bake 25 minutes more, until the topping is browned, the filling is bubbly and the apples are soft.
* For a change of taste, try substituting raisins for the cranberries and/or pears for the apples.

I would totally recommend picking up Simple Treats: A Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Guide to Scrumptious Baked Goods if you are looking to bake yummy vegan desserts!

Now for the linky - please share your favorite recipes here:  This is a monthly linky so please keep adding  yummy new treats and feel free to click on the ones that interest you most!