Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Gallimaufry of Gluten Free Product Reviews

Here at the Crispy Cook we've been test driving some new gluten-free products and perusing some new gluten-free cookbooks and here are the verdicts:

1) Outer Spice

There are some new low- and no-salt seasoning blends on the market, which are also gluten-free and MSG-free. The Austin, Texas based Outer Spice company recently sent me a jar of the original Outer Spice No Salt blend to try.

It is an aromatic blend of garlic and black pepper (nice heat and kick there!) with other herbs and spices which I used in a variety of ways: topping grilled steelhead trout, as the seasoning base for a vinaigrette, spicing up buttered noodles and omelets, and as a general spice to have on hand at the dinner table. Outer Spice tasted very fresh and if one is on a salt-restricted diet, this would be a great seasoning to have on hand to zip up all kinds of meals.

Outer Spice sells for $6.99 for a 3.75 oz. jar and can be found at Whole Foods stores or online at the Outer Spice store.

2) Cooking Light Gluten Free Baking by Robert Landolphini (NY: Oxmoor House, 2014).

The publisher sent me a review copy of this new Gluten Free baking cookbook and I found it to be a real keeper. Landolphini really knows his subject inside and out: he's a culinary professional AND his wife and two of his children have celiac disease, so he knows the gluten-free diet.

Even though I own and have reviewed dozens of gluten-free cookbooks, I found the kitchen basics chapters informative and gleaned some new information. There are great photos of the rainbow of gluten-free flours, leavening agents, gums, dairy substitutes, sweeteners, oils and other GF baking ingredients and discussions of the merits and drawbacks of each for various kinds of baked goods. His recipes are for family favorites as well as more exotic fare, and are geared for the home cook of average ability. One does not need to be a baking expert to whip any of them up (see paragraph below) and there are plenty of color photos to provide guidance.

This cookbook gets a rave Crispy Cook review for its awesome Snickerdoodle recipe. We love these chewy, cinnamon-kissed cookies and this recipe is the best we've tried. I thought the author was being a bit diet-conscious when I read that the recipe made 16 cookies and one cookie would suffice as one serving. Who eats just one cookie? But this recipe produces cookies of impressive diameter, not little button cookies, so be prepared to indulge. The turbinado sugar coating adds excellent crunch. I have penciled a note in my copy of this recipe to place the unbaked cookies on two baking trays next time, as they really spread out during the baking time.

The publisher graciously agreed to let me share the Snickerdoodle recipe with you, so here it is:

Snickerdoodles ( Cooking Light Gluten-Free Baking page 113)

Hands-on time: 8 min. Total time: 36 min.


4.2 ounces garbanzo bean flour (about 1 cup)

1.3 ounces potato starch (about 1⁄4 cup)

1-teaspoon baking soda

3⁄4 teaspoon xantham gum

1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar

1⁄4 cup granulated sugar

1-tablespoon corn syrup

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1-teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour and potato starch into dry measuring cups;

level with a knife. Combine flour, potato starch and next 4 ingredients

(through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

3. Place butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat

with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add corny syrup, vanilla, and

egg yolks beating at low speed. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed until


4. Combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Shape dough

with moist hands into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place 2

inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; flatten cookies

with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges

of cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on pan. Serves 16 (serving

size: 1 cookie)

Okay, back to some other gluten-free products:

3) Redpack Tomatoes

I've shared my favorable views about Redpack canned tomatoes before and when they asked if I would like to share information about the Toss in the Flavor promotion, I had no trouble agreeing. Their tomato products always have a nice fresh flavor and I use the petite diced tomatoes a lot in my marinara sauces, pasta salads and stews.

The Toss in the Flavor Sweepstakes invites readers to check out some new summer salad recipes (Peach Chipotle Salad sounds amazing) and visit the Redpack Facebook page to register to win free tote bags and a Grand Prize of a Gourmet Picnic Gift Basket worth $350.

4) Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Pops

I received a coupon for a free box of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Pops. I found all five of the Yasso flavors available in the freezer case at Price Chopper: Peanut Butter Cup, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, and most tempting of all, Sea Salt Caramel. They were delectable and creamy, but I did find them expensive. There are four pops to a box which retails for $5.49, so that makes them on the luxury end of the frozen treat spectrum in my book. 

The Sea Salt Caramel Pops disappeared in a jiffy, and since I do approve of tasty things with all-natural ingredients, I went back and plunked down some of my own Crispy Cash to buy a pack of the Dark Chocolate Raspberry pops. Also decadently good.

***I received complimentary product samples and a review copy of Landolphini's book, but as always, I was not obligated to post a review of any of these items and my comments and opinions are completely my own.

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