Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cookbook Review: Babycakes

BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery

Babycakes is a well-known NYC bakery which offers gluten-free, soy-free, vegan baked goods. I have never been there myself, but people just rave about it. I recently spent a week with my cousin who made a different babycakes recipe each day, and upon my return home, I ran out to get the cookbook.

Warning! Not all of the recipes are gluten-free. Several call for Spelt Flour which is easier to digest than wheat flour, and therefore may be o.k. for some people, but shouldn't be eaten if you are on a strict diet. Some recipes also call for soy due to product availability, but substitutions can be made.

I love this cookbook! It does have its faults, but when a recipe comes out, it is amazing. If regular baking is Chemistry, then Babycakes is AP Chemistry, so be sure to avoid substitutions as much as possible, measure with painstaking accuracy, and follow the directions exactly as they are written. Some factors can't be helped, like the difference in oven temperatures, or the quality of different brands of ingredients.

Several of my recipes didn't come out well on my first attempt, but I was able to identify the problem pretty easily, and my second batch came out great. The only thing is, it's an expensive lesson to learn. The ingredients are pricey!

My favorite recipe is the Brownies, my cousin's is the Blondies. I also really enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies. I haven't perfected the frosting yet, which is frustrating, but is apparently the most difficult recipe in the book. If I can achieve frosting, I can do anything!

The author has compiled a FAQ on her website, and will answer questions via the cookbook's Twitter if you are in need of help:

Have you tried Babycakes? What was your experience?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Star Wars Bento

A few weeks ago I splurged on a Star Wars cupcake decorating kit from William Sonoma. I'm a huge Star Wars geek, and would love to buy everything they have, like the awesome cookie cutters, and the apron, but they are really expensive IMO.

Today's bento is pretty simple. A nice salad and a star-shaped, triple layered, peanut butter and nutella sandwich on gluten free bread (in a Star Wars cupcake liner).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bento Product Review: Justin's Nut Butter

Look at these fantastic little nut butter packets! Aren't they perfect for bento lunches, or snacks on-the-go? I particularly liked the selection. As you can see in the photo, there are several nut butters and several flavors.

Because I couldn't wait to try them, I didn't pack a fancy bento lunch. As I type I'm eating some Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter on Udi's Gluten Free bread. One packet, at 170 calories, is perfect for two slices of bread. The ingredient list is impressive, being mostly organic and sweetened with evaporated cane juice. There is a perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter, with neither flavor overwhelming the other. Yum.

So, big thumbs up for Justin's nut butter products. I still have traditional and honey peanut butter to try, so I will update you if my opinion changes (but I doubt it will). I regret not buying more (I don't live near the store I found them in), but it's o.k., because I found them on Amazon:

Justin's on Amazon

You can check out the company profile on their website:

and visit them on Facebook