Friday Finds: Sweet Freedom Baking Book Review & A Giveaway

by Maggie on September 24, 2010

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It’s my party and I’m celebrating with a review and a giveaway!

I am so happy and so astonished that it’s already my one-year blogging anniversary.

I am very thankful for everything this blog has brought to my life in the past year.  When I began blogging I had no idea what direction this blog would take.  Want proof?  Check out my first blog post here!

It was Pete who pushed me to start a blog.  He’s always been my number one fan – maybe it’s because I’ve totally spoiled him and made sure that a gluten-free diet means only one thing to him: yummy.  Actually if you asked him, he’d definitely say that he’s never eaten better.

I am so thankful, firstly to my friends and family.  I appreciate your blog comments, your emails telling me that you passed my blog onto a friend, and your curiosity about the blogging world I live in. I especially love that you’ve tried my recipes.  It means so much to me.

I am also thankful for all of my blogger friends.  I can’t believe how quickly we’ve all become friends. I don’t know what I’d do without your guidance, your support, your virtual laughter, and of course your blog comments. All of you make me feel like I’m doing something outside of raising two beautiful babes.  You feel like my colleagues who help keep me sane.

Lastly, I must thank my loyal and faithful readers.  YAY!  I have readers.  I am so honoured that you follow me, read my posts, try my recipes, ask me questions, and leave me comments.  You help to give this blog purpose, focus and direction. So keep leaving me comments and I will keep blogging.

Ricki Heller’s Sweet Freedom

To celebrate this big anniversary (it’s a relief to get the first one under my belt) I’m teaming up with Ricki Heller, the awesome blogger behind Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.

Ricki is also the author of the baking book Sweet Freedom. I bought my copy about 5 months ago and just got a chance to play with it recently. It’s been fun! Sweet Freedom contains recipes that are wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and refined sugar-free.

Some of the recipes in this cookbook are not gluten-free but each time I came across a recipe with spelt flour I simply substituted with my gluten-free mix and everything tasted delicious.

Ricki’s book includes a chapter titled Ingredients and Other Baking Notes. It is so helpful, not just for baking with her recipes, but for adapting some of your own. I love a cookbook that I can read from cover to cover. Ricki’s is perfect for this because she offers so much information on each and every page. It’s just the perfect amount.

My favourite part was the section on egg replacers. I miss the simplicity of baking with eggs. When I read a recipe that has 4 eggs I become envious. Ricki’s section offers great tidbits about what ingredients you can use to replace eggs, and how much of each ingredient to use. Fantastic!

The Recipes

The first recipe I made was the Ultra Fudgy Brownies.  I used these to make dairy-free Vanilla Brownie ice cream.  Oh my goodness, these were delightful.  I saved a few in the freezer and they were such a good treat after a long morning day.  Right out of the freezer!

The next recipe I made were Ricki’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudgies.  Pete immediately said, “Hey, these taste like Fudgeeos.  That’s a pretty darn good compliment considering these are MUCH healthier!  These little treats go well paired with a cold glass of unsweetened almond milk.  I saved and froze half of the batch for later.  Later turned into about 3 days. We just couldn’t resist.  I even ate a couple of them right out of the freezer (are we seeing a pattern here?)  I did find them a little dry, so next time I would reduce the amount of gluten-free flour mix that I used.

The last recipe I made was Ricki’s AMAZING butter tarts, aptly titled Butter Tarts, Glorious and Free (of Eggs and Dairy).  Oh dear Unrefined Sugar Goddess.  Thank you for blessing us with Ricki Heller.  They are amazing.  Gooey, sweet, and flaky all in one bite.  I modified Ricki’s pastry recipe and it turned out perfectly as a gluten-free tart crust.  I see an apple pie in my future!  My Mom is a butter tart lover (and maker) and she practically drooled over the phone when she called to rave about the gooey, buttery, slightly sweet tarts I sent over for them to test (my Dad, bless him, will eat anything baked in an oven).  Okay, I could go on and on about Ricki’s butter tarts but I must wrap things up!

There are many recipes that I still want to try.  One that I will be trying as soon as possible is the Dark and Decadent Chocolate Pate.  Pete and I went to Toronto for our anniversary this summer and we had a vegan chocolate pate that was TO DIE FOR.  This is why I MUST. MAKE. RICKI’S. PATE.

As you can see, I loved the recipes I chose from Sweet Freedom.  I found the recipes were easy to modify, the instructions were clear and helpful, and it’s a great cover-to-cover read.  Mine’s already loaded with highlighting and notes.

The Giveaway

Ricki is generously donating one copy of Sweet Freedom to one of my lovely readers.  I am going to donate a copy as well so TWO of you have the chance to win.

Here’s how to enter my Sweet Freedom giveaway:

1.    Tweet about it and include the hashtag #MaggieAnniversary so I see your entry.
2.    Leave me a comment telling me what you’d like to see more of on my blog.
3.    Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know that you did.

Contest closes Thursday, September 30th, 2010 at 12am EST .

Just so you know: I bought a copy of Sweet Freedom and was under no obligation to do a review of the book.  I just had to share it with all of you lovelies.

Want to read more about Ricki?
Read Amy’s review of Ricki’s new e-book Desserts Without Compromise at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Read Kim’s review of Sweet Freedom at Cook It Allergy Free.

And of course you can check out Ricki’s blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs where you’ll definitely get to know Ricki and her two cute pups!