Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ginger Wafer Thins from Cara Reed's Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking

"Hey Liv... I'm making cookies today from the cookbook I got in the mail a few weeks ago.  So I'll have some when I pick you and Taylor up from dance and you guys can be my taste testers, OK?"

"Sure!!  Oh wait... is that the gluten-free book you got?"


"Oh... never mind then.  I don't like gluten-free stuff."

So went our conversation this morning, and apparently my daughter thinks she doesn't like gluten-free goods.  Funny, because she's been eating some pretty darn spectacular treats all week, and... they've all been gluten-free recipes from Cara Reed's new book, Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking.  And... she liked them so much she's even been asking for extras so she can share with friends.

Our mail day Instagram!
Today I made Cara's spicy Ginger Wafer Thins (gluten-free AND vegan) and brought Liv what I had left over after performing my own taste test (which may or may not have had less than half the batch remaining...).

She and her girlfriend, hungry after 5 hours of dance rehearsals, gushed as they finished the rest of the gingery crisps, and her face was positively priceless when I told her the cookies were gluten-free.  Her comment of, "Well... I guess I do like gluten-free stuff!" made us all laugh.

While our family isn't particular to gf, I do tend to stick to vegan foods as I can guarantee a dairy-free meal or treat for my severely lactose intolerant son.  Cara Reed's beautiful new book opened our world even further with some 180+ pages of incredible baked goods my whole family can enjoy.

From cookies to scones to cupcakes and even donuts, every recipe we tried met or exceeded the "awesomeness" expectation we had after reading the descriptions that introduced them.  Cara has taken all the guess work out of swapping ingredients to remove gluten, milk and eggs from recipes, and her recipes work.  And she doesn't use "weird" ingredients that are meant as substitutes, just real ingredients using the right techniques.  Once you put together one of her Gluten-Free Baking blends (I did need to buy ingredients I don't usually have on hand for those), you're good to go.

If you are switching to gluten-free or vegan goods, you will definitely have predisposed ideas of what you are looking for in a cookie or cupcake, and I have to admit many times I'm disappointed with the finished products I find in stores or bake myself.  Not so with Cara's recipes.  She's done the research and testing for you, and you can count on consistently fabulous results from her recipes.

With a chapter on Childhood Favorites, Cara brings special treats like Girl Scout's Thin Mints to everyone's plate, and now no one needs to go without due to an intolerance or allergy.  We haven't tried the Strawberry Frosted "Pop-Tarts" or Hot Cocoa Snickerdoodles yet, but they're next up on our list and I'll definitely keep you posted.

Cara... thank you for bringing baked treats back into our house that my whole family can enjoy.  Your book is a treat to read with its gorgeous photos and your recipe descriptions make me feel like we're old friends simply chatting about what we're going to make.  The book is already splattered with batter and has pages turned down for future dates, definitely signs of a new favorite.  Thank you!

Ginger Wafer Thins
Crispy and positively bursting with the flavors of fall, Cara describes these Wafer Thins as reminiscent of those "little thin cookies you find in the market area of IKEA".  I didn't bake mine quite long enough the first time, but ala-biscotti technique, a quick return to the oven crisped them right up.
Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets, by Cara Reed, page 44
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1 1/4 cups Cara's All-Purpose Blend (see below)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch ground cloves
3 Tbs pure maple syrup
2 Tbs non-hyrogenated shortening (we used Earth Balance)
2 Tbs molasses

1 Tbs nondairy milk (we used Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Ready for the oven
Whisk the dry ingredients (baking blend through pinch of cloves) together in a medium bowl.  Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and mix everything together wtih a fork in a medium bowl until dough begins to form.  It might be a bit crumbly; simply place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and gently knead until a smooth ball is formed.  If it is still crumbly, add nondairy milk a teaspoon at a time until completely smooth.

Roll between 2 pieces of parchment until 1/8 inch/3mm thick.  Cut into circles (we did squares) with a 2-inch/5-cm cookie cutter.  If the dough is too sticky, place in the freezer for 5-7 minutes until it firms up enough to work with.  Lightly coat tops of cookies with coarse sugar.  Transfer cookies to the baking sheat using a metal spatula.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to fully cool.

Cara's GF All-Purpose Blend
"This is the all-purpose blend I use for practically everything.  it is perfect for substituting regular flour on a one-to-one basis."

3 cups/480 g superfine brown rice flour
3 cups/538 g superfine sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups/288 g potato starch (not flour)
1 1/2 cups/288 g arrowroot powder

With a spoon, scoop the flours into a measuring cup.  level with a knife and throw everything into a gallon-sized plastic baggie, seal tightly and shake vigorously until well combined.  Keep stored in an airtight container.

Liv Life Note:  I pulled my cookies from the oven before they had crisped all the way.  As I like really, really crisp cookies, I simply put them back in the oven for a few minutes (keep a close eye as they will burn quickly) to crisp them to my liking.

Find more gluten, egg and dairy free recipes from Cara on her blog, Fork and Beans and her facebook page.


  1. These look fantastic Kim. I would have probably had the same reaction as Liv - how fun to discover such a wonderful gf cookie.

    1. It was funny Chris!! Today we made another gluten free cookie and amazing she loves those too!!

  2. My brother has Crohn's disease and started eating gluten free. I'll have to try these and share them with him!

  3. Wow, you made the Ginger Wafer Thins! They look great! This cookbook has so many really good recipes in it. Cara's all purpose blend is indispensable.

  4. This sounds like a wonderful cookbook, your ginger thins look wonderful.

  5. I don't *have* to do gf, so I usually don't, but I love having some tried and true recipes and cookbooks in my arsenal for times when I need them. I love the sound of these wafers (mmmm...ginger...), and the book sounds like one I need to check out!

  6. My youngest is gluten-free. I love finding recipes and products that do taste good, for a long time so many didn't.

  7. This could totally convince me to change my mind about GF food too. They look freaking amazing.

  8. Those cookies look like absolute perfection! Count me in, please!

  9. Looks like a great book and gorgeous food photography. I'd like to get that in my hands. These thins look amazing!

  10. Wow - I need to take a peek at this book :) I have family and friends that have GF and Lactose issues so this will be definitely needed!

  11. I love the idea of adding ginger to a wafer cookie like this!

  12. These would be a with a cup of tea!

  13. These look incredibly crispy. Great with a cup of coffee of tea!

  14. Yum! These cookies look perfect :)

  15. mmm, my brother's G/F need to eat gluten free so I'll have to make these for her!


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