Oh what a lovely surprise! This gorgeous cookbook – Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich is such a gift in so many ways. The cookbook offers stunning detailed insight on using a variety flours as “hero ingredients” for flavor rather than just adding it as substitutions for wheat. There are over 125 purely decadent recipes that will expand your palate and your mind. Alice uses whole, ancient grains and nut flours that just happen to be Gluten-Free.
Regardless if you have read one or all of Alice Medrich’s cookbooks you know how brilliant she is with incorporating just a few ingredients that create a masterful mouthful of pure delight. Medrich started experimenting with non-wheat flours with her cookbook Pure Desserts and discovered that replacing a portion of the wheat for a new or different, Gluten-Free flour. Much to her surprise the recipes turned out more flavorful, delicate and decadent. So in Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunch Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies, the ultimate cookie lovers cookbook, she worked on a few more recipes with the new flavor flours and treated them as “hero ingredients” without wheat.
So after years of testing one recipe after another it is time for all of us to celebrate the flavor and hero ingredients that Medrich calls “Flavor Flours”. I absolutely appreciate the organization and layout of Flavor Flours which includes 8 sections with fine points about each – Rice, Oat, Corn and Cornmeal, Buckwheat, Chestnut, Teff, Sorghum, Nut and Coconut flours. Each section includes recipes that shine the light on the specific hero ingredient. In addition, the final elements section provides a wealth of knowledge on how to customize or accompany any recipe. This includes tips and tricks for bakers of all experiences. The range of recipes is all that you dream of and now you will never miss. Just imagine Chocolate Génoise, Nutmeg Shortbread, Chestnut Jam Tart, Seed Crackers, Boston Cream Pie, Apricot Walnut Rugelach and Maya’s Chocolate Fudge Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting or Dark Chocolate Soufflés! Plus so many more, did I mention that Flavor Flours cookbook includes 368 pages?! Practically every page is filled with the most tantalizing photography that make you want to dive into your kitchen, bake and indulge.
A few years ago when I met Alice and had a brief discussion about Gluten-Free flours, I couldn’t help but be giddy to think that Alice Medrich, a James Beard Award winning author, was interested in baking with flours that happen to be Gluten-Free. I love this cookbook so much it will be the center of my coffee table and may never get to rest on a shelf. This cookbook is so perfectly exquisite that it makes a lovely gift for everyone. I think it is wonderful for any baker to expand their flour horizons and learn about the plethora of flours available to us. This lovely cookbook only needs a big red bow to give as a gift.
I dove in and just had to make one of Alice’s famous cookies. I absolutely love love love coconut and her Crispy Coconut Wafers on page 324 just had to be made as quickly as possible. Luckily I had my Gluten-Free pantry filled with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free ingredients and my favorite If You Care parchment paper sheets. These crispy cookies are sweet, delicate and incredibly easy to make. You will have to get the book to get the recipe but I assure you it is a must. I know I plan on making all of the recipes in Flavor Flours and Coconut Marjolaine, on page 312 will be the belle of the holiday season in my home.
P.S. I would like to thank Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing for sending me a review copy of Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich. This by no means influences my opinion of this cookbook. I have been a big fan of Alice Medrich since I was a little girl watching her on PBS – Baking with Julia Child and my home is filled with her cookbooks. I will forever be an enthusiast of Alice Medrich.