Baking expert offers gluten-free, sugar-free recipes

aweigl@newsobserver.comNovember 14, 2012 

  • Want to attend the class? Peter Reinhart will teach a class at 1 p.m. Saturday at Southern Season’s cooking school in Chapel Hill. The menu includes seriously chocolate pecan almond cookies, everyday toasting bread, chocolate-glazed biscotti, double-cheese focaccia with tomato sauce, sweet pecan bread and blueberry pancakes. It costs $55. To see if there is any space left in the class, call 919-929-7133. To see a complete list of upcoming classes, go to
  • Pecan Sandies From “The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking,” by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace (Ten Speed Press, 2012). 1 cup pecan flour 1 cup almond flour 1 cup Splenda or Stevia Extract in the Raw, or 1/2 cup New Roots Stevia Sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup pecans, chopped 1 egg 3/4 cup salted butter or margarine, melted 1 tablespoon vanilla extract POSITION two oven racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats, then lightly mist the surfaces with spray oil. COMBINE pecan flour, almond flour, sweetener, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined. Stir in pecans. Whisk egg, butter and vanilla together in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Add flour mixture and stir with a large spoon for 1 to 2 minute to make a thick, sticky batter. DROP dough onto prepared pans, using about 1 heaping tablespoon per cookie and spacing them 3 inches apart. Bake for 9 minutes, then rotate the pans and switch racks and bake about 9 more minutes, until the cookies are golden brown and firm to the touch. TRANSFER cookies immediately to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 24 cookies

Award-winning baking author Peter Reinhart, lover of breads, pizzas and doughy treats, has tackled an unlikely topic: gluten-free baking.

Not only are the cakes, cookies and rolls in his new book made without wheat flour, they are also made without sugar. That’s due to Reinhart’s co-author, Denene Wallace, who is not only gluten intolerant but has Type 2 diabetes.

Their book, “The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking,” is selling so well that the publisher, Ten Speed Press, ordered a second printing, which will bring the total number of books printed to 30,000.

That shouldn’t be surprising because the market for gluten-free foods and beverages is booming. It grew to $4.2 billion this year and has increased 28 percent since 2008, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm.

Reinhart, award-winning author of “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” and other cookbooks and an instructor at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, is teaching a class inspired by the new book Saturday at Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Limited tickets were available earlier this week.

In an interview, Reinhart explained what made him decide to tackle gluten-free baking: the taste of his co-author Wallace’s muffins and biscotti made without wheat flour and sugar. “I was blown away by the flavors,” Reinhart said.

A common complaint about gluten-free baked goods is that they quickly go stale. Most recipes call for starch flours, such as rice, potato and tapioca. Reinhart said their recipes use seed and nut flours, which do not stale so quickly. Plus, nut flours turn out to be better for diabetics because they don’t spike blood sugar like starch flours do.

For diabetics, Reinhart said the recipes replace sugar with Splenda or stevia, two widely available sugar substitutes.

Reinhart said the book was aiming for – and has found – a broader audience than those with gluten intolerance or diabetes.

“We wanted to create products that people will eat even if they don’t have sensitivities,” Reinhart said. “We’re finding that it’s working.”

To see a printable version of the recipe, click on link below:

Pecan Sandies

Weigl: 919-829-4848

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