Six Degrees of Iris and Brittany: Breakfast Carrot Cake, Giveaway, and Interview with The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guides’ Authors!

[This post is part of an ongoing series of interviews with cookbook authors, bloggers, women entrepreneurs and home chefs whose work I enjoy and admire. If you've got someone in mind you'd like me to approach for an interview, please shoot me an email at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom, or leave a comment here and let me know! And now, enjoy today's installment!]

[Moist, light and delicious Breakfast Carrot Cake from The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide, Part I].

Today I’m thrilled to share my interview with Iris Higgins, who blogs at The Daily Dietribe, and Brittany Angell, who blogs at Real Sustenance. Both women blog gluten-free (with many vegan recipes), use whole foods ingredients, and  create delicious, health-enhancing foods within their own dietary restrictions.

I’m also sharing their recipe for Breakfast Carrot Cake AND giving away a copy of their Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide, Part I–skip to the end of the interview for details!

[Brittany Angell on the left; Iris Higgins on the right.]

They also share their personal journeys as they navigate health issues and learning to eat–and cook–in a new way. As Iris says on her blog, “The Daily Dietribe was born out of a realization that I had more to share than I knew. I write about my gluten-free journey, and about the ups and downs of living this lifestyle. But I also write about life in all its strange and awkward experiences, food related or not. ”  These days, Iris practices as a women’s wellness coach and hypnotherapist, and is studying for a Master’s in nutrition.

In Brittany’s case, a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease, compounded by various food allergies, led her to seek out and create recipes that are free of major allergens, with the ultimate goal “to connect, engage and understand the needs of others and to guide them through their journey to health through education, support and recipe development.”  And, I would add, a magical ability to create incredible, mouth-watering desserts that almost everyone can enjoy!

This power team co-wrote The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guides, Part I and Part II. Why two books? Well, once  they began to write the books, Iris and Brittany quickly realized that there was much more information to share about gluten-free baking, the different flours, ingredients substitutions and how best to use each flour than they’d anticipated. So they decided to present the information in two more manageable parts.  If you have a favorite gluten-free flour that you like to use for most of your baking, you can select the book that features it. Of course, I’d recommend both books so that you have the full array of flours to work with!

I asked both women the same six questions.  Here, I share their answers.  They’ve also graciously agreed to let me publish the recipe for Breakfast Carrot Cake, which made a wonderfully light and moist snack the other day, with a cup of Bengal Spice Tea.  I made my cake without raisins (both because they weren’t included in the original recipe and because they’re not part of the ACD); but if you can eat them, I’d highly recommend adding some to this lovely snack cake! (see recipe after the interview answers).

1. What was your impetus for writing the books?

IRIS: It all started with Facebook…as does everything these days, right? Brittany and I had recently become Facebook friends, and I loved chatting with her about gluten-free baking. One day, I posted a recipe for coconut biscuits (a recipe that I am dying to rework now that I understand coconut flour so much better), and Britt and I were talking about how there are certain flours we shy away from because we don’t understand them well. Recognizing that there was a need for a resource that would explain these flours to us, we took the conversation offline and started brainstorming. Our ideas got bigger and bigger, and the next thing we knew, we were talking about writing a cookbook together.
BRITTANY: Back in 2010 when I first went Gluten Free, like many I was completely overwhelmed, especially when it came to baking. Stepping into the grocery store and seeing over 10 different types of flour left me lost in a daze. The first six months of baking entailed me following recipes created by others. While I was learning about how gluten free batters differed from conventional, I was still at a loss understanding exactly why I was using so many different flours and what each one did in the recipe. In a Facebook conversation, Iris and I got into a conversation about how coconut flour worked. Neither of us really knew, and that sparked continued conversation via email. At first we spoke of creating a blog event to teach our readers how to use this specific flour, but then from a blog event grew the seed to write an e-book. From e-book came the idea of a full blown book. From one book, it became two. Before we knew it we had a publisher on board and were in the midst of writing two books detailing how 12 different gluten free flours work–to be completed within a 9 month time frame. It was exciting, exhausting and wonderful!
2. Who is the target audience for your books? Who do you think would benefit most from your books?

IRIS: Anyone who wants to learn how to understand gluten-free baking better. The home cook who knows how to follow recipes, but wishes she could adapt recipes like she used to. Parents who are baking gluten-free for their families. Those newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance who are scared of baking. Any baker who has ever thrown her hands up in frustration after a failed gluten-free recipe! Our goal with these books is to teach people how to understand what’s happening in the oven so that they feel they have more freedom in the kitchen.
BRITTANY: Nearly anyone interested in gluten free baking. Our books are the very first on the market to explain in detail how each of the gluten free flour varieties work, taste, what kind of texture they provide, the types of recipes they work best in and, most importantly, how to exchange them! Up until this point the only way to learn all of this information would be to spend several years in the kitchen learning little by little. Iris and I put our recipes through hundreds of tests with different flours to compare results to find our answers. We really longed to give bakers freedom once again in the kitchen to experiment safely and have fun without worrying about having the classic disasters that gluten free baking often brings. We hoped by providing the education, that bakers of any skill level would be given a platform to play! Additionally, it was important to us that we covered in great detail how to substitute other ingredients such as sugar, corn, soy and eggs. With the growing number of food allergies, knowing how to convert recipes is a necessary skill. One that again can take time to learn–unless you read the pages of our books :)
3. What was the most surprising thing you learned (related to gluten-free) while working on the books?
IRIS: Learning how to transition away from using gums was a game changer for me. I had seen a few other bloggers and authors doing recipes using flax, chia, and psyllium husks, but I had never experimented with it. Once I learned how to bake that way, I found I liked the texture of those recipes better, and loved that I could make them higher in fiber with that little change. Also, that our recipe testers were some of our best resources. There were a couple of testers that I ended up e-mailing all the time, and they shared all the tips they had learned from years of gluten-free baking. Baking can be a wonderful collaboration, and I loved working with Brittany and all our testers because every one of us came to the project with a different style and taste palate.
BRITTANY: Just how important the flour grind is. Many commercial gluten free flours are as coarse as sand and that really can have a negative effect on baked goods. Additionally, not all brands work being exchanged for one another due to the different milling of the flours. Superfine rice flour and regular rice flour will behave totally differently in a recipe. The finer a flour is milled, the more moisture is sucks up and the better texture your baked good will have.
4. Is there anything you found impossible to replicate gluten-free? If so, what?
IRIS: That’s a great question! There was really nothing we couldn’t eventually make happen. I spent forever on a gluten/dairy/egg/nut/soy/yeast-free sandwich bread, and developed a Pizza Roll Up recipe that I would take over regular pizza any day. That being said, we had originally planned on having stevia recipes in the book. But we found that our testers just weren’t happy with the stevia recipes (unless they were already used to it, like you) because it wasn’t a flavor they expected. We decided to keep the recipes in these cookbooks refined sugar-free, but save the stevia recipes for our blogs and possible future books. Which reminds me that I have some stevia recipes I developed for the cookbook and never used…I’ll have to find those and put them on the blog!
BRITTANY: I believe that all things are possible gluten free. It may take a little extra effort, but where there is a will there is always a way.
5. Do you have a favorite recipe? If so, what is it, and why?
IRIS: I don’t know if I can pick just one…I am partial to the Italian Style Flatbread, which is in Book 1. I recently made it for a cooking demo, and was so happy when someone told me afterward that it was the best bread she’d ever tasted. And then proceeded to sneak a second sample. :) I love that recipe because it’s very simple, adaptable, and great for potlucks
BRITTANY: I am really fond of the Sweet Rice Pie Crust as it behaves exactly like a conventional crust–it doesn’t crumble while you work with it and it’s incredibly flaky and buttery. I’m also nuts over the Cinnamon Rolls. I spent nearly a month making them day after day to get them just the texture that I wanted. I’m particularly proud of them knowing they have brought happy tears to a number of individuals with Celiac disease. I live to give people hope and happiness again. No one should miss out on their favorite foods.
6. What is your next project?
IRIS: It’s top secret. :) But I can say this: There will definitely be gluten-free food involved.
BRITTANY: As I’m working primarily with grain free flours now, I hope to eventually write a third baking guide. I have a few other projects as well in the works, but until they are further developed, my lips are sealed!

Thanks so much, ladies, for giving us an insight into your process and the books!

Iris and Brittany have also graciously offered to give away a copy of one of their books! See the giveaway details at the bottom of the post, below the recipe.

Now, for the giveaway!  Please remember that you must use the Rafflecopter form to submit your comment–just click on the option (“+1 Do It!” ont he form) and then follow the directions, indicating that you’ve completed the comment.  Once you do so on the form, you must still submit an actual comment in the comment section, below.  Sorry for the extra step–but it makes the giveaway run so much more smoothly, and choosing a winner is automated this way, as well–no worries about counting wrong! ;-)

The Details:

What: A copy of The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide, Part I (from which this recipe hails! Plus an interview with me in the book–you REALLY want it now, right?!)

Who: Anyone in Canada or the U.S.

When: Today until this coming Sunday, September, 30, at 11:59 PM my time.

How: Just leave a comment (using the Rafflecopter form to indicate your participation first), telling me: Which favorite recipe of yours would you like to make over as gluten-free? This can be one you’ve already done, or one you are dreaming about.

Why: Just because I love y’all!

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to Diet, Dessert and Dogs via email. (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”) Last Year at this Time: Grain-Free Pizza Crust (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond) Two Years Ago: The Most Outrageously Decadent Ice Cream You Will Ever Eat (gluten free; ACD stage 2 and beyond) Three Years Ago: Swamp Thing Smoothie (gluten free; ACD all stages) Four Years AgoDog Day: Sibling Rituals, Sibling Revelry © Ricki Heller

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”

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Comments

  1. Kimberly Louis-Jean says:

    I used to make this pumpkin cobbler every year for thanksgiving and I would love to figure out how to make it GF. :)

  2. I have yet to figure out a healthy tiramisu (okay not baked) recipe or eggnog cookies.

  3. Chocolate filled donuts!

  4. I would love to learn how to make a good gluten-free cinnamon bread, my son loves it and since we found out about our gluten intolerances I haven’t been able to make many cinnamon goodies for him.
    Sounds like a great book!
    Ana

  5. Cinnamon Rolls we’re my biggie so if you’ve already cracked that recipe – THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I have cried and wasted so many ingredients on recipes that don’t work out. I would cherish these recipe books over all the rest. Thank you so much for doing all the hard work. I think I’ve gone a little crazy just trying. Thanks for the chance to win a great resource cookbook!

  6. chocolate cake

  7. Whole grain pizza crust. Or at least mostly whole grain. I don’t want to use a ton of starch!

  8. Brittany S C says:

    Pumpkin Bread.

  9. I miss Ravioli

  10. I have so many! not for me, but for my allergic hubs and celiac daughter. Bread for her, or tortillas. For him, any sweet thing! He is a sweet freak and then got candida. And he is not a good patient! ;)

  11. I would love to see a wonderful gluten an dairy free red velvet cake recipe. :-)

  12. I would love a gluten free sourdough bread.

  13. Poor Man’s Cake, AKA Boiled Raisin Cake. My mom used to make it for my birthday every year when I was growing up.

  14. I would love to learn how to make cinnamon rolls gluten free. :)

  15. I had a recipe for bran cookies that used different types of bran, in just the right amounts, that it was effective (did it’s job!) but did not cause me stomach pain, and actually tasted good. It should not be that hard, but still collecting different flour combos to try.

  16. Rainn Kenyon says:

    Eclairs. I miss them!

  17. I would love to be able to make a good gluten free sourdough bread. I miss that so much!

  18. tortillas that don’t crack or fall apart!

    • Chrystal in Canada says:

      Hello — I just noticed your comment. Here in western Canada I discovered a company that makes the BEST real tortilla wraps. I don’t know if you can get them shipped to your door, but its worth investigating or making a trip to their bakery! http://www.earthsoven.com

  19. I would also love a Cinnamon Bun recipe -they are my weakness… with frosting. :)

  20. I would like to make TIRAMISU that is gluten-free…and dairy-free for that matter ;)

  21. I would love to figure out a great bagel recipe! One that is more true to the texture of regular bagels…those are one of the things i miss most! :)

  22. A pasty!

  23. Chrystal in Canada says:

    I would love to find a recipe for a real donut – Tim Hortons style – that wasn’t dense like most GF are. My favorite flavor was chocolate glazed.

  24. I would love to learn how to replicate Pillsbury crescent rolls in gluten free form!!!

  25. I would love to find a gluten ffree, dairy free, soyfree CREAM CHEESE substitute!! (Already sub coconut milk greek style for tufu, ricotta cheese or sour cream in many recipes)

  26. I’m not entering the giveaway, but just wanted to take a moment to say what an excellent interview this was. Great job all the way ’round! Brittany and Iris have given the gluten-free community an incredible gift. :-)

    Shirley

  27. there are probably a lot of things I’d like to make gf, but the first that comes to mind is pita bread.

  28. apple cider doughnuts!

  29. I would love to have a gluten-free power cookie for those crashes in the afternoon of my workday

  30. Billie Jean says:

    Monkey bread!

  31. I would love to make a glutton free Danish pastry :D

  32. a good thin pizza crust, grain-free & legume-free.

  33. I used to love my grandma’s chocolate chip cookies…I know there are lots of cookie recipes out there that are gluten free, but they don’t match grandma’s!

    Courtney

  34. I would love to make a gluten free sour cream coffee cake. I have tried, but I’d really like it to be in the same shape and height as my original one I bake for family and friends. I am also trying to use any flours except rice and bean flours.

  35. would love to see Cresent rolls. Have a vegetable pizza that I love, but looking for a “crust” to use that tastes as good.

  36. I’m currently obsessed with making Korean potato croquette breads (my dad’s absolute favorite) healthier. I also really really love croissants…

  37. I would really love to be able to make gluten-free sourdough bread.
    Also, there was a yeasted muffin recipe I’ve tested for Celine Steen a few years ago, and I really have to try coming up with a gluten-free version – it was really amazing, and I want a version of it back into my life!

  38. I’ve only been GF for a couple months now and I’m not exactly ready to bake just yet. But I know that now that the weather is cooling down, I’ll be ready to try my hand. And a cookbook would definitely help.

  39. Ricki, what wonderful gals to feature! And I can’t wait to hear more about the next top secret project.

  40. Hm….I’ve been thinking I need to figure out croissants. You know, something easy like that. Ha.

  41. Good tortillas that are not too much of a pain are at the top of my list. A cobbler or crisp recipe sounds delicious too. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

  42. I wish I knew how to make gluten free pita bread!! It was my go-to base for so many quick dinners back in the gluten days. I really miss it!

  43. Gluten-free croissants would be amazing… I haven’t managed to come up with a suitable flaky biscuit yet either.

  44. I’d love to make a flaky pie crust, for a vegan pumpkin pie or apple pie.

  45. I would love to see a gluten free sandwich bread that my children would eat (and like).

  46. Hey Ricki, I love your blog! I’m currently on a 60 day anti candida diet/ detox and your blog has helped so much! I was wondering, you said it’s suitable for ACD 2 and beyond, does the coconut sugar feed candida? I had been wondering about this for a while now and was curious. A recipe I would love to see would be classic chocolate chip cookies :)

    • Carissa, congrats! I hope the diet/detox helps. :) Yes, coconut sugar is still sugar, even though it’s lower glycemic. I wouldn’t have it before stage 2, maybe even stage 3. The glycemic index is similar to fruits. Hope that helps!

  47. I am a vegetarian who is sugar, chocolate, gluten, dairy, and soy free. I would LOVE any SIMPLE & EASY low fat bread recipe that produces a quality textured bread. I miss sourdough, pumpernickel, and English muffins.

  48. All the hard testing has been done. All I have to do is get the ingredients. Thanks for the contest!

  49. I would love to perfect a chocolate bread recipe that my son had in France and still raves about. If it could be grain-free that would be best but gluten-free and dairy-free is a must.

  50. Suzanne Hill says:

    Cinnamon rolls! I love cinnamon rolls!

  51. I would love to see a good gluten free snack cake with protein.

  52. Barbara Wood says:

    Tiramisu

  53. I would love to make some really great cobbler that isn’t too grainy! :)

  54. Hi
    Remake lemon poppyseed muffins.
    My old time favorite flavor. I just tried them for the 1st time gluten free and they are my family’s favorite again!

  55. Chocolate eclairs. :)

  56. A bread that has the taste and texture (and nutrition) of whole grain bread.. Most breads seem to imitate white flour bread

  57. Indian-style Naan

  58. stromboli! not an easy one, but yum.
    xo
    kittee

  59. Wish I could find a recipe for soft, fluffy hamburger/hotdog buns!!

  60. A really amazing snickerdoodle recipe or a nice loaf of french bread.

  61. I would like to have a bagel recipe that was like the ones with gluten. Also a great pizze dough recipe.

  62. chocolate cake. fluffy, decadent, delicious chocolate cake that is somehow both gluten-free and healthy at the same time.

  63. I’ve been trying to make gluten free puff pastry! More specifically gluten-free vegan baklava. It has been a challenge, and my trials have been failures, but I am still trying!

  64. I would LOVE to have some snack crackers. The biggest thing I miss about being gluten free is not having enough stuff to munch on. (we are also corn, soy, and dairy free)

  65. I would love to make biscuits and gravy that taste awesome! Or some garlic cheese bread. :) Thanks for the chance to win.

  66. finally been able to sit and read this interview – sounds like a great collection of books – gf flours are such a challenge when you don’t use them regularly so the books are probably useful for people like me who only use them occasionally

  67. This cake looks delicious! I would love it if you visited my new Gluten-Free Monday party at OneCreativeMommy.com and linked up this and any other idea you would like to share. I hope to see you there.

  68. I love these girls, AND their recipes! I have both books and they’re fabulous.

  69. i loooove carrot cake. so if you can tell me i can eat this for breakfast, i’m in ;)

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