I know this is twice in a week I’ve veered off course on this blog, sharing information outside of my Sweet-a-Week, but this class was so good I just had to share it with you. Re-read the very first sentence of this post again, would you? A Gluten-Free Desserts class! Not at a health food store. Taught by a real chef.* Could it be that gluten-free cooking classes have appeared on the radar screen of the Foodie-verse? Yes!
The Culinary Center of Kansas City is a treat, regardless of the class topic. Their class facilities are comfortable and I immediately felt at home. How could I not have felt at home? The ovens were fired up AND I knew I could eat anything that was being prepared. That’s an unusual treat for me. The class was sold out, yet even in the hustle to get everyone situated, started promptly. It wasn’t long until chocolate chip cookies were being served to us.
Remember my chocolate chip cookie sandwiches a couple of weeks back? I thought they were too cake-y. These cookies were the opposite, very thin and crispy. The flavor was perfect–there was absolutely no flavor indication these cookies were gluten-free. Not wanting to give up my opportunity to eat the sweet I am cooking in my own kitchen this week, I had only a nibble of the cookie but it had more than enough flavor in just that tiny nibble to tell me I would be making this recipe again.
Then there were Superfudgey Brownies. I am not a big brownie fan, I like a fluffier cake, but these were good. During the prep of the brownie batter, we got quite a bit of information on types of chocolate, why to use certain types of chocolate…information not only usable by gluten-free bakers but any baker. I would also bet that any brownie fan would like these brownies. Again, no gluten-free taste was discernable.
Next up was an Apple Torta with a Caramel Apple topping. This is the first incredibly moist gluten-free cake I have ever eaten. And the caramel…well, it should be served in shot glasses. Or by the gallon with a large spoon.
The last yummy treat of the day (and the one I don’t have a picture of) was a Hazelnut Torta with Butterscotch Pastry Cream. Another super moist cake! The two torta recipes shared were worth the price of the class. I battle with moisture in gluten-free baked goods and think I may have found a solution.
Intermingled between preparing the 4 desserts was talk of liquid vs. dry measuring cups, Silpat vs. parchment, double strength vanilla, vegan milk and egg substitutes, whether to use light or dark brown sugar, how to fold in ingredients and why, how to separate eggs…hundreds of little baking tidbits that should have satisfied beginner and experienced bakers. I’m somewhere in between and picked up more than a few tips.
Chef Danica Pollard seemed right at home in front of a group of aspiring bakers, even though many of them were leary of their baking abilities. This was an eye-opener to me, as I wasn’t aware there were so many people scared of baking. Nothing that horrible is going to happen, at worst your recipe is a flop and you trash it. That’s all. I think by the end of class, Chef had inspired and encouraged everyone in the room to go home and try a recipe or two. The oven in my kitchen is pre-heating right now…
But one quick last thing, the reason I shared this with you is there is a possibility that more gluten-free classes will be offered at the Culinary Center. Please consider attending one, even if you don’t eat gluten-free. It’s a great opportunity to gain kitchen knowledge and try out ingredients you might otherwise overlook. Plus it’s just fun. You like to have fun, right?
*There is nothing wrong with gluten-free classes at health food stores, I’ve been to them and will continue to attend them. There is also nothing wrong with classes taught by household bakers like me, I’ve been to those, too, and learned much from them.