Tag: Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gluten-Free Rhubarb Poppy Seed Bread | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

This spring has been flying by. Every time I think “Those flowers won’t bloom for another few weeks,” it feels like they open up the next day. Baby plants are coming up in our garden already. Can you believe that? The spring rains are dousing Portland, but with that comes the lush greens and bright pastels, the mildly warmer weather, and of course, the rhubarb. I started another ceramics class last Friday, and when our instructor made us share an interesting fact about ourselves, mine was just rhubarb. Simple as that. I am certainly the class weirdo. But the time of year has arrived when I always have some in my fridge.

My sisters, who both have important people in their lives avoiding gluten (as do I), requested that I create a gluten-free version of this poppy seed rhubarb bread (which I really hope to re-photograph soon). I’ve done very little gluten-free (GF) baking in my life, partially because I strongly dislike the anti-gluten movement – the people who avoid it because it’s the trendy thing to avoid – when gluten and the grains that contain it actually provide lots of good, healthy nutrients. But, as I have known more and more people diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it seems like it is time to wade into the world of GF baking. Another thing I have found so sad about GF baking is that often the pastries I have seen are simply depressing – soggy, structurally unsound, chalky messes. This all changed, however, when I visited my sister in New York last fall. She had been singing the praises of Alice Medrich’s book Flavor Flours, and when I stayed with her we baked two recipes from it: some linzer cookies and I think some gingerbread. They were delicious. Perhaps my favorite thing about them was that, rather than hiding the lack of traditional AP flour, these recipes embraced the flours they used instead, making the flavors of buckwheat or teff or rice flour an integral part. Instead of being the random flavor of the flour you needed to use for the right texture and structure, the flavors played a role in the ingredients and flavor combinations. It makes perfect sense that the book was called Flavor Flours.

I had been thinking of getting a copy of this book for quite some time, and then I realized that not only would it be fun to cook from, but it would be a good tool for me to learn about GF baking and to create my own recipes that are edible for that many more people. So hopefully this is the first of many. If there’s a recipe here you’d like to see a GF version of, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. In the mean time, enjoy this GF version of what has become a favorite spring recipe.

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Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes (that also happen to be gluten-free)

Roza and cupcakes

Frosted Cupcakes

If you read the title, let me preface this post by saying that I am not often a baker of gluten-free food… Actually, I’m not ever really a gluten-free (GF) cook, if I have anything to do with it. The GF baked goods that I have had in my life are generally sad, deflated looking little things, and usually don’t taste super. So, I try to avoid it.

As you may know, this past year, Jonah and I were nannying for a family, and they are gluten free. I had baked some things for them before (muffins, breads, even pie) and while they were impressed because it usually was pretty good, I was not. You’re going to tell me that pie dough that I made with potato and coconut flour and butter was better than my usual flour-butter-shortening? I don’t think so. But when Roza’s birthday rolled around (see photo below), I wanted to make her the best GF cupcakes I could find. How could you not with a face like that? And I must say, If you just gave me that cupcake, I would not know that it doesn’t have any sugar or flour in it. It is perfectly fluffy and dense at the same time, perfectly chocolatey without being too sweet… It was good. So yeah, these are, by non-GF standards, good cupcakes.

Now let me tell you a bit about Roza. She is the cutest 4 year old I’ve ever met in my life. With a voice like a cartoon character and an endlessly positive attitude, she always had the ability to make me howl with laughter. She was super into Curious George at the time, and we had been reading her this story where George is home alone and finds all these party favors and decorations and cake ingredients, etc. for a party, so he decorates and makes the cake, and then it turns out the party is for him! So Roza’s mom decided to do the same thing. All week, Roza cleaned the house with her little miniature broom for a party she knew we were having, and then she and I decided to make cupcakes for said party. Then, at dinner on Friday with her parents and me and Jonah, we surprised her with the fact that this all was her own birthday party! It was the most adorable thing ever. Their family doesn’t eat sweets a whole lot, and usually sweets aren’t things like chocolate cupcakes, so she was pretty enthused by the idea of baking sweets like these. While we were making them, we had this conversation about 20 times:

Roza: Annie, do you know what is yummy?
Annie: What’s yummy, Roza.
Roza: Chocolate… (Breaks into giggles).

Have I mentioned how much I love her? I have? Ok. I’ll stop.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Note: A lot of GF recipes will not use just coconut flour. In fact, when I told Roza’s parents that this recipe only had coconut flour, they didn’t think it would be very successful. But the key is using LOTS of wet ingredients. Coconut flour soaks up moisture like nothing else, so in order to balance it out, the batter will seem pretty wet. But it works, I swear.



¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
3 eggs
¼ cup canola oil (the recipe called for grapeseed, but I used canola because it’s what we had around)
½ cup agave nectar (we did a little bit less than this since their family is into less sweeteners)


1 cup chocolate chips (preferably dark)
½ cup canola oil (again, the recipe called for grapeseed, but I still didn’t have any)
2 Tbl agave nectar
1 Tbl vanilla extract
a pinch of salt



Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut flour, cacao powder, salt and baking soda and stir. In a larger mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, oil and agave. Then mix the dry into the wet, and stir until thoroughly combined. Line your cupcake tin with liners, and scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each liner. Bake them for ~20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


In a small saucepan over very low heat (or in a double boiler, if you’re feeling that it’s necessary), melt chocolate and oil together. Stir in the agave, vanilla, and salt. Then put the frosting in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill and thicken – mine took longer than 15 minutes to thicken up, but then it was a bit difficult to spread because I think I left it in the freezer for too long… I’m sure there’s a happy medium here, I just didn’t quite hit the nail on the head my first try). After removing from the freezer, whip it with a hand blender (or transfer from the pot you used to a standing mixer and use that) until it is fluffed up. Spread over the cupcakes and enjoy! Roza definitely did.

Pao Bread! (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Pao Bread! (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Pao Bread! (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
Pao Bread! (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Pao Bread! (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Last summer, a friend of ours (Courtney, seen in the Bread Pudding post) worked selling pao bread at various farmer’s markets around Portland. I had never heard of pao bread before, but oh my goodness it’s delicious. Little puffy buns of cheesy (gluten free) goodness. I’m always a little wary of gluten free food, but trust me, these are great. Anyway, I was hunting around on pinterest this other day and happened on a recipe for homemade pao bread. I had a free couple hours, so I went to the store and bought some tapioca flour and got cooking!

Pao Bread


1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2 tsp minced garlic
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs (beaten)


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine olive oil, water, milk, and salt (no need to whisk).

Put the saucepan over high heat; when the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat immediately and stir in the tapioca flour and and garlic. It’s a bit of a pain to mix (I assume due to the way the tapioca flour absorbs the moisture), but it comes together eventually. Let this mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.

After resting, stir the cheese and eggs into the tapioca mixture until well combined. The recipe said the texture will be chunky like cottage cheese. It also said to now drop rounded, 1/4 cup sized balls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet. I had a few issues with these steps. First of all, cottage cheese…ew. Second of all, how are you supposed to “round” something that is the texture of cottage cheese? That sounds hard to do. Third, 1/4 cup was too big. So here are my instructions, drop 1/8 cup dollops onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Now pop them in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. The tops of mine didn’t brown (like the recipe said they would), but I gauged doneness by the brownness of the bottoms. You don’t want them too brown, then they’ll be overcooked. But the edges should be perfectly golden. When they’re done, let them cool on a cooling rack before enjoying.