Amy recounts a few childhood misadventures with baking that made her avoid baking for years. Those stories involved a hockey-puck-like cake and a melted grill-top! I would avoid baking for a while if the latter happened to me.
Later in her life a health scare convinced Amy and her husband to reduce gluten and sugar in their diets. They relocated from Manhattan to the North Country and Amy returned to baking, this time focusing on gluten-free recipes.
Shortly after arriving in the North Country, my husband jokingly delivered this warning, “These people are serious about dessert! You have to learn to bake. Make it from scratch, and it better be good!” I wanted to scream, “I’m an artist, not a pastry robot!” but he was right. After joining the Four Seasons Book Club and attending a few social functions I realized I needed a signature dessert, and box brownies just wouldn’t cut it. No one bakes like a North Country lady.
As a born and raised North Country lady myself I can say that this is true, bringing home-made desserts to events is often an expected courtesy. If you’re new to the area, you will encounter this at some point, and you will be judged by your dessert. Fortunately I love baking. I alternate between two personal favorites, home-made chocolate chip cookies and cranberry oatmeal cookies. They are both delicious if I may say so.
However, Amy’s gluten-free baking seems much more adventurous than anything I’ve undertaken before. Take a look at this excerpt from her account of discovering that beans are a good replacement for flour in some desserts.
I remembered a friend from L.A. once fooled me with her black bean brownies. They were delicious, and I had no idea that I was having beans for dessert.
Why not tweak the recipe to make yummy gluten-free cupcakes? Through tasty trials and inedible errors, I tested other beans, replaced sugar with bananas, added nuts and tried new flavors. (The bean recipes are made in the blender, so clean up is a snap.) I finally had a signature dessert! And I’ve been able to trick many people. Some say they knew they were eating beans the entire time. Yeah, right.
Learn more about gluten-free baking by reading Amy Guglielmo’s full story here: “My Sweet Gluten-Free Life.”
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Below is one of the recipes that Amy shared along with her story. A cookie recipe with chickpeas as an ingredient is something I never witnessed (or imagined) before, but perhaps I’ll attempt it one day soon. I’m not afraid to try something once. Take a look and maybe you’ll be inspired to bake this dessert too?
- 1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Blend all but the chocolate chips in a food processor or blender until smooth.
- Stir or pulse in chocolate chips until well mixed.
- Spoon dough ball onto greased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly browned.
- Let cool and enjoy.
- Daily Doodle: Amy Guglielmo’s Essex in a Jar (essexny.us)
- Daily Doodle: Amy Guglielmo’s Essex Flowers (essexny.us)
- Essex Aerial View (rosslynredux.com)
- Taber’s Folklore Inspired Art and Shadow Boxes at Depot Theatre Gallery (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)