Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“When we eat together, when we set out to do so deliberately, life is better, no matter what your circumstances.” -Thomas Keller

Dear Thomas Keller, Lena Kwak, and the Entire Developmental Team at Cup4Cup,

I love you.


Seriously, guys. This is big. This is bigger than big. This is huge. This is the Andre the Giant of gluten-free cooking.

Mountain Backdrop &
Wind Fan Not Included

Aaron bought me a bag of Cup4Cup this year for Christmas. As we began exchanging gifts, the curiously bulging, interestingly wrapped shirt box under the tree grabbed my attention almost immediately. I had asked for a sweater, so naturally, I assumed, this must be it. As I picked it up, however, my inner monologue was reeling, Wow, this sweater weighs a lot. This might really be a problem. How am I going to move in this thing? Is this like the sweater version of those sneakers with weights in them? That might not be so bad. I did have all those cookies earlier. But it's really heavy. The Victoria's Secret model in the picture on the website didn't look like she was having any trouble...."OHMYGOD! YOU ACTUALLY BOUGHT ME THIS?"

(Don't worry, I got the sweater too. Unfortunately, 36" legs and D cups are sold separately, so I do not look like the Victoria's Secret model in it. Disappointing for all involved)

Tangential musings aside, I was really excited to get a 3lb bag of flour for Christmas. More excited than most normal people would be at this prospect, I imagine. But I had been wanting to try the flour mix created by the Research & Development Chef at the French Laundry ever since I heard rumors of Thomas Keller branding a gf flour online. The stuff retails at Williams & Sonoma (WAIT WAIT BEFORE YOU STOP READING) and is actually incredibly reasonably priced, considering. $20.00 for a 3lb bag in only about $2 per pound more than the other gluten-free flours I have used in the past.

Apparently, as I learned on the back of the shiny blue bag, Lena Kwak, the chef and founder of C4C, is not gluten-free, and just a naturally awesome and amazing person. So kudos to her on being my new hero.

I was really excited to try my new gift. I am the type of person that wears all of their Christmas gifts by New Year's. I wore the sweater to work on December 26th. Patience is not my strong point. Anyway, I was so excited to try my new flour, that I couldn't even wait for Aaron to make me something delicious. I had to try it immediately.

I had to bake.

I know I've said on multiple occasions that I am not an at-home cook. I do like to bake, although the difference between liking something and excelling at it is one that it not easy to hide. But what the hell, I got 3 lbs of flour, a Betty Crocker cookbook, and lots of kitchen gadgets that Aaron would probably prefer that I not touch. What could possibly go wrong?

I decided to make carrot cupcakes, since they are Aaron's favorites, and I try to pay it forward with the cooking thing sometimes. I got started, and as I poured my dry ingredients into the vortex of sugar and eggs spinning under the electric mixer, I was startled.

"Aaron." I said. "Look at the texture. Doesn't it look weird?"
He peered over his newspaper, skeptical at these last words. I knew he was expecting something disastrously epic, and I could see the disappointment on his face. "No," he said, "It looks normal."

Huh. I thought. Normal is weird. After 9 years of baking with thin, runny batter, the doughy elasticity that pulled away from the edges of the bowl was odd to me. But, I thought hard to remember back, yes....this is what it's supposed to look like.

I've never seen a gluten-free flour behave as normally as this stuff does. It stretches between your fingers with a pliable stretch. It rises in the oven. Hell, it even smells like flour.

And the cupcakes turned out amazingly. I would have never known that they were gluten-free. They were dense and moist and spicy the way carrot cake should be, while still being flaky and delicious.

I've included the recipe that I used below. Just substitute the gluten-free flour cup for cup (OH... I get it now!)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded carrots (5 medium)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of one 13x9-inch pan or two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans with shortening; lightly flour. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the salt; beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into pan(s). 

 Bake 13x9-inch pan 40 to 45 minutes, round pans 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool rectangle in pan on cooling rack. Cool rounds 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, frost with Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Frosting, smile smugly at Aaron, and enjoy.

Oh, and do the dishes.

Cooking sucks.

1 comment:

  1. i just got my hands on this flour! LOVE IT. only made a few things so far... but so far, so good.