Just a reminder to those of you who wonder why I’m not reviewing lots of other great gluten-free baking ingredients out there: these reviews are only looking at the products 1) I really liked and 2) that were NEW at Expo West. So read on to see the latest and greatest, but please feel free to leave a comment about other baking ingredients you love to use, whether new or not!
(See my Intro to Expo and my philosophy behind my reviews, as well as my other new product reviews on Granolas & Bars,
Frozen Gluten-Free Breads, Gluten-Free Main Dishes and Gluten-Free Cookies!)
Gluten-Free Baking Ingredients
Enjoy Life – Mega Chunks
I’ve been using Enjoy Life’s semi-sweet chocolate chips for years in my gluten-free, dairy-free baking. These yummy little morsels are made in a dedicated GF and nut-free facility and are also soy-free! They’re still delicious though, and are the perfect complement to my yummy allergy-free cookie recipes … but … they’re really tiny! These are really in the class of “mini-chips,” which does throw some people off.
Apparently the folks at Enjoy Life caught on, and decided to offer an alternative, which they introduced at Expo West: Mega Chunks! And I do mean MEGA! These are not regular-sized chocolate chips, but rather they are more like chocolate logs, each ranging from 1/4 – 1/2 inch long. They are the same delicious allergy-free chocolate formula, but super-sized for those chocoholics in your midst.
Trans-fat free, vegan, kosher, GFCF, no artificial ingredients … I love having these accompaniments (now in two sizes!) for sampling at shows, so that my cookies can be as “free from” as I want them to be. Whatever your family’s food restrictions, these chips bring chocolate treats back to the table!
I love when you get to meet the name behind the company, and Justin could not have been nicer or more down to earth. A really swell guy and a really yummy product = a great combination! He is the name behind those handy single-serve packets of nut butters (every combination from maple-almond to chocolate-hazelnut!) you can pack in your purse to squeeze onto a banana or apple for a healthy dose of protein with your fruit.
What’s more, he just released something a little less healthy, but no less exciting – gluten-free, Fair Trade, Organic Peanut Butter Cups! He even has a dark chocolate variety that is dairy-free and way too good (it won as one of VegNews’ “Top 12 Hottest New Vegetarian Products”!). My friend Erin Schrode tweeted after the first night of Expo that she dreamed about these vegan peanut butter cups that night, and I don’t blame her!
Earth Balance -
You probably know that Earth Balance is all I ever use in my baking, since it’s gluten-free and vegan, and also uses no hydrogenated oils or transfats. It’s a company I really believe in and their products are no-fail in my baking.
So how exciting was it when they rolled out a new product at Expo which maintains all these great qualities, but is also soy-free and uses organic extra-virgin coconut oil!? In addition, the product offers all the wonderful benefits of coconut oil without all the saturated fat. Earth Balance Coconut Spread has only 5 grams of saturated fat, compared to 14 grams in 100% extra virgin coconut oil. Certified organic and Non-GMO, it’s not surprising that the product won “Best of Show” from VegNews Magazine!
I was lucky enough to get to test the prototype before Expo and develop some recipes for the product. Let me just tell you, it makes a-m-a-z-i-n-g gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free peanut butter cookies! I made these as samples for Expo and got responses which ranged from (really high) raised eyebrows, while folks reached for a second or third cookie, to one non-GF non-vegan attendee who exclaimed that these were (bleep)’ing awesome cookies! (Yeah, I know!)
Earth Balance sampled the coconut spread on Rudi’s sandwich bread at the booth too, and it was universally adored (both spread and bread). Look for this product to be out by summer, and with it, brand new Earth Balance vegan mayonnaise varieties called Mindful Mayo™ (original, organic, and olive oil). Very cool stuff. For more recipes using this coconut product, keep tabs on Earth Balance’s recipe site, MadeJustRight.com - they’ll be posted soon!
Note: Another of the “12 Hottest New Vegetarian Products,” as ranked by VegNews Magazine, also includes MimicCreme’s Healthy Top. Check out my video interview with MimicCreme about their new product in October at Natural Products Expo East!