A dairy allergy didn’t stifle Angela Garbacz’s childhood dream of opening her own bakery. Instead, it sharpened her focus.
By the time she received that diagnosis, she’d already earned a food science degree, trained in New York pastry kitchens, and returned to her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, to pursue her ultimate goal.
While working a day job in marketing, and fulfilling baking requests in her apartment kitchen on the side, she began teaching herself how to make dairy-free desserts that would measure up to the lofty Midwest baking standards inherited from her mother and grandmothers. She chronicled those lessons in a blog, and orders began rolling in — not only from people who were lactose-intolerant, but those who were gluten-free, vegan, or all three. In 2015, she opened Goldenrod Pastries with a commitment to accommodate all those restrictions. She and her team spent years experimenting with various flours and formulas for cakes, cookies, pies and yeast-raised buns satisfying and safe for all, leading Food & Wine magazine to name her one of the “most innovative women in food and drink.” She spills those secrets in “Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats” (Countryman Press, $29.95).
Each recipe within these lusciously photographed pages comes with a “You Do You” key indicating whether it can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan or “traditional.” I opted for the latter in making Double Chocolate Cookies (Get the recipe at ajc.com/cookbooks.) and Coconut Berry Thumbprint Cookies, choosing standard all-purpose flour rather than gluten-free, and butter rather than shortening. Both were not-too-sweet, a cinch to make, and positively delicious.
Should I decide to branch out, I can refer to the helpful ingredient guide that explains the different ingredient compositions of various gluten-free flour brands and how to use each, plus fat and dairy options, and instructions for making flax “eggs.”
I’m intrigued by Peach-Buckwheat Upside-Down Cake, using olive oil for the fat. And I suspect the vanilla custard filling for Graham Cracker Cream Pie made with coconut milk tastes even better than the traditional dairy version.
I’m game to find out.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
Double Chocolate Cookies
Angela Garbacz calls this recipe her favorite cookie, even though she professes not to be a chocolate chip fan. They can be customized to make them vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free or traditional depending on your desires. I tested these using butter and standard flour for a “traditional” version, and also found them addictive -- not too sweet, and with just the right touch of sea salt. Below are the author’s recommendations for substituting gluten-free flour and instructions for making a “flax egg” to make these vegan.
-- For the gluten-free flour, I recommend Nu Life Always Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (270 grams) or King Arthur Gluten Free Measure to Measure Flour (240 grams).
-- Because these cookies have a dark chocolate color, it’s easy to overbake them. Don’t wait to take them out of the oven until they look darker, just make sure the center of the cookie looks matte, and the edge of the cookie is firm to the touch.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats” by Angela Garbacz (Countryman Press, $29.95).
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.