We have died and gone to gluten free and casein free heaven -
No compromising here.
The kids were arm-wrestling over these treats.
Shabtai-Gourmet Bakery, also known as Cinderella Sweets, is a dedicated gluten free bakery. Better yet, they are also casein, lactose and soy free!!
I was recently reading that according to the United States Department of Agriculture there are over 2000 gluten free products in the market place and over 800 new gluten free products were introduced in 2008! That is a lot of sampling to do, but my type A personality likes to sample everything I can find in search of the best.
While I so appreciate everyone who goes the extra step to make something gluten free, as we all know, just because something is gluten free does not necessarily mean it will be good.
So when the box from Shabtai arrived on my front porch (in record time I might add since we are in Seattle and it traveled all the way from New York), I opened it with somewhat trepidation hoping for greatness but with all expectations in check. We bake a lot and we have repeatedly found that it is hard to get something that is as good as we can make at home.
The first item sampled was the Devils Food 7 Layer Cake - oh my goodness it was amazing!!
First of all, it was something that I would never take the time to make - it was seven layers of thin cut chocolate cake separated by seven layer of the sweetest frosting. The entire delight was frosted in that hard-chocolate frosting that they put on ding dongs (and that I have no idea how to make).
As a matter of fact, it tasted a lot like what I remember ding dongs tasting like. The Gluten Free Kid only ate maybe one or two ding dongs before going gluten free and my other two kids had never eaten them, but to me it tasted like a ding dong. A gluten free, casein free ding dong!! (As a matter of fact they make a product called the Ring Ting cupcakes which we will be ordering shortly).
I don't mean this in a bad way (even though to the super health conscious it may sound so), but if you, or your loved ones, have been crazing that processed really sweet chocolaty treat of our former lives, go order some right now!
As a side note, while we eat extremely healthy, I do think that indulging in these kinds of over the top sweet treats is the only way to survive being gluten free. So that you, or our kids, do not feel constantly deprived you have to spend the extra money or the extra time in the kitchen, and eat your hearts content of Ring Dings (on occasion). The kids in my daughter's class actually thought she was cheating on her diet when she ate the last few bites of our treat at school the next day.
The next treat that we sampled was the Fudge Brownie - okay I have to make a confession here.
It was my son's 6th birthday on Monday. I have made a home made birthday cake for every birthday we have celebrated since going gluten free, and my family has grown to love these cakes and this tradition. But we had just had a Halloween party, a soccer party and a birthday party (we celebrate birthday's with friends with make-your-own sundaes), everyone in my family was a little sniffly from a cold, and I was down right exhausted.
How does this relate to the brownie? I pulled the Fudge Brownie from Shabtai out of the freezer, placed it on our special birthday plate, decorated it with Betty Crocker frosting in the tube, added some Star Wars figures, cute candles and . . . well you can see the result on his face in the photo below.
He loved the cake, the other kids were jealous of it, and it was so quick and easy. Oh, and least we forget, so amazingly good tasting - moist, super sweet, that kind of over-the-top richness that leaves your teeth hurting a little.
We still have a few goodies left in our box to try. Tonight we are transforming the Lady Fingers into Tiramisu. Yes, tiramisu. I am a pretty adventurous cook these days, but would not have taken on the challenge of making tiramisu without the pre-made gluten free Lady Fingers which are an essential ingredient.
Here is the recipe for Gluten Free Tiramisu
*4 large eggs, separated
*8 ounces mascarpone cheese (To make your own casein free substitute try this basic dairy free cheese recipe I have to admit I have not tried this dairy free yet)
*1 cup espresso or very strong coffee
*3 teaspoons brandy
*24 gluten free lady fingers from Shabtai
Add mascarpone and beat until JUST mixed.
In a small bowl beat pasteurized egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.
Fold into mascarpone mixture.
In another small bowl combine espresso and liqueur .
With a pastry brush, brush cookies with the espresso/liqueur mixture. Place a layer in the bottom of an 8x8-inch deep glass casserole dish.
Cover with half the cheese mixture.
Top that with another layer of brushed cookies and add remaining cheese.
Sprinkle with cocoa and some chocolate curls for an extra touch.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, if you have the time six hours is even better.
I have two more great things to say about Shabtai; first, all gluten free food is expensive, but for the quality of the baked goods, Shabtai's prices are reasonable. The 7 layer cake was almost $9.00.
Secondly, the prices are made even more reasonable by the fact they are now offering free shipping to anywhere in the continental United States.