A Recipe for Apple Crisp + Cookbook Review and Giveaway! Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Buss_Sweet Cravings

I love baking and I love looking through beautiful baking books, with gorgeous photography and irresistible recipes, the kind that are easy to make, yet impressive. Like a fond memory, the kind that are remembered and talked about long after they’re gone; leaving you wanting for more.

Impressive is high on the list in Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle, which I received an advance copy of by the publishers. Written by Kyra, owner of Kyra’s Bake Shop, a gluten-free bakery in Lake Oswego, Oregon and first-time gluten-free winner of Cupcake Wars, Sweet Cravings is packed with gluten-free variety that you would expect in a traditional, gluten-filled cookbook: proving that gluten-free does not mean compromising quality. With Kyra’s baking book under your arm or on your kitchen counter, you’ll be able to whip up baked goods and desserts that will have everyone clamouring for more and without anyone knowing the difference.

On behalf of the publishers Ten Speed Press, I am giving away one copy of Sweet Cravings. To enter the giveaway, click after the jump (“read more”) for details, following my review and a recipe for Apple Crisp.

Sweet Cravings is available now. Order it on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Gluten-free baking is often characterized by using a variety of different flours in order to achieve proper texture and consistency, whether individual flours or a pre-mixed all-purpose flour blend. I don’t usually bake with an all-purpose flour blend, whether store bought or customized, so I appreciated right off the bat that Kyra’s recipes use different flours in each recipe. Whether you’re new to gluten-free baking or a pro, the introduction is invaluable for acquainting yourself with the different ingredients used and being familiar with Kyra’s approach to gluten-free baking, as well as tips and tricks.

Choosing a recipe to make was the hardest, as they all look so good!  The two recipes I’ve tried so far, though, are keepers and I’ve made them more than once. The first recipe I settled on was the Linzer Bars. I decided to use raspberry jam, thinking it more traditional, although, after having made the bars and tried them, apricot jam would also really good and work with the flavour of the dough.

Linzer bars

I made the recipe for the bars mostly to the tee, except for substituting honey for the sugar. The only time that I did give pause was when I needed to Google one of the ingredients (powered almonds, which is almond flour with a little sugar added; I just used almond flour and it was fine). Making the lattice topping was fun – and easy, as any experienced person will tell you. Remember: easy, yet impressive.

Linzer bars_collage

The bars were better than I’d expected. They tasted as if they could have been made with wheat flour, and like they’d been bought from a bakery. If you make these bars, not only will people be clamouring for more, but be constantly exclaiming, “You made these?!” You might even surprise yourself, with how good they are.

Most surprisingly, my brother ate four and a half!


Next up was the Apple Crisp, which we had with whipped cream with vanilla and sweetened with buckwheat honey and that I have had permission to share the recipe for below. In the original headnote, Kyra states that the apple filling can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the fridge and the topping frozen, or assemble the crisp and freeze the whole thing unbaked, until you’re ready to bake it. Left unfrozen for more than two hours, the millet flour and butter in the topping starts to taste like Parmesan. 

The second time I made the apple crisp, I did a few things slightly differently: 1) I used Red Delicious apples (originally used Granny Smiths), 2) knocked down the salt in the topping to 1/2 teaspoon as a full teaspoon tasted too salty to us, and 3) both times used honey instead of maple syrup in the filling, due to what I had on hand, and instead of sugar in the topping. For the topping, I drizzled in a small amount of honey after I’d mixed the rest of the ingredients and drizzled it over the topping before I put the assembled crisp in the oven; all together, it probably didn’t even come to 1/2 cup – honey is twice as sweet as sugar – so that the crisp was mostly sweetened by the apples.

I also used a slightly larger baking pan than the one specified, baking for the same length of time, and it still worked well.

Apple Crisp

Makes about 8 servings

6 large / 906 g tart apples (Pippin or Granny Smith)
1/3 cup / 76 g sugar, or 1/4 cup / 76 g maple syrup
2 tablespoons / 16 g tapioca starch
1 tablespoon / 7.8 g ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon / 1.1 g Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon / .9 g ground ginger
Generous pinch / 3.6 g salt
3 tablespoons / 42 g cold butter


1/2 cup / 89 g sweet white rice flour
1/2 cup / 74 g millet flour
1/2 cup / 67 g tapioca starch
1 cup packed / 244 g golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon / 2.6 g ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon / 4.7 g salt
1/2 teaspoon / 1.1 g Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon / .9 g ground ginger
3/4 cup / 170 g butter, room temperature
3/4 cup / 68 g gluten-free oats
1/2 cup / 51 g chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4– inch slices. Put the apple slices into a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar over the top. Add the tapioca starch, cinnamon, five-spice, ginger, and salt and toss together to evenly coat the apple slices. Pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, dot the top with pieces of the butter and set aside.

To make the topping, combine the flours, tapioca starch, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, five-spice, and ginger in a mixing bowl. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix in the butter until it is uniformly incorporated into the flour mixture. Stir in the oats and pecans.

Crumble the oat topping evenly over the apples. Bake until the topping is golden brown and set and the apples are warm and bubbly, 55 to 60 minutes.

You can prepare everything ahead of time. Refrigerate the apple filling and keep the topping frozen until ready to assemble and bake. Don’t refrigerate the unbaked topping overnight, as the millet flour will interact with the butter and taste and smell cheesy when it’s baked.

Reprinted with permission from Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Kyra Bussanich (Ten Speed Press, © 2013). Photo Credit: Leela Cyd.

CRAV Apple Crisp image p 33_large

Giveaway time!

I’m giving away 1 copy of Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle, which the publishers have generously offered to ship to the winner.

To enter the giveaway, fill in the Google form below OR leave a comment telling me why you’d like to win Sweet Cravings and or what recipe you’re most excited to try. For additional entries:

Leave a separate comment telling me if you did so, or if you already follow me or Kyra on Twitter.

Note: you can now leave comments with your Google+ account, as well. Simply click the Google+ icon in the comment box to do so.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian citizens. Please include your name and a valid, working email address that you check frequently. (Do not enter your blog URL in the Google form.) The winner will be picked at random using random.org on September 30th, 2013. The winner will be notified and contacted by the email address provided and will be asked for a shipping address. A copy of Sweet Cravings will be shipped to the winner by the publishers Ten Speed Press. If the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, another winner will be randomly chosen.

This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be chosen and contacted shortly.

12 thoughts on “A Recipe for Apple Crisp + Cookbook Review and Giveaway! Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

  1. LOVED the Linzer cookies – SOOO GOOOD!!! The Apple Crumble recipe was good, a bit rich, but was way better with half of the amount of salt, the use of honey, and red delicious apples, just as you said – my litmus test was that I wanted more;D

  2. I would love to win this because I’ve been eating gluten and refined sugar free since March because of Lyme Disease. The internet has helped tremendously, but a book like this would be nice as well. I would love to make the apple crisp, but don’t have tapioca starch. Do you think arrowroot powder would work?

  3. After losing almost 40 pounds through diet and excerise, I came to find out I was Gluten Intolerant. I wasn’t sure how that would affect my diet and lifestyle, but since being completely Gluten-Free for almost a year and a half… I have never felt better. I lovelove LOVE being in the kitchen, but still haven’t mastered the art of Gluten Free baking. I would love a copy of the cookbook to start implenting delicious recipes at my family gatherings!

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