Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Karina's Pumpkin Chai Bread with Cranberries

Seamaiden of the vegetarian gluten-free blog Book of Yum is hosting another round of Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, a blogging event in which we adopt another GF blogger and prepare one of their recipes. Last time I participated in this event, I baked gluten-free pita bread. This time it's the "Thanksgiving Edition" so we were all asked to prepare a dish from another blog that was thematically appropriate. I chose to prepare the vegan, gluten-free Pumpkin Chai Bread with Cranberries from the blog Karina's Kitchen (a/k/a The Gluten-Free Goddess). Karina has long been one of my favorite bloggers. She has supported and inspired me ever since I entered the blogging world several years back. When she got diagnosed with a huge list of food allergies in addition to celiac disease, the gluten-free blogging showed their support for her in the Cooking for Karina event I hosted. They made it clear with their numerous submissions that she is one of the best-loved residents of the gluten-free (and food allergy) blogosphere. But I have to make an embarrassing confession: Though I've used Karina's recipes often to inspire my own cooking, I don't think I've ever truly and thoroughly followed one of her recipes! Until today, that is. I chose this recipe in order to use up the cranberries left over from canning cranberry applesauce a few weeks ago and to stretch myself by actually following a recipe for a change.

I was a little worried about what the texture would be like, because the recipe is eggless and I haven't done a whole lot of vegan baking since being gluten-free. Thanks to egg replacer and xanthan gum it actually holds together pretty well. It is beautiful when it comes out of the oven - It is golden in hue and the cranberries look like gems! I enjoyed it, and look forward to toasting a slice or two for breakfast in the morning. Do I lose points if I smear a little butter on your vegan recipe, Karina? Hehe.

The down-low on how I customized the recipe: I chose to use chopped hazelnuts as a mix-in in addition to cranberries, as they were on sale at the store (I initially wanted pecans, but they were twice as expensive). That was a good choice, because the ones I sprinkled on the top of the loaf before baking became lightly toasted which brought out their flavor and crunch. I used raw agave nectar instead of sugar (per Karina's suggested measurements). I would probably use a good bit more sweetener next time. I don't have a major sweet tooth but I think a little more sweetness would round out the flavor. I'd also cut down on the liquid a little bit more than I did, to compensate for the moisture from the agave. I baked it for 60+ minutes and it was still a bit too moist inside. The flours I used were 3/4 cup of millet flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, and 1/4 cup tapioca flour.

This bread has a really nice texture with little bursts of tart cranberry flavor. It is lightly sweet which is great for those of us who don't have huge sweet tooths or are trying to cut back on sugar. It has a subtle chai flavor and the pumpkin is present but not overly assertive so this might be a way to get some more veggies into your kids' tummies! It's easy to make successfully using mostly whole grains, which was a plus.

If you haven't checked out Karina's Kitchen, you've been missing out. It's worth subscribing to Karina's blog for the photographs alone! Stop by and congratulate her for just publishing Aftertaste in Exile, her book of paintings, poetry and photography.