cookbookery gluten-free life recipe semi-vegan writing

About flourless. (+ My Favorite Granola Recipe)

23 June 2014

I received an advance copy of my cookbook (flourless. recipes for naturally gluten-free desserts) last week and wow, what a thrill that was. Still is. (Actually, any word/s I could use to describe that feeling would be an understatement.) From signing the contract to publication date totals about two years so this has been a long time in the making. It is so gorgeous — the photos are dreamy and well-styled and I didn’t even cringe when re-reading my own words, written last spring at my desk in San Francisco (!). The book will be released on August 12, and I’ll shamelessly plug the amazon link if you’d like to preorder it. It is here.

I’ve heard that the process of writing a book is akin to having a baby — perhaps what that means is that the writing of it is similar to being pregnant, its publication like giving birth. Maybe this would be true for memoir, or a biography, or that holy grail of writing a novel. And maybe it’s true for a cookbook, too? I was in the unique position last year of becoming pregnant just around the time that I dived in full time to the writing of flourless. and hooooo boy, let me say now and unequivocably that the creation of this cookbook for me was absolutely nothing like having a baby. Not even close.

First off I think when equating writing a book (OK and in this case I mean a cookbook, since that’s what I did) to being pregnant/having the baby there’s an unstated opinion that writing a book is terribly difficult and painful. And, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say that is was necessarily easy to write flourless. but it was not painful. I truly loved the process, from deciding on the recipes to testing to editing and fine-tuning them nearly to the point of distraction. I think because I’d hoped for this opportunity for so long that once I was able to embark upon it I just truly enjoyed it (not that I didn’t enjoy some aspects of pregnancy, but it’s a completely different level of experience). It was hard work, yes, and I haven’t yet gone through its theorectical ‘birth’ into the world on publication date but comparing these two things is like comparing pears and grapefruit. For me they were not even in the same stratosphere.

Anyway — here we are. Sierra has been in the world for nine months today and flourless. will be available in bookstores in 7 weeks. I couldn’t be prouder of both: for Sierra’s curiosity about just everything and her newly discovered ability to crawl; for flourless.‘s Mexican hot chocolate cake, salted rosemary shortbread cookies, coffee ice cream with honey-glazed figs, bittersweet chocolate chunks with dried fruit and nuts, and 70 other recipes.

I firmly believe that each naturally gluten-free recipe in this cookbook is one you will enjoy, and I tried to strike a nice balance between slightly complicated — my version of an (flourless) opera cake that’s showcased on the cover being on the high end of the more time-consuming scale — and quick and easy, such as a lovely milk chocolate pudding. I’ve incorporated fruit in various permutations — roasted, as dried additions to candy, and incorporated into cakes — and have offered dairy substitutions for those who can’t eat it. Ingredients, too, are not overly fussy and should be available at your local grocery store. I want this book to be one you’ll turn to time and again whether you’re gluten-free, baking for someone who is, or, which is my greatest hope, that you simply like these desserts so much it matters not that they are naturally gluten-free.

To celebrate the semi-imminent release of my bookbook, I made granola. I mean, I often make granola, but I was especially craving it last week and decided to treat myself. It’s not every day your first book lands in your hands! Because of that auspicious occasion I splurged a bit and threw in a trio of my favorite dried fruits that I tend to use judiciously. I won’t belabor the point yet again, but, errrr, food quality here can be somewhat lacking and so I avail myself of the DPO when necessary. Thus I hoard a nice little stash of dried blueberries and cranberries and cherries in the pantry, three very lovely things I cannot get here and which I covet. Granola absolutely is gluten-free and naturally flourless if you use gluten-free oats, and is vegan if you don’t use honey as your sweetener (though I do).

My recipe, of course, is inspired by Megan Gordon, and I must say it is the best granola I’ve yet had outside of her Marge varieties or my sister-in-law Emily’s version. Come to think of it this recipe is also inspired by Emily — as was the original idea for flourless. — who often puts dried cherries and chia seeds in her batches. Genius! The proportions Megan writes up in her book, Whole Grain Mornings, also are genius; it’s worth the price of the book alone just for her “Make Your Own Signature Granola” recipe.

I like to load mine up with as many good things as I can stand — various nuts, lots of seeds, multiple dried fruits. Through my experiments I’ve learned that some nuts don’t toast up as well as others, and sunflower seeds, though nice, sometimes get a bit too crisp for my liking. There’s oil here, yes, as well as sweetener, but it’s not cloying and I think there’s rather less called for than in other recipes. I encourage you to seek out Megan’s book so you can make your own granola to suit your own tastes (she gives proportions rather than hard and fast measurements so you can adapt at whim); here, I’ve written out my latest iteration and the one which I feel is my best yet.

After I wrested my book out of Sierra’s eager little hands I poured myself a big bowl of granola, added a smidge of yogurt, and dug in. It’s been a long and short two years – some days I couldn’t believe I’d ever hold my book in my hands and yet suddenly here it is. I am old-fashioned enough that seeing my name in print is still an amazing thing, and that holding the physical manifestation of so much thought and effort is special and yes, quite thrilling. I hope so much that if flourless. finds its way into your own kitchen you will enjoy it, too.

  • frances shelton 25 June 2014 at 12:19 am

    I can’t wait to get my hands on flourless., as I already use so many of the simple, tasty recipes you post in cucina nicolina. Obviously,
    Sierra knows a good cookbook when she sees it. Smart girl!

  • Lakshmi 24 June 2014 at 7:47 am

    Btw, the book (I saw the preview in Amazon) looks spectacular. The recipe index… ooh, my! Delishhhh.

  • Lakshmi 24 June 2014 at 7:43 am

    Congrats, Nicole!

    Enjoy the heady/giddy feeling… :)

  • Leslie Cohen 23 June 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Congratulations, Nicole! I can’t wait to crack my very own copy. And, the granola looks gorgeous, too. I love that you use cardamom, my favorite spice!

  • Lisa 23 June 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR BOOK I HAVE TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS.

  • Laurie 23 June 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Your babygirl is beautiful (like mama).
    Can’t wait to get your cookbook!

  • sizzle 23 June 2014 at 12:20 pm

    That is SO EXCITING about the book!

  • Julia 23 June 2014 at 11:42 am

    Everything about this is beautiful! So happy for you dear!
    xx

    julia

  • Marlene Dotterer 23 June 2014 at 9:18 am

    It’s gorgeous and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on it! Congratulations!

  • Helen spiridakis 23 June 2014 at 8:25 am

    Well written post and cookbook….the recipes sound scrumptious and doable…..which is what I always seek in a new cookbook. Congrats!

  • Denise | Chez Danisse 23 June 2014 at 6:19 am

    Exciting! Looking forward to it.