A friend at the publisher recently gave me a copy of the new cookbook by Aran Goyoaga, creator of Cannelle et Vanille, and I don’t think he could have guessed how excited I would be. I’ve known Aran for some time now, but when we first met, it was very casually at a food conference, over dinner with some other bloggers. Fast forward a few years, and now I’m gluten-free just like Aran is, and I’m so happy to get my hands on any new books like this one, Small Plates & Sweet Treats. I hadn’t given the book a try yet, but this weekend was the second year of Cookie Swap NYC. Last year was so much fun, of course I had to go again. The funny thing about last year’s event is that I made a gluten-free cookie by Homesick Texan just because it was tasty. But much like Pie Party Live was for me this year, I felt some pressure this year because now that I’m totally gluten-free, I had to find a really great recipe. Aran’s new book came to the rescue. Before I say anything else, I should mention that the book is exquisite, just like the Cannelle et Vanille blog. But back to the cookie swap, my congratulations go out to Maggy of Three Many Cooks and Bloggers without Borders for putting together such a wonderful event. I have to give a shout-out to the great charity the event was held to raise funds for — Why Hunger. And I also want to thank Elizabeth Karmel and Hill Country for hosting the event.
There were so many great cookies at the swap, but of course I only got to try a handful of them because most were made with regular flour. It’s okay because the Hill Country barbecue was amazing, and I enjoyed a couple of margaritas as well. But this post is really about the cookies. I tweaked them a bit, which is a credit to Aran because it takes a reliable recipe to begin with to stand up to adjustments. She calls for making hazelnut toffee from scratch, rather than used the packaged stuff. I loved that idea, but I admit I did make a different toffee than the one in the book. I opted to use a toffee recipe I’d had experience with before, just because I’m not very experienced at that kind of cooking (cooking with sugar to high heat). And I made it a pecan toffee too, which turned out great. I chilled the toffee and broke it up into small pieces. Then I mostly followed Aran’s recipe, except I used a bittersweet chocolate for the chips, I used regular brown rice flour instead of the “superfine” type she called for, and I probably should have chilled the dough a bit more firmly before baking. All the adjustments didn’t seem to matter a bit because the cookies turned out so wonderfully. I’m happy to say I got a few raves at the swap, and at least a couple of people commented that they’d never know the recipe was gluten-free. So I’d urge you to check out the book for yourself – you’ll find lots of sweet and savory recipes, and you’ll likely be swooning over the photos like I have been. Congrats, Aran, on the publication.