The first time I heard of Aran Goyoaga was not through her original blog, but from her first cookbook “Small Plates, Sweet Treats.” I remember putting it on a wishlist with the intention of taking it out of the library but I never got around to it. Even when she released her second book, “Cannelle et Vanille”, I meant to check it out but still never got around to it. I don’t know why. I’ve seen a few of her recipes online, and they sound really good. Case in point, Cherry Bombe printed her Spiced Chocolate-Cranberry Yeast Bread recipe, and it sounded so good that I sent the link to my gluten-free co-worker. Did I ever get around to baking it myself? No.
Well! There’s no time like the present! Goyoaga’s newest book, “Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple,” is out this week, and I decided it was time to get off my duff and check it out.
The book is divided into:
- The smell of baking bread
- For the love of cake
- The flakiest tarts, pies, and biscuits
- Crispy, chewy, and crunchy: The cookies
- Holiday baking
Some of the recipes that immediately caught my attention are:
- Quick crusty boule (Gruyere-thyme variation)
- Oat milk and honey bread
- Olive oil brioche
- One-bowl apple, yogurt, maple cake
- Orange-flower water and saffron cake
- Chocolate-buckwheat pastry dough
- Chocolate-cashew mousse tart
- Jam-filled scones
- Pumpkin and pine nut tart
I’m currently in a cookie mood, so first up? Orange flower water and almond crinkles, aka macarrones de azahar y almendra. This might be the easiest looking recipe in the book, but don’t quote me on that. It was very quick to put together, but my personal challenge was handling the dough after it was mixed. It’s an extremely sticky dough! I tried an assembly line approach – roll a ball, drop it into the sugar, roll another ball, drop it into the sugar, and keep on repeating until I had several on the plate to roll in sugar. Unfortunately, the moisture of the dough seemed to seep through the sugar which let the dough stick to the plate.
Then I tried working on one ball at a time, start to finish. I rolled a ball of dough, then rolled it immediately in sugar, and dropped it on the cookie sheet before moving onto the next ball. The downside to this method was everything seemed to stick to me as the sugar quickly built up on my fingers.
The other thing about this recipe that didn’t quite work for me is that you preheat your oven on the broiler setting, and shut it off when the cookies go in. I should have followed my instincts and preheated my oven to something like 450F instead of using the broiler. I think because my stove is electric, the coils of my broiler stayed a little too hot for a little too long. Bits of my cookies got more color than I intended. Thankfully they didn’t burn, but they are not esthetically pleasing. Despite all that, I really liked these cookies. They are basically a less fussy version of the French macaron, dry on the outside but delightfully chewy on the inside.
The second cookie I tried was the pistachio and rose water sandies. This recipe is a bit more involved as you have to process your own pistachio meal. I also had to process my own oat flour (because I’d rather not waste space by buying oats and oat flour when I can make the oat flour myself). Goyoaga mentions that you can use hazelnuts or almonds instead of pistachios, but I wanted to try the recipe as intended first. The only real issue I had this this recipe was that my cookies flattened out a lot. In the cookbook photo, they are a nice dome shape. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Overall, pretty good but I think for my personal preference I’ll reduce the amount of rose water a little. The rose water wasn’t so strong that I was put off by it, but it was strong enough that I didn’t get enough pistachio flavor. But I want to remake and see if I can get a prettier looking cookie (I did not think I was this bad at shaping cookies until now. lol!).
And for a bonus recipe that is not a cookie, I impulsively made the glazed lemon yogurt and olive oil pound cake with a minor change. While I like lemon, it’s not my favorite flavor. I took some inspiration from the earlier crinkles, using orange zest in the batter and some orange blossom water in the glaze. This recipe was, for me, the easiest to execute. Though it had more ingredients than the crinkles, you put everything into one bowl, mix, pour into the pan, and bake. Once it’s cooled, make the glaze and apply it. In general, I love olive oil cakes*, and this is a great gluten free version. I fed this to a couple of my siblings and they enjoyed it.
Overall, I am happy to recommend Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple to any home baker who wants to do more gluten-free baking.
*My favorite olive oil cake recipe comes from Lior Lev Sercarz… which is not gluten free.
Disclaimer – I received this book from Sasquatch Books for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.