OK first off, I deeply appreciate the Betty Crocker team using nutritional info sidebars for each recipe. This makes it much easier to compare carb content, fiber and things like sodium and trans fats. But WHY oh WHY did they count the syrup in with the blueberry pancakes? If I use that recipe, then why not let me have the count per pancake, not per 3 pancakes plus syrup. I use a Splenda pancake syrup available here in Canada when I do a rare pancake breakfast. Most of the other nutrient info sidebars don't include the extras like butter on the bread, so why here?
Another helpful addition are the tips beside the recipes. I didn't think of using applesauce from snack cups for baking. I've avoided recipes calling for small amounts because I don't like having to deal with an open larger tin or jar of it. Handy.
One tip of theirs I can improve on though. They mention that most brands of gluten free pasta are fragile and gummy. And they suggest how best to deal with that to avoid problems. I have found that the Tinkyada brand of brown rice pasta behaves and tastes almost like normal pasta, as does pasta made from corn.
There are full colour photos for almost each recipe which is helpful, seeing what the finished product looks like.
There is a LOT of wasted space on recipes that traditionally went together without gluten, eg the appetizers made with beef and cream cheese and red papper or pork roast!!! I have plenty of cookbooks for those things that never had gluten in them to begin with. The only purpose I can see is perhaps reassurance to the newly diagnosed celiac. Even so, I find it a bit of a waste.
Silvana Nardone author of Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals and Jean Duane The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking contributed many of the non mix recipes. For those avoiding legumes (bean flours) please be aware that almost all the Jean Duane recipes contain garfava flour blend. Many celiacs have additional allergies and sensitivities to soy, legumes, dairy proteins, and corn. For those wanting to increase fiber and protein slightly the garfava containing recipes by Jean will work well if you can tolerate legumes or the somewhat beany taste the garfava flour lends to the finished product.
For the allergy sufferers, the recipes by Silvana are great. She is legume, dairy and mostly corn free although her pie-crust has cornmeal in it. I noticed that there were very few of her recipes (10 total including the flour mixture used in 3 recipes) compared to the multitude of Jean's garfava containing recipes.
These non mix recipes in the book call for a number of different flours, which is ok for experianced celiac bakers who probably have invested in a lot of the different flours anyway, but for beginners, it's maybe a bit expensive to start out on. Mixes save you from having to buy a shelf full of new flours to make a recipe that you don't care for. Now what to do with that bag of expensive millet or garfava flour???? If you don't like how it turned out, you now have expensive leftovers staring you in the face. It gets even more pricey when you have to mix up a big batch of a blend to use in certain recipes you may with to try.
This book has you mixing up 2 large batches of flour blends one making 13 cups and calling for brown and white rice flour as well as tapioca flour, potato starch and xanthan gum which is needed for only THREE of the Silvana recipes in the book. The other blend makes 6-1/2 cups, and calles for the above ingredients PLUS garfava flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch etc. That is used in several of the Jean Duame recipes. So now if you don't like the recipes you have a BIGGER and more expensive problem sitting on the shelf with that now useless blend.
For now I'm just ignoring those recipes. Someday when the budget can stand it, I'll experiment a little.
For me the mix recipes--what to do to sparkle up a box of cake mix or Bisquick or a muffin mix--- is more what I bought the book for.
There are plenty of recipes calling for mixes, all of which are made by General Mills. The biggest problem with this book is actually the lack of Gluten Free Bisquick in Canada and presumably other places as well. If that worries you, avoid this cookbook as many (but not all) recipes call for it. However I have a solution for that.
For a near perfect copy of the Gluten Free Bisquick (which is fat free) try this recipe from gluten free recipe box. It is at [...] and it makes the equivalent of one box of Gluten Free Bisquick. Remember it is VERY different from the old gluten filled regular Bisquick which has added shortening so the recipes for old Bisquick will need something like Bette Hagman's version of the old Bisquick. For now, just remember that gluten free Bisquick is also fat free and that the recipes calling for it are very different from the old ones using old Bisquick. The bakers at General Mill have played around with it to produce the old favourite recipes like the impossible pies for example so that you can enjoy your old favourites using this new Bisquick. I have tried the home made version and while I have no Bisquick to compare it to, I've used it in some Anne Byrne recipes calling for GF Bisquick and they turned out just fine.
BUT of all things to miss out in this big cookbook, BISQUICK BISCUITS!!! Yep, they missed printing the recipe, possibly because it's on the Bisquick box, BUT they forgot to make sure Bisquick was available in all markets. However Anne Byrne in her Unbelievably Gluten-Free: 128 Delicious Recipes: Dinner Dishes You Never Thought You'd Be Able to Eat Again states she tried that recipe, didn't care for it, and gives an alternative biscuit recipe using G Free Bisquick in that book.
WHY MIXES MAY BE BETTER (at least to start with):
The ease of a mix when I have my grandchildren over and I want to make fast cookies or a cake means I don't have to save my array of containers filled with rice, tapioca, mochi, cornstarch and gums from the little hands "helping" me on my counter top. Ditto a morning round of pancakes or muffins. You haven't lived till you've tried cleaning xanthan gum off the counter!!!! Or found how far we can blow the cornstarch dust thru the formerly clean kitchen. Cooking gluten free with kids is MUCH easier with mixes.
It's cheaper - you don't have to invest in a series of new flours, and you can try out recipes without fear.
It takes less shelf space in your pantry. One cake mix, one brand of brownie or muffin mix, a box or bag of Bisquick or HM alternative. Now you can try dozens of muffins, cakes, cookies, pies, breads etc. If you don't like a recipe, no worries, make a note not to do that one again.
It's convenient. The learning curve is steep enough, it's nice to have a shortcut you can count on.
That said, for the newly diagnosed celiac a better choice might be Anne Byrn's 2 books The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free and Unbelievably Gluten-Free: 128 Delicious Recipes: Dinner Dishes You Never Thought You'd Be Able to Eat Again.
Her recipes are all from store bought mixes and idiot proof. Not one of them has you mixing up a 13 cup batch of a flour blend that may not work well for your recipes. Save the flour blends for the future and just concentrate on a few easy reliable recipes.
Please note that Anne Byrn's books use a lot of different brands of mixes, all easily available ---and she explains which mixes are interchangeable, mentioning them by brand name which is very helpful. After a little time learning that mix brands can be interchangeable, and that mixes benefit by adding things to them, you'll be more confident and ready to play around with recipes that call for expensive stuff you have to hunt down in health food stores or online. The Betty Crocker book calls for Betty Crocker mixes only which leaves you high and dry if your store doesn't carry them as in the Bisquick problem I mentioned above.
So start with Anne's books before this one, as you will get a better feel for how to use different brands interchangeably plus Anne's tweaks using mixes (including G Free Bisquick) are really a touch better than these new gluten free Bisquick ones, although I'm a long time fan of old Bisquick.
This book I'd recommend as a close third after Anne's books. It's nice to see old favourites like Impossible pies-- the apple one, and the cheeseburger impossible pie recipes are in here using the new gluten free Bisquick (or the home made version from the above site).
To sum up ---Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cooking may not the best book to start with, but still pretty good. It might have been better if General Mills aka Betty had launched the Gluten Free Bisquick in all the markets this book is sold in (like Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) but at least they managed to launch the Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake and brownie mixes here in Canada. However our markets already had plenty of good brands of those such as CeliMix, Glutino, Bob's Red Mill and others. We just didn't have Bisquick. Oh well, it's good to substitute and learn that if one mix is too pricey or has something you can't eat, another one will do nicely. And that cheaper homemade alternatives exist.
So try mixing up the home made Bisquick, --the recipe is the equivalent to a single box which is almost 3 cups. And enjoy the great mix recipes in this book.