Superstar pastry chef Monica Glass is a wizard with all things sweet, and many of her most amazing creations have one thing in common: They contain no gluten. The F&W Best New Pastry Chef 2013 and mastermind behind the dessert program at Sbraga in Philadelphia was diagnosed with celiac disease many years ago, and she channels her passion for gluten-free baking into delicious, ultra-creative desserts. Here she shares five gluten-free ingredients she couldn't live without.
1. Mesquite flour. "It’s great for chocolate-chip cookies. I haven’t tried it for brownies, but you could. You could also put it in graham crackers to get that smoky flavor for s’mores."
2. Coconut oil. "It’s terrific for crumbles and tuiles. I make a tuile with coconut milk, coconut oil, powdered sugar, rice flour and salt. It comes to a paste, then I spread it on a Silpat and bake it at 300 degrees until it’s lacy. Then I dehydrate it overnight so it’s crispy. If you baked it a little longer, then you’d have a nice caramelized coconut tuile."
3. Hemp flour, hemp seeds, hemp milk. "Hemp milk, I drink and eat with my cereal in the morning. Hemp flour and hemp seeds, I put in my granola bars. I’ve also made a pineapple hibiscus crisp with the hemp seed and hemp flour as the crisp topping. They’re softer than buckwheat because they don’t have the hull. They’re kind of nutty—like a soft almond."
4. Coconut flour. "I use it for muffins and cakes. A lot of gluten-free baked goods are dry and crumbly, so I swap in coconut flour for 25 percent of the flour that the recipe calls for, which adds a lot of moisture without adding too much coconut flavor."
5. Buckwheat groats. "I use them as a topping for my rhubarb crumble. They'd be great to top any fruit crumble."