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Books That Cook: 'The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free,' 'My Favorite Recipes' and more

Title: The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free: Classic Cakes, Cookies, Brownies, Bundts, and Bars by Anne Byrn (Workman Publishing, $14.95, 308 pages)

Generally speaking: Anne Byrn has found success yet again in her Cake Mix Doctor cookbook series. She has turned her attention to doctoring gluten-free cake mixes to make them more tasty and interesting. Some of the desserts are brilliantly new ideas while others are gluten-free takes on old favorites.

For: Those on a gluten-free diet.

Bonus: For those with a dairy intolerance, Byrn offers dairy-free suggestions for many of the recipes. It is important to note that not all recipes can be made dairy free.

Recipes: Bacardi rum cake with buttered rum glaze, gluten-free lemon bars, applesauce cake with apple cider glaze, peanut butter brownies, orange cheesecake squares, snickerdoodle cookies, honey bun cake and one-pan caramel cake.

Title: My Favorite Recipes by Annabel Karmel (DK Publishing, $14.99, 96 pages)

Generally speaking: This cookbook is a collection of favorite recipes from previously published cookbooks by the same author. There are a lot of fun recipes to make here but if you have picky eaters, take caution. There may be a few recipes that won't appeal to your kids, such as parsnip chips or fish parcels, among others. The book is clever in that it stands up securely, making it convenient to see the instructions. There are many easy tasks in these recipes that kids can perform. Anything a grown-up, or experienced cook, should do is indicated by an exclamation point in a red triangle. Some of those tasks would include chopping, grating cheese and anything involving heat.

For: Anyone who wants to get their children into the kitchen to help out with meals. Experts say getting kids to help make meals will encourage them to try the foods. It doesn't, however, guarantee they will like them.

Recipes: Corn fritters, corn quesadillas, peanut butter bears, fruit kebabs with mango dip, risotto primavera, sticky chicken drumsticks and sweet and sour pork.

Title: Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers: Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins and Scones by Debby Maugans (Thomas Dunne Books, $21.99, 340 pages)

Generally speaking: These recipes really do make small batches. Most of the cookie recipes make from 5 to 8 cookies. Cupcake recipes make 2 to 5 cupcakes. There is a bit of an investment involved in these recipes and it is in the form of smaller pans. You will need smaller loaf pans, tart pans, ramekins and cans in various sizes. There is a variety of recipes for everything from cookies and brownies to cakes, tarts, pies and beverages.

For: One- or two-person households. This would include newlyweds, empty nesters, college students and more.

Recipes: Chocolate gingersnaps, white chocolate raspberry coconut streusel bars, chocolate pineapple custard tarts, chocoholic's truffle torte, chocolate toffee biscotti, caramel-topped bread pudding, malted milk chocolate shakes and super-rich coconut cream hot chocolate.

Ellen Folkman's cookbook review column appears monthly in Taste.

>>EASY

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

For the crust:

1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix

2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

For the lemon filling:

2 large lemons

4 large eggs

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar (optional), for dusting the top

Place rack in center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside an ungreased 9- by 13-inch metal baking pan.

Make the crust: Measure 2 tablespoons of cake mix and set it aside for the lemon filling. Place the remaining cake mix, pudding mix, melted butter and 1 egg in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until the mixture comes together into a ball, 15 to 20 pulses. Place the crust mixture in the baking pan and press it over the bottom and ¼ inch up the sides. Place the pan in the oven and bake the crust until it turns golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the lemon filling: Rinse and pat 1 lemon dry with paper towel, then grate the yellow zest from the lemon onto a plate; you should have about 2 teaspoons. Cut both lemons in half and squeeze the juice through a fine sieve, discarding the seeds and pulp. Measure ½ cup of lemon juice. Place the 4 eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and the reserved cake mix in the same food processor bowl that was used to make the crust (no need to wash the bowl or steel blade) and process the filling until creamy, 10 to 12 pulses.

When the crust is baked, pour the filling over it and return pan to oven. Bake until the filling sets, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the bars cool for 30 minutes. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar, if desired, then cut the bars and serve.

To store: Store bars in pan, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days at room temperature. Freeze the bars in pan, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to one month. Let bars thaw on the kitchen counter overnight before serving.

Makes 30 bars.

Source: The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free: Classic Cakes, Cookies, Brownies, Bundts, and Bars by Anne Byrn (Workman Publishing, $14.95)

>>MODERATE

Cheesy Bread Rolls

1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

2/3 cup hand-hot water

2 ounces mature cheddar cheese

1 ounce Parmesan cheese

2 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus extra for greasing

1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and poppy seeds for sprinkling

Put the yeast, sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes or until frothy. Meanwhile, grate the cheddar cheese using the large grater holes and the Parmesan using the fine holes.

Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a dip in the center and add the oil and the yeast liquid.

Add rest of the water and mix to a soft dough. Add a teaspoon of extra water if the dough is dry. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Pat the dough into a circle about 8 inches across. Spread the grated cheese over it, then fold the dough in half. Fold in half again, so the cheese is enclosed. Knead for 1 to 3 minutes more. Then divide into about 8 pieces.

Shape the dough into balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Leave to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with seed and bake

12 to 14 minutes.

Makes 8 to 16 rolls.

Source: My Favorite Recipes by Annabel Karmel (DK Publishing, $14.99)

>>EASY

Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake

Unsalted butter for greasing the pan

3 tablespoons buttermilk

½ teaspoon instant dark coffee or espresso powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ tablespoons well-beaten egg

¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a petite loaf pan (2-cup capacity, about 5 by 3 inches), tapping out the excess. Set the pan aside.

Combine buttermilk, coffee powder, cinnamon and baking soda in a small bowl; stir until the coffee dissolves. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in a small, deep mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on low speed to combine. Add the butter and half of the buttermilk mixture; beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat until the batter has lightened and increased in volume, about 45 seconds; the mixture will be thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour in the remaining buttermilk mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended, about 20 seconds.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 petite loaf, about 4 or 5 slices.

Source: Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers: Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins and Scones by Debby Maugans (Thomas Dunne Books, $21.99)

Books That Cook: 'The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free,' 'My Favorite Recipes' and more 03/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 5:30am]

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