Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Bak­ing Clas­sics from a Jew­ish Amer­i­can Kitchen

Tim Horel & Lisa Stander Horel
  • Review
By – October 16, 2013

Bab­ka” is the mean­est word you could utter to some­one on a gluten-free diet. In most parts of the world, it’s impos­si­ble to find the yeasty cake, let alone a gluten-free version.

Lisa Stander Horel and Tim Horel are bring­ing bab­ka back to the gluten-free set with their new cook­book, Nosh on This. The must-have book includes an exten­sive intro­duc­tion with infor­ma­tion about the par­tic­u­lars of gluten-free bak­ing. They harp on the impor­tance of measur­ing ingre­di­ents by weight, and for good rea­son: sub­sti­tu­tions by cup mea­sure yield an infe­ri­or prod­uct. They insist on using superfine flours for your all-pur­pose bak­ing mix because they toler­ate grit just about as well as they tol­er­ate gluten.

The Horels don’t want you, bubbele, to bake any gluten-free good that falls short of deli­cious. They even offer to help you, via email, if you fol­low one of their recipes and it doesn’t turn out. If we think of being a Mem­ber of the Tribe as auto­mat­ic inclu­sion in a tight-knit fam­i­ly, gluten-free MOTs are an even small­er and clos­er bunch. The warmth of that com­mu­ni­ty comes through on the pages of Nosh on This; Lisa’s bubbe feels like our col­lec­tive bubbe. And luck­i­ly the Horels have cod­i­fied bubbe’s recipe col­lec­tion (oral or writ­ten) into this gor­geous­ly pho­tographed book.

Don’t be fooled by the heymish tone, though: this book is sophis­ti­cat­ed. The recipes tend towards the chal­leng­ing, although the intro­duction’s infor­ma­tive bak­ing primer makes the book appropri­ate for all lev­els of expe­ri­ence. You might not want to start with the Dark Choco­late Rasp­ber­ry Sacher­torte — save it for the vet­er­an bak­ers — but they’ve demys­ti­fied the basics so you’ll be eat­ing their Kich­lach and Black and White Cook­ies in no time.

In that vein, the book’s great­est asset is that it makes the gluten-free bak­er feel like any­thing is pos­si­ble. Gluten-free folks have had enough of mac­a­roons and grit­ty brown­ies. (And there are plen­ty of mac­a­roon recipes in the book if you haven’t had enough.) With Nosh on This, the gluten-intol­er­ant can enjoy the Jew­ish treats that were pre­vi­ous­ly off-lim­its because there were just no gluten-free ver­sions. Say hel­lo to gluten-free Choco­late Almond Rugelach!

Nosh on This doesn’t skimp on indul­gence. With­in the con­fines of a gluten-free (and some­times dairy-free) diet, the book focus­es on men­tal health over phys­i­cal health. Think lots of choco­late, whipped cream, and but­ter. The gluten-free eater won’t mind. These recipes are worth it.

Emma Mor­gen­stern is a radio stu­dent at the Salt Insti­tute for Doc­u­men­tary Stud­ies in Portland,Maine, and holds a B.A. in lin­guis­tics from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia. She is the for­mer direc­tor of the JBC Network

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