Here at Delight, we love nothing more than scrolling through a beautifully presented blog full of great gluten-free recipes and cooking tips. So we've started featuring one of our favorite gluten-free bloggers each week! Have a blog you’d like to see featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you did a double-take when you saw Kyra’s picture above, don’t worry: You’re not going crazy. You have seen her before. Kyra was the first gluten-free baker to win “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network Channel. Since her victory on the show, Kyra has opened the highly successful Kyra’s Bake Shop (formerly Crave Bake Shop) in Portland, and has decided to share her knowledge on gluten-free baking and her delicious recipes with the world in her new cookbook, “Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle.” Her latest adventure has been guest blogging on “Tender Foodie” about her journey publishing her cookbook.
DGF: Why did you first start cooking and baking?
Kyra: I have always loved food, and having a massive sweet tooth made me want to experiment with desserts. As a child, my favorite nights were when I would have friends sleepover, and we would stay up late making chocolate chip cookies.
DGF: In your book, you mentioned that you were a “stress baker.” Can you briefly explain what that is and if it became more stressful to “stress bake” when you became gluten-free?
Kyra: When people get stressed, they may partake in self-destructive behaviors, but I bake my stress away. Baking brings me into the present, because I have to be in the moment or else my dessert won’t turn out the way it’s supposed to. It definitely was more stressful to stress bake gluten-free in the beginning. I am one of those people who only like to color in the lines, but gluten-free baking is very much like having a blank sheet of paper and a crayon and told to draw what you want. Because everyone says that you can’t expect gluten-free baked goods to taste like “normal” desserts. It gave me a new freedom in the kitchen ... I started to gain a sense of playfulness in the kitchen.
DGF: What advice do you have for gluten-free at-home bakers for making desserts that everyone will love?
Kyra: The No. 1 step that gluten-free bakers must remember is that if you are using some sort of fat, like butter, you have to whip the heck out of it until it is really fluffy, because that fluffiness is what will keep your dessert from being too dense, which is the problem with so many gluten-free desserts.
DGF: If you could have anyone over for a dinner party, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
Kyra: I would have to invite Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, and, last but not least, Oprah. I feel like everyone either enjoys making food and/or being healthy, so there would be great discussion. For this fun, energetic party I would make roasted garlic chicken and whipped parsnips with thyme and goat cheese. I would [also] make two desserts: a chocolate mousse pie and a vanilla chiffon cake with blackberry coulis.
DGF: What made you decide to become a guest blogger on the “Tender Foodie”?
Kyra: Writing is something I enjoy. However, unlike the freedom I feel in the kitchen, I find that with writing I come up with too many ideas. What was great about “Tender Foodie” was that [fellow “Tender Foodie”] Elisabeth [Veltman] would let me come up with as many ideas as possible, and then she would tell me to choose one out of three. With her help, I was able to find the direction I needed to color within the lines.
DGF: What was your favorite dessert to bake in college?
Kyra: I loved making apple pies and lemon bars. I still make apple pie for every holiday! When I was trying to make a gluten-free apple pie recipe, I first made the apple pie bars in the cookbook and used the same filling for the pie. I still eat the lemon bars on occasion, but now that I have access to passion fruits, I mostly make passion fruit bars, which are to die for.
Posted on Thu, October 3, 2013
by Victoria Foster