Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pretzels for crunch - Gluten-Free recipe

From Daryl aka Avery

As I eagerly await the launch of the first in A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series, FINAL SENTENCE, coming July 2 (whee!), I am whizzing through cookbooks on my shelves. I call it research. My husband calls it tasty. I’m researching breads, cookies, grilled cheese, candy. Fun!

While I was at Salt and Pepper Bookstore, which has just moved to a new HUGE location, I found a cookbook called The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking. The authors give all sorts of great tips on how to make tasty morsels for someone who either has to eat gluten-free or sugar-free. I know, that’s obvious, right?  They cut down on carbs. They cut down on fats. It’s all good.

However, they also used a few products that I don’t normally use. They use a lot of nuts which, sadly, I can’t have any longer because, long story short, celiac disease can cause an individual's system to go whacko and all of a sudden, all sorts of things are
indigestible. Like nuts. Pooh! I love nuts.

But I digress…

Anyway, I have been craving pretzels, and I found a recipe in this book that won my heart. I  tweaked it, for my purposes, but I’ll give you all the tips the authors provided.  

Oh, by the way, I’m having two contests right now. One is a launch contest. I’m giving away a $50 bookstore gift certificate on my website. Here’s the link. LAUNCH CONTEST

The other is a June Mystery Scramble contest on Facebook with three other authors: Krista Davis, Janet Bolin and Maggie Sefton. Do you like puzzles? Scrambles? Follow this SCRAMBLE LINK to enter. You could win a $25 bookstore gift certificate or books from the authors!

And check back to the MLK blog each Wednesday for the next couple of weeks because I’ll be giving away a few things to those who leave comments.

(Inspired by a recipe from The Joy of Gluten-free, Sugar-Free Baking
by Peter Reinhart  and Denene Wallace)

(tweaked from the recipe in the cookbook)
(makes 8)

½ cup sweet rice flour
½ cup potato starch
1 cup sunflower seeds, ground
2 tablespoons whey powder
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (about 95 °F)

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon baking soda

Topping and Dip:
1-2 teaspoons coarse salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. (I set mine to 375°F for crispier pretzel). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with spray oil (gluten-free).

Grind the sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder (that has been cleaned). Grind twice if you still see seeds and not “flour.”

In a medium bowl, combine the sweet rice flour, potato starch, sunflower seed flour, butter, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk, using a fork, until mixed. The butter will grab to the flours.  (The authors used "butter buds" instead of butter. They used almond flour instead of sweet rice flour and potato starch.)

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.

In a small bowl (or another measuring cup), stir the yeast and warm water together until the yeast dissolves. You don’t need to wait for the yeast to proof (bubble) because it’s only there for flavor, not leavening. Mix the yeast mixture into the eggs.

Add the flour mixture to the eggs and stir for 1 to 2 minutes to make thick, playdough-style dough.  {It’s gooey and stickey.}

Spray the spray oil onto a working surface (I used a glass cutting board). Roll the mixture into a ball and divide into 8 parts. Roll each part into a small ball.  Now take one of the balls and gently roll the ball into a strand about 10-12 inches long. If the dough breaks apart (and it will), push it back together. If you need a little moisture, wet your hands and continue. This takes time, but playing with playdough is fun!  Form each strand into a pretzel shape by curving up the right side and bending back down (setting a tip on the curve) and then curving up the left side and bending it back down (setting it on top of the other end of the strand. Get it?).  Set it on the prepared tray with parchment paper. They WON’T spread.

Make the egg wash by whisking the egg, water, and baking soda. Brush the mixture (not too much) on each pretzel. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, then rotate the tray and bake another 10-12 minutes until golden brown. [It’s easy to let them get too dark so be aware of time and how your oven bakes. The authors suggested a much longer cooking time. I trimmed it way down.]

Remove from oven and transfer the pretzels to a wire rack. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with mustard. Very crunchy and satisfying! Delish. 


* * * * * * *

The first book in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is coming
July 2013!! It's set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California and features Jenna Hart, a "recovering" ad exec who returns home to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and cafe.

You can pre-order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

Daryl and Avery are the same author.

You can learn more about Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

You can follow and "like"and chat with my alter ego Avery Aames the same way:  Facebook and Twitter.


  1. that looks like so much fun Daryl! Looking forward to the new book--it seems like we could just step into that cover and be browsing cookbooks with you!

    1. Thanks, Lucy. I have to admit making pretzels was definitely play time. :)

      Daryl /Avery

  2. Thanks for sharing! My son recently went gluten free but my daughter is allergic to nuts so finding a balance is tough! I'll have to try this.

    1. Laura, I feel your pain. This really worked for me. Seeds are a great source for both celiac and nut-free people. Also try legumes (garbanzo flour adds lots of flavor to things, as does sorghum flour). I just made coconut cookies with a chocolate base that I'll be sharing next week and are perfect for a celiac and nut-free person.

      Good luck. Wishing you health.

      Daryl / Avery

  3. Wow! Another super recipe. I will be sending my friends over to see this too and will definitely try it. Very artistic too, Daryl!


    1. Thanks, MJ. Artistic. Yep. Kid art. I loved Play-Doh as a kid. This is my sculpting time. LOL
      So isn't it funny that I also made my new protagonist a 'sculptor' artist?

      Daryl / Avery

  4. Oddly enough, I have potato starch in my pantry. These sound very healthy and good for us. Interesting -- no cooking them in water first.

    What fun to get to look through cookbooks and find interesting recipes. Can't wait to read the book!


    1. Krista, these are definitely baked. I'm not sure a gluten-free dough would hold up in water. My sister (also GF) has done some bagels. I'll have to see if she's done them in water. but these are baked and quite tasty and crunchy. PS They softened up overnight when stored in an airtight container.