Health food special: Top picks of gluten-free indulgences from bakers across Chennai
Be it a matter of choice or allergies or health issues — following restrictive diets is commonplace today — from giving up meat, dairy products to opting for a plant-based diet. This time, though, we are pointing our fingers at ‘gluten’ — even though the alternatives here are far from a compromise, and are in fact treats! Nearly a month into the New Year, for those who are following gluten-free diets, here are some decadent bites that can brighten up your palate.
From the recently opened Fresh Pressery down Rutland Gate Road, we find their Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake to be utterly decadent and irresistible. Made with quinoa and organic coconut sugar, dark chocolate and olive oil, this dessert is dairy-free as well. The sinful ganache is made out of dark Chocolate, coconut milk and sea salt. Soshna Ramanlal, partner at this eatery, tells us that this cake indeed is one of their best-sellers! At INR 250 per piece.
Cindana Manickavel of Sugar Monkeys has an entire range of cakes made from nut flours. We pick the home baker’s pistachio flour cake for a change instead of the usual almond flour-based one, and we are not disappointed. Made of nut flour, butter and sugar, the cake is layered with a nutty cream cheese and frosted with just the right amount of Italian meringue butter-cream to qualify as a celebratory cake. Priced at INR 2,300 per kg.
Home baker Priya Rathnakumar of Lean Bean tells us how their focus is on healthy snacking. So, one can expect gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free treats that include cookies and energy bites. We like their crunchy grain-free granola — the Nutola, which is made with just nuts and seeds. It is gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free. “It’s safe for kids above the age of one-and-a-half years old,” assures Priya and adds that there are no preservatives, additives or artificial colouring used. Priced at INR 450 for 100 gms.
The fairly new Akimi’s Gourmet by home bakers Akila Vankalapati and Midhila Raavi is all about healthy gourmet desserts and we cannot take our eyes off their Instagram stories. As a tea-time snack we pick their Vegan Oatmeal Cookies that promise some delightful crunch thanks to the organic coconut sugar. A gluten-free indulgence, it has cold pressed coconut oil and to make it a sought after snack there is a generous sprinkle of vegan choco chip! At INR 500 for a pack of 10.
Rolling it right
Sona Somanath has aptly named her home baking venture Sweet Street. The gluten-free Swiss Roll
is definitely a decadent temptation. Made with Belgian chocolate filled with delicious chocolate mousse and glazed with Belgian chocolate ganache — this one can be called ‘death by chocolate’! At INR 2,500 per kg.
A crunchy rusk-like bite is always welcome during tea-time and Shalini Padmanabhan’s gluten free, egg-free Almond Biscotti hits the spot perfectly. The vegan snack is made of red rice flour, bajra, chickpea flour, palm jaggery, butter (coconut oil for vegan option) flaxseed meal and almonds. Her Anna Nagar outlet, Piece of Cake, also offers other gluten free goodies on order — like Buckwheat Seed Cake, Chia Seed Crackers and Scottish Oat Cake among others. Biscotti at INR 90 for 100 gms.
Though Usha Seetharam of Ushbakeistan is best known for her delicious caramel cake and the lactation cookies (that are gluten-free too!), here we are turning the spotlight on her gluten-free Chocolate Indulgence. A baked treat, it has couverture chocolate, sugar and egg only. Dense and richer than a mousse, this baked ganache promises to melt-in-the-mouth instantly. Look out for this home baker at the next edition of By Hand From The Heart in February. INR 120 per portion.