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Perfectly Golden - Adaptable recipes for sweet and simple treats!

Creating baked goods for everyone can be a challenge—from dairy intolerances to gluten-free lifestyles, peanut allergies to vegan diets, there are so many factors to consider when trying to come up with something to bake for a friend’s birthday, bake sale, holiday, or just to give someone a treat. Luckily, Angela Garbacz, the chef and owner of Goldenrod Pastries in Lincoln, Nebraska, felt the same way, and in Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats [Countryman Press; April 28, 2020; $29.95; Paper-over-boards] she provides inclusive recipes that are meant to fit any lifestyle, regardless of dietary restrictions.

“Dietary restrictions” was a phrase that irked Angela—her love of baking came from her love of sharing her food with everyone, regardless of their diet. Inspired by her mother’s and grandmothers’ love for baking, Angela decided to enroll in culinary school. After studying at The French Culinary Institute in New York City and working in top restaurants, Angela returned home to her native Nebraska. After discovering that she had a dairy allergy, Angela started a blog called Goldenrod Pastries, named after the Nebraska state flower, which featured dietary-concious desserts. After being inundated with requests for her delicious donuts, birthday cakes, buns, and cookies, Angela decided it was time to live her dream and open a bakery of the same name, Goldenrod Pastries. Thanks to her exacting standards, Angela creates pies, cakes, cookies, and buns that are truly delicious, rather than just being “good for gluten free.”

In Perfectly Golden, Angela puts all the personality, fun, joy, and enthusiasm she puts into her bakery, and she gives the tips and tricks that she has accrued over 20 years of professional baking experience. Rather than just giving the measurements and baking times, Angela’s goal is to have you learn about the process—such as understanding that cookie dough should feel soft but not sticky, or a yeast dough should feel impossibly fluffy. She gives notes on ingredients like flax eggs and non-dairy milks, helps you understand the varieties of gluten-free flours, and she even provides baking tips for troubleshooting information before you’ve started the recipe. Her tips on yeast doughs include understanding when they’re ready to bake, and how to encourage rising. She shares her trick for how to save a cake batter that’s become too thick, after explaining why that sometimes happens, and she explains why some cakes cool in their pans and why some need to be unmolded quickly.

Of course, the best part of Perfectly Golden is the recipes, and Angela gives dishes for every occasion—and every diet. At the top of each recipe, she provides a key called You Do You that tells the reader how the recipe can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or no restrictions. If you want to cook with butter, all-purpose flour, or eggs, each recipe is formulated so that you can make any swap that you want, based on what your diet requires. For example, in her Strawberry Cake recipe, if you wanted a vegan cake but can eat gluten, then just swap out the eggs with flax eggs, and switch the dairy milk with almond. If you wanted a gluten-free cake, then simply switch the all-purpose flour with the recommended gluten-free blend—it’s that simple.

Angela includes all the classic recipes that have made Goldenrod Pastries a household name, as irresistible as they are adaptable. Goldenrod’s Favorite Vegan Bun Dough is one of her signatures—and one sampling will tell you why. You may have never thought that a Babka could be made vegan, but Angela doesn’t just provide one version, she gives three variations to make this classic even more exciting. Of course, she includes standards like Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and Coconut Berry Thumbprints, but she also gives more unique cookies, such as Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Turtle Cookies. If you’re looking for snack cakes, then look no further than recipes like Lemon & Almond Torte, Blueberry Buckle with Pecan Streusel, and Chocolate “Thunder” Cake. If you’re heading to a party, then you could bring one of her fancier party cakes, which include classics, such as Carrot Cake and Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream, and new flavors, like Champagne Cake with Almond Buttercream, Orange Blossom Cake with Lemon Buttercream, and Cardamom Cake with Pistachio Streusel & Strawberry-Rose Glaze. Angela’s chapter for Pies, Tarts, and Bars includes all the familiar favorites, along with Rice Custard Tart, Pomegranate Tart, and Strawberry Pretzel Pie.

Angela is reworking the classics to fit with any diet, while creating new and interesting flavors throughout. Whether you’re a baking novice or an expert, a seasoned vegan or a newly diagnosed dairy intolerant, this book provides treats, cakes, cookies, and more to fit in with your diet. Angela helps you do you and gives you the freedom to enjoy something sweet.


Angela Garbacz is the owner of Goldenrod Pastries and Goldenrod Pastries The Bay. Called one of the “most influential women in food and drink” by Food & Wine, she has been featured in USA Today, Tasting Table, Food Republic, Martha Stewart Living, New York Magazine, Radio Cherry Bombe, and other outlets. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.


@goldenrodpastries, @melissasproduce, #PerfectlyGoldenBook, @angelagarbacz_


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