When I was given the opportunity to review Blends by Orly, five Gluten Free Flour blends uniquely made for different baked goods, I jumped with excitement. If you are allergic to wheat or gluten, you understand the frustrations of finding products that fit your diet AND pass the taste bud taste of acceptability. Gluten free flour blends and ready-made foods are expensive and make the idea of just trying out new brands rather unpleasant due to the expense. Some things actually are worth every penny as they truly do serve up what they cost, and Blends by Orly Gluten Free Flour offers the best of both!
There is no true one-to-one substitute from wheat flour to a gluten free flour, as anyone who's ever baked a cake, cinnamon rolls, cookies, or bread already knows. I was intrigued by the idea of 5 different flour blends from Blends by Orly, each of them gluten free, nut free, vegan, kosher and corn free. Each blend is named for a different city from which hails a particular culinary delight. Paris, Tuscany, London, Manhattan and Sydney; these five little flour blends have streamlined my pantry in ways I never imagined possible!
I was skeptically hopeful about the Paris flour blend for use in cake baking. So very often, gluten free cake blends end up making dense cakes, or cakes with strong undertones of a bean flour or quinoa. When baking a lightly flavored white cake this is undesirable at best and downright gross at worst. I used Blends by Orly's Paris blend to make a layered white cake using their layered white cake recipe online and I made my own chocolate frosting from scratch. I chose to make this cake for our Bible study so I'd have a large group of folks to try it out. All of them, with the exception of myself, are without any gluten allergies and they can eat all the wheat they want. I knew they would be honest critics who would tell me their thoughts on this cake mix.
My Blends by Orly cake baked beautifully and smelled heavenly. I was dying to try a slice, but I knew I had to wait for everyone to arrive. Everyone agreed it was delicious after just a few bites! The cake baked to the perfect cake consistency. It was light enough to "want to eat the whole cake", but was dense enough that one (or two) slices were enough. Kids asked for seconds and we all know kids don't ask for more of something unless it tastes good! The flavor was delicate and just as I remembered from when I used to bake white cake from scratch back when I could still eat regular cake. I definitely plan to add a bag or two of this flour blend to my pantry! Get the Simple Vanilla Cake recipe here!
Onto the Tuscany blend! We had a favorite pizza crust recipe that I made from scratch, but the Blends by Orly four blew my recipe out of the water! This pizza crust recipe on their website was thin, yet strong enough to hold all our ingredients. It tasted like real pizza crust and had the right crunch and yet the right softness to it. Our 3-year-old had FOUR slices of pizza! My husband and I were raving about it as we ate it; this is the crust that I will be using when we have friends over for pizza night. Absolutely delicious.
Next I tried the Blends by Orly chocolate chip cookie recipe using the London flour blend. The cookies were delicious right out of the oven and when we tried refrigerating the dough to bake another day it was another win! The cookies tasted just as fresh and delicious as when they were freshly mixed up. The only change I would make to the recipe is to add a bit more vanilla, or maybe a touch of cinnamon. The texture was amazing but I felt something small was missing, which could easily be because I used to doctor up our previous cookie recipe with cinnamon. Either way, I will definitely be stocking up on the London flour blend. My husband could even make these easy cookies when I'm not around, and when our boys are old enough to be trusted in the kitchen, they could make them too. Get the Chocolate Pecan Cookie recipe here!
When was the last time you had a truly delicious gluten free cinnamon roll? It had been forever for me, but with the Blends by Orly Manhattan flour blend, I found myself hogging all the cinnamon rolls for myself! The dough was easier to work with than the other gluten free doughs I've tried for cinnamon rolls. The batter wasn't so soft I couldn't roll it but still soft and pliable, and not shaggy like other gluten free batters. The baked cinnamon rolls were the perfect level of softness in the middle, with the appropriate bite of crispness on the outside. I really want to make these again sometime soon. You can find the gluten free Cinnamon Roll recipe here!
As I finish writing this, the aroma of freshly baked brownies is wafting in the air. OH MY do they smell amazing! Originally I was planning to let them cool long enough to take pictures, but I confess that the smell was far too good to wait that long. This is the fifth and final taste test of the Orly flour blends, and after the amazing track record of 4 for 4 in the taste department, it's hard to not have high expectations for this last blend.
The verdict is in: AMAZING! The brownies had a rich, fudgy texture that was loaded with the chocolatey goodness that brownies just need to have. I used their recipe again, but I didn't add the peanut butter. I wanted to taste them as just brownies. And though I never add nuts to my brownies, in the spirit of following their recipe, I did add pecans this time. Totally worth it! They add a lovely crunch to the rich goodness of the brownie. (Get a glass of milk for these!) Get the Brownie recipe here!
Overall, I highly recommend trying the Orly Gluten Free Flour Blends if you, your family, or your friends are gluten free. The flour blends can be bought straight from their website, off Amazon, and from select stores across the United States. The recipes are easy to follow and taste amazing. You won't be disappointed!
London Blend: perfect for cookies, scones and shortbread.
Tuscany Blend: perfect for artisan white breads and pizza crust.
Sydney Blend: perfect for brownies, muffins and pies.
Paris Blend: perfect for cakes and cupcakes.
Manhattan Blend: perfect for brioche, bagels and pastries.
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