I get annoyed at myself for posting pictures of tomatoes on Instagram, but they are just so GD pretty right now, I am powerless. I’m pumped to have so many farmers markets within walking distance – granted, I love a good journey and consider “walking distance” a five-mile radius around my home, so my market options are vast. August means my countertops are an explosion of produce and my body is buzzing from salads. I know you’re thinking, “But Patisserie Gypsy, I thought you only ate baguettes, pastries and cookies all day.” Well, I don’t. Usually. When I’m not eating all the bread and all the treats, I’m trying to be a giant bunny rabbit.
The cool thing about my neighborhood farmers markets is the appearance of local bakers and bakeries each week. When it comes to baked goods, I don’t discriminate. This is why I was super excited to visit Sift Gluten Free at the Fulton and Kingfield Farmers Markets recently. One of the things that makes me most sad in the world other than bullying, poverty, abandoned animals and sick children, is gluten intolerance. I feel bad when people can’t eat good bread. And I get SO ANGRY when people purposely deprive themselves of gluten for whatever trendy reason du jour. Don’t you know there are gluten-starved people out there?!
I get excited when I see gluten-free or vegan baked goods because it’s a ray of hope for people traditionally excluded from the wonders many of us take for granted. I get even more excited when the people baking these treats are as precious and dedicated as Molly Miller, the brains behind Sift. She’s been hard at work perfecting gluten-free muffins, donuts, cookies, scones and brownies. This is her third market season, and last November she quit her job to pursue her baking full time. She provides wholesale baked goods to coffee shops in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and is hoping to open a storefront in southwest Minneapolis in the near future.
Gluten-free baking is no joke. You basically need a degree in chemistry to make things taste halfway edible (my opinion, obv). When I asked Molly what has been the most challenging gluten-free product to perfect, she quickly said – donuts. “If you’re gluten-free, you probably haven’t had a donut in awhile, so those go fast.” She started with a cinnamon spice donut and has since created several more flavors. “The cinnamon rolls I’m also super proud of because they were tricky,” she said. Figuring out how to roll the dough was a puzzle she was happily able to solve. When I asked what to try, she recommended the donut and the cinnamon rolls. “If you are gluten-free, those would be the two things you haven’t had that were done fresh and good in a long time.”
Sold! I picked up a gluten-free, vegan cinnamon roll and a gluten-free, vegan donut. I’ve had gluten-free baked goods in the past that have a texture and taste similar to sawdust mixed with honey and herbal supplements. I was pleasantly surprised when I took a bite of the cinnamon roll and found it had a gooey, doughy consistency, with a rich spread of not-too-sweet cinnamon and sugar gluing the layers of craftily wound dough. While it doesn’t have the loose elastic pull of a roll made with gluten, it had all the taste – if not more.
I was a little skeptical of the donut and truthfully avoided trying it. I was scared. I assumed it would be weird, crumbly or gummy, and tasting how co-ops smell. I was blown away. The chocolate donut was springy and dense, but without the heavy, fried after effects of the gluten-full counterpart. The thick shavings of coconut were a fancy and delicate touch. It reminded me of German Chocolate Cake. Each bite got better, and I had to stop myself because I promised to share with Huzzbot. He said it tasted just like Dunkin Donuts’s chocolate cake donut and then announced he loved Molly. I’d call this success, especially since he doesn’t even like coconut.
We planned to eat an Heirloom tomato salad for dinner, but seem to be too full from our treats. I see my weekend bunny-rabbit aspirations fading, but I’m pretty sure those tomatoes will still be juicy tomorrow.