I first met Laurel Gallucci of Sweet Laurel when I co-hosted a cake-filled event at Jenni Kayne’s home in 2015 (see it here!). Laurel and business partner, Claire Thomas went on to bake their way into a beautiful grain-free cake bakery that all of L.A. orders from, plus two cookbooks — one launching just this month.
Everything the Sweet Laurel ladies make is grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. If you’ve been around The Chalkboard long, you’ve no doubt made one of their shockingly delicious recipes — most likely the Almond Butter Brownies or viral Chocolate Cake.
This month, Laurel and Claire have released their latest labor of love, Sweet Laurel Savory, a cookbook filled with grain-free breads, entrees and other unlikely culinary candidates you won’t believe are ‘g-g-d free’.
Sweet Laurel set the bar for desserts in today’s modern wellness community — and have often been imitated. We expect this latest project to spike an explosion in grain-free breads and savory goods — especially for home chefs! — and we can’t say we’re mad about it. Turn 2020’s sourdough baking obsession grain-free for 2021.
Here are a few insights from Laurel on the book and what you can expect inside it’s flavorful pages…
Suzanne Hall: Congrats on Sweet Laurel Savory. Now you can rule the world breakfast through dinner and on to dessert! What is your favorite recipe in the book?
Laurel Gallucci: Claire and I both love the Chicken Pot Pie. It is something you don’t think you can enjoy when gluten, grain and dairy free, but we have you covered! Pro-tip: for the vegan version of our chicken pot pie, sub cooked chickpeas for the chicken, delicious as well!
SH: Making many of these classics ‘g-g-d free’ — especially the comfort foods — is not an easy feat! Which was the hardest recipe to nail?
LG: Claire wanted to nail the texture of the bagel. She worked tirelessly on this one, and we are so happy with the result! The bagels are out of this world!
SH: Cassava flour is heavily used in the book and not as familiar to most as, say, almond or coconut flour. What should people know?
LG: Cassava flour is a great flour, and — especially when paired with almond flour, it helps mimic a gluten texture! As a general rule of thumb, we like to say we designed the recipes for the flours specified, so we encourage people not to substitute others.
SH: It’s interesting that you chose to include ghee, a dairy product. Is ghee the only dairy included? What made you decide to use?
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LG: Yes! We love ghee, and found that it was a game-changer with recipes like our puff pastry. While ghee is a dairy product, most ghee is casein and lactose free meaning those with dairy sensitivities can often use it. It can definitely be subbed out for another fat like coconut oil, but we have found ghee just helps give certain recipes that texture we are looking for.
SH: Writing a book while running Sweet Laurel Bakery with two babies is a juggle! What are some of your project management MVPs/best tips?
LG: (Laughs) It’s all about being efficient with time and not being afraid to delegate tasks!
SH: A lot of these ingredients are new for people — should they expect to easily digest the breads and other recipes? Or will it take some adjustment?
LG: We feel like every body is different, however we did create these recipes to be as anti-inflammatory as possible by excluding grains, gluten, refined sugar and dairy. However, what is anti-inflammatory for one person may not be for another.
SH: What did you learn creating this book as opposed to the first?
LG: This book was a whole new world for us as a bakery, but at the end of the day, we can’t just eat veganpaleo cookie dough non-stop. We need meals, and meals that are satisfying. This book is filled with delicious recipes that satisfy and we are so excited to share our Savory companion with the world.
SH: For people waiting for their book in the mail — how should they prep? Anything they’ll definitely need to buy?
LG: There are a few core ingredients we think should be in everyone’s pantry: almond flour, coconut oil, olive oil, arrowroot powder, cassava flour, organic eggs and flax seeds. These ingredients are used lots in this book! Oh, and get your self some unbleached parchment paper. Our favorite baking tool!
SH: Sweet Laurel has been a godsend to so many people with health issues around gluten or grain. You’ve been able to reclaim the good life of cake and bread for so many! What has been the most significant part of that to you?
LG: Seeing the look on people’s faces when they try Sweet Laurel for the first time — at The Cake Shop in the Pacific Palisades especially. Some are celiac or mandatory dairy free, and some are what I like to call omnivores and can eat anything and feel fine. No matter their background or health journey, Sweet Laurel can be enjoyed by all, and that is what is most special about the brand.