Gluten-Free and Vegan Tasting

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As many of my followers might not know, I started this baking research as part of an independent study class. I’m a high school senior that, at one point, was convinced that I was going to study hospitality and baking. Instead, I’ll be heading to a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania this fall. However, just because I am not studying baking doesn’t discredit all the fun I had with my independent study. I learned something new every week, and I’m glad that I could channel my love of baking into something somewhat academic 🙂

Anyway, as a “capstone” project I held a tasting for the faculty at my school. I made 4 desserts I tested: GF Apple Spice CakeGF Cookie Dough BlondiesV Chocolate Mousse Pie, and V Banana Nut Chocolate Cookies. I was really glad about positive feedback from the teachers and other staff members!

I also made small posters to explain what I learned and had a small anonymous survey for the tasters to fill out. The results for the survey are below…
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Based on the survey, I thought that I could make some final conclusions on what I learned this year. I was initially surprised that so many people have already tasted a GF or V treat, and it shows real proof of mainstreaming specialized baking. If I held the same testing a few years ago, I’m not sure so many people would have that exposure. The next question I asked was intended to show how “normal” you can make deserts even without butter and animal products, or gluten! The majority, 15 people, said that they would not have known that these were special baked goods. Once again, it’s amazing how quickly recipes have developed to fit the needs of those eating vegan and gluten-free. And the last question…well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. It is really nice to see in quantitative data how stigmas are changing toward baking “non-traditional”. I hope that in the future we may be able to make desserts less “bad” too, and maybe they can have some of the health benefits that meals have. Incorporating natural sugars from fruits seems to be up and coming, especially with the use of apple sauce and bananas in vegan treats!

Although my independent study may be coming to a close, I plan on continuing this blog when I am in college. Throughout the process I found other similar food blogs to be really inspiring. They also had great photography and content that I learned from. I can’t wait to test the next recipe, or even just bake!

– Kim

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