Ask Essie: In the GF Canteen – My Favorite Things?

Carla asks: what  products do you like to use to bake gluten-free?

I thought you guys would never ask!

First – this caveat.  This would not be an official endorsement for any of these products other than I think they are swell and I use them all the time – and I can call them my favorites.  No one pays me to use this stuff, nor do they send me free things.  I’ve found them on my own through lots of trial and copious amounts of error.

Stuff I love has to stand the test of time and be multi-purpose.  They have to work exactly how they were intended – unless I invent a new way to use them which has been known to happen and cause Mr. Cap’t Awesome’s fine gray hair.

And most important – my GF Canteen (kitchen) is the size of a postage stamp.  I have no room for anything but stuff that is useful.

Here’s the stuff I love.  So far.


I love Bob’s Red Mill products.  I order a bunch all at once to save shipping costs.  And some products are available in larger quantities on Amazon Prime where shipping is free.  I purchase all my flours, starches and grains from Bob’s with the exception of rice flours.

Authentic Brands Foods makes fabulous superfine rice flours: brown, white, and sweet.  I order those from Authentic because superfine makes a huge difference in the outcome of the baked good.  No gritty rice flour makes me a happy baker. Whole Paycheck Foods carries the superfine brown rice flour in some stores.


Chocolate matters.  Walk away from the cheap store- brand stuff and always read the ingredients.  There are things in some chocolate chips, for example, that defy explanation.  Buy the good stuff and use less.  It will make a difference.

My favorites for baking bars and cocoa and baking chunks is Scharffen Berger.  You can find it on sale at Whole Paycheck Foods once in a while and that is when I stock up.  The Sharffen Berger website offers deep discounts for quantity purchases but I honestly would run out room if I got that much – though by year’s end I wonder why I didn’t because I do use it frequently.  Unless I specify another chocolate, almost all of my recipes will use Scharffen Berger.  I also use Valrhona cocoa powder sometimes,  but it is not easy to find and costs a lot.

For regular chocolate chips, I love Ghirardelli Bittersweet.  It lends  a nice deep chocolate flavor that semi sweet does not.  I like Guittard Semi Sweet chips.  And if you want giant semi sweet chips, See’s Candy sells those.  The See’s chips offer a nice change once in a while.

For dairy free chocolate chips, you cannot beat Enjoy Mini Chocolate Chips.  They are pretty tasty and worthy of any dairy free cookie making.

Justin’s Chocolate Nut Butters are something I managed to discover rather recently.  The Chocolate Peanut Butter is the star of this popular cookie.  I have a bunch of these jars and when I am not eating the stuff with a spoon, I am thinking up new ways to bake with them.  Also dairy free.


I used to stock the Canteen with silly Oxo pop up containers.  I still use a few, but for much less money and way better storage capacity I’ve practically filled my entire kitchen with Cambro.  I have big Cambro, medium Cambro and little Cambro.  They are literally everywhere and hold all my flours, grains, chocolate, and anything else I can stuff into them.  This is a photo of just one cupboard with Cambro – there are lots more like this.  I like being able to see what I have and how much is left.  I like that they seal well and are dishwasher safe and sturdy beyond measure.  Buy them from a restaurant supply house for best prices.  I buy them from here because they are nice people and have excellent pricing (shipping is not insignificant, though).  But a warning!  Be sure to add the lids to your cart – they come separately.  Yep.  Voice of experience.


I love my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  It works hard.  I suspect I will someday soon burn out the motor after almost 10 years of torturing the machine, but for now, it will faithfully mix up anything I throw at it.  I’m also a big fan of the color red.  And next to that is my trusty Salter Digital Kitchen Scale which I have mentioned before.  If you buy anything, get a digital kitchen scale.


Sometimes when baking, a muse or two is quite handy.  Lulu and Phoebe are my very small muses.  They hang out in the postage stamp kitchen with the hope that I am baking them cookies.  Sometimes, just to keep them interested, I do, in fact bake for them.  They are loyal little muses and great for keeping the floor mostly clean.  I highly recommend a muse or two for your own kitchen.  By the way, catching cookies is a wonderful way to amuse the muses.


2 responses to “Ask Essie: In the GF Canteen – My Favorite Things?

  1. Thanks for this, especially for the pictures of you muses!

  2. I recently discovered Sharffen Berger chocolate. Where has this stuff been all my life? It is far superior to any chocolate I’ve ever eaten before.

    Love the cookie-catching muses.

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